Posts Tagged ‘Billy Goat Trail B’

Hiking Billy Goat Trails B and C, C&O Canal NHP, MD

3 February 2012

I really enjoy C & O Canal National Historic Park. It’s so close to a major metropolitan area, but so accessible. In May 2010, I was able to experience the Park for the first time, hiking the rugged and wonderful Billy Goat Trail “A” segment. Then last April 2011, I tried to hike the “B” and “C” segments, but the flooding Potomac prevented that. This week, I flew into BWI around noon Tuesday, and was able to complete my “B” and “C” hikes on a wonderful, spring-like day.

Summary: The rest of the Billy Goat Trail. 6.8 miles of fairly rugged trail next to a beautiful Potomac River.

The B and C trails are not quite as rugged as the A segment, but they can get very close! I have not been able to do much hiking in the past six months for a variety of reasons, so this was a pleasant challenge. I got to the parking area to find it gone, or rather, under repair. There is new construction there, some sort of building on the Park (I hope it will have water!). Visitors need to park on the road during this period.

I got changed into my shorts (it was mid-60s) and got started. It was about 1400. The towpath is washed out and being worked on between the “A” and “B” segments, but there is a bypass that uses a maintenance road.

I started out walking down a short path to the river. There was a lot of crud that had been washed up from the floods last Spring. The river was beautiful.

The trail along here starts out flat and wide.

It quickly gets more narrow and going up and down a bit.

This was a pretty neat little climb. You get to go up the rock at a 45deg incline, left to right.

The Potomac is almost always nearby. There are a couple islands as well, that help make some very scenic secondary channels.

At one point along the “C” trail, this heron was perched on a rock.

At one point on the “C” segment, the trail splits, with one going up and around some rocks, and one going right down to and along the river. It follows the bottom of some huge and beautiful rocks, and ends where the rocks jut out into the river. This is an excellent spot to sit, have some water, eat a snack, and relax. The rocks soar up about 100 ft behind you.

Towards the end of the “C” segment, you are right opposite a place where the Potomac has some gentle rapids.

These are images of my ground track, with terrain from Google Earth, and altitude.

So my basic path was to walk down to the towpath, go east until I found the first entrance to the “B” segment, walk it, take the towpath farther east to the entrance to the “C” segment, then walk all the way back on the towpath.

I saw no animals except for birds (and not many of them). No squirrels, even.

This was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. I have been on most of the trails in the NHP, but would not mind going back and rehiking some of them.