Summary: This the "last" section of the C&O Canal is a well maintained and smooth section passing back yards and open fields and it finally comes into Cumberland. Development has left little evidence of the canal's working past aside from a few "stop locks", spillways and the canal itself.
Like much of the towpath, the trail is almost perfectly flat. Lift Lock 75, the last on the canal, is right next to the North Branch Recreation Area and is the last significant change in elevation untill you get to Cumberland where a wooden walkway and ramps take you over the canal and into town.
The Evitts Creek Hiker-Biker campsite (N39 36.999 W78 43.954) is probably one of the worst to stay at if you want to get any sleep. It sits right beside a major railyard and the sounds of train cars squeeling and banging are not welcome neighbors. Stay here only if you can sleep through the cacophanous racket.
Trailhead: There are certainly many places to park in Cumberland to then access the terminus of the C&O Canal at the Visitor Center at 13 Canal Street. (N39 38.953 W78 45.792) However, being in town most of those opportunities will probably cost you something.
One would expect other parking opportunities along this section of the trail as there are plenty of road crossings but I've only ever ridden this section of trail at night and haven't seen just where they are.
There is a parking lot at the North Branch Recreation Area (N39 35.238 W78 44.318) off of Route 51. (Lat:39.64961 Lon:-78.76313)
Trail Guides for C&O Canal-Cumberland to North Branch:
The C&O Canal Companion
by Mike High (Johns Hopkins University Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: C&O Canal NHP Headquarters 301-739-4200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kevin Geiselman, who has posted 96 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
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