Summary: If you still have energy after doing the Billy Goat A (BGA) Trail, this is a longer, more scenic way to return than the straight, flat, boring C&O Canal towpath. This loop can be done in either direction and can start at either the NPS parking lot of the Old Angler's Inn parking lot. I did it from the NPS lot and took the following trails in order: tow path south from parking lot to BGA trailhead; BGA to its southern trailhead on the towpath; turn right onto the towpath; cross the canal at the bridge on the left; go straight up the hill and stairs to Berma Road; turn left onto Berma Road; look for a square fenced-in area on the right; go behind the fenced-in area to find the trailhead leading uphill; take the Valley Trail at the fork; turn right onto the Gold Mine Loop Trail; take a side trip to see the old mine; return to Gold Mine Loop and follow the signs to the Tavern and the NPS parking lot.
Get trail map at entrance or website.
Trailhead: To start from the north end of the loop: 14 miles west of Washington DC. On Route 190N (River Road) outbound from Washington, turn South onto Route 189 (Falls Road) at the town of Potomac. At the T-intersection you will turn right onto MacArthur Blvd. which will take you downhill to the entrance to the national park at the Great Falls Tavern. Exit 41 (Carderock) of Route 495 also connects to MacArthur Blvd. There is a $5 per car parking fee unless you have a pass.
To start at the south end of the loop: I-495 to Exit 41 (Carderock and Glen Echo); follow Clara Barton Pkwy towards Carderock, passing David Taylor Model Basin and Naval Surface War Center on right. At junction with MacArthur Blvd turn left and continue West to Old Anglers Inn on right at sharp turn in road. Park in lot on left opposite the inn. Lot is free, but crowded. (Lat:39.00265 Lon:-77.24689)
Trail Guides for Billy Goat-Gold Mine Loop Hike:
Hikes in the Washington Region Part A Montgomery and Frederick in Maryland
by Potomac Applachian Trail club (Potomac Applachian Trail Club)
50 Hikes in Maryland
by Leonard M . Adkins (Backcountry Guides)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: NPS Ranger 1 (866) 677-6677 Emerg or (301) 767-3714 for info
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Richard Denton, who has posted 18 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by RJD on 4/15/2009
The breach in the tow path has a temporary bypass trail around it. This hike is now viable again.
Reviewed by RJD on 9/8/2008
It has been reported that Tropical Storm Hanna washed out the section of the towpath between the east end of the Billy Goat a trail and the junction with Berma Road. This makes this loop hike impossible.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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