Bicycle Tours: Washington County, Maryland
Washington County, Maryland
There's no place in Maryland that's better for bicycling than Washington County. Whether you are a leisure cyclist seeking a near wilderness experience, a day rider looking for new roads and places to explore, or a tourist in search of a good weekend trip, Washington County has something for you. Its historic towns, pleasant countryside, and miles of quiet back roads invite you to simply relax and enjoy yourself.
Located in scenic Western Maryland, Hagerstown and Washington County is one of the top tour destinations in the Quad-State region. Situated at the crossroads of Interstates 70 and 81, Hagerstown is about one hour from both Baltimore and Washington, DC, by car.
The Bicycle Tour Map was provided by the Washington County Convention and Visitor Bureau in cooperation with the Cumberland Valley Cycling Club. The design is by Icon Graphics.
For additional information about w hat to see and do in Washington County, contact the CVB at 1-888-257-2600 or visit www.marylandmemories.com. You can also view this information and the map at www.marylandmemories.com/biketours.
Points of Interest
Antietam National Battlefield
Antietam is the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. The fighting in this September 17, 1862, Civil War battle resulted in 23,110 casualties. The National Park Service has designed an 8 1_2 mile self-guided driving tour through the park that is perfect for cyclists. Touring the park by bicycle gives a new appreciation for the rolling terrain and how it affected the battle. For more information about the park call (301) 432-5124 or visit www.nps.gov/anti.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
The C&O Canal National Historical Park winds 184 miles along the Potomac River from Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland. Seventy-nine miles of the Canal pass through Washington County. The canal towpath is an elevated trail made of earth and crushed stone, used by mules pulling the barges. Though the old canal is overgrown in many places, the towpath itself is clear, and offers an ideal route for bicycles. For information, contact the National Park Service at (301) 739-4200 or visit www.nps.gov/choh.
This stone fort provides a glimpse of the dangers and hardships faced by the early settlers. Named in honor of Frederick Calvert, the last Lord Baltimore, and garrisoned in 1756, Fort Frederick gave shelter and protection to settlers on the frontier during the French and Indian War. During the Revolution, it was a prison for soldiers captured by the Continental Army. A skirmish was fought at the fort during the Civil War. Now preserved as a state park, it is the site of annual military field days when troops demonstrate authentic drill and ceremony from the colonial period. A trading post, interpretive exhibits, picnicking, and primitive camping are available at the park.
Visit www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/fortfrederick.html for more information. Near Fort Frederick is the Western Maryland Rail Trail, stretching more than 22-miles. Called a "Cathedral in the Trees," the paved and beautifully maintained rail trail runs from Big Pool to past Pearre. See: www.westernmarylandrailtrail.com
Gathland State Park
Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. It is the site of a unique collection of buildings and structures that he designed and constructed, some of which have been restored. The War Correspondents' Arch is the main attraction at this day use park. The Appalachian Trail traverses the park. The park includes all of Crampton's Gap, which was the southern most gap where troops fought during the Battle of South Mountain. Fought September 14, 1862, it was the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland.
Visit www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/gathland.html for more information.
Washington County Rural Heritage Museum
Depicting the heritage of local farming life, this museum displays antique farm equipment, an authentic turn-of-the century country store, and model rooms of a typical 19th century farmhouse as well as a gift shop. The museum is open Saturdays & Sundays 1 - 4 p.m., April through October, except holidays. Groups are by appointment. There is no fee. For more information call 240-313-2839 or visit www.ruralheritagemuseum.org
Tours include: Hub City Tour, A View of the Valley, South Mountain - Sharpsburg Tour, Camp Harding - Fort Frederick Tour, Long Meadow Tour, Whitetail - Dam 5 Tour, Woodmont - Railtrail Tour, and Farm Orchard Tour.
For maps regarding the above tours, please visit www.marylandmemories.com/biketours.
This information was provided by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau - www.marylandmemories.com