This year Arthur’s Father’s Day present was to visit his family in Maryland and hike the Billy Goat Trail.
Billy Goat Trail is a 1.7-mile section of Great Falls Loop (4.3 miles) along the Potomac River. According to alltrails.com it is one of the most strenuous trails in the east coast. There are many attractions along the Potomac River, C & O (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal National Historic Park on Maryland side and Great Falls National Park on Virginia side are just a few we frequent.
The entrance fee for the C&O Canal Historic Park is $10 per vehicle, good for 3 days. Make sure to first visit the Tavern Visitor Center, which opened in 1830 as an inn. Imagine to reserve a bed (a bunk) for the night for only 25 cents! During the weekend the mule-drawn canal boat ride is a popular family activity, see NP website for schedule and pricing.
We began our hike from the canal towpath, which was flat and shaded most of the way. On our left we counted at least five locks along the canal. This wide open section of the canal is strangely named as “Log Wall”, I am not sure why since the canal bank is full of rocks, no logs.
On our right, the Potomac river, gushing through boulders and bedrocks, glittering in the afternoon sun, was quite inviting. We saw parents with little children in strollers lingering along the towpath, having a good time.
About a mile into the towpath, the Billy Goat A Trail forked to the right. The trail turned into a narrow and arduous rocky path. This section A was what made this trail famous. It was so steep in some areas, we had to get on all fours, hands and knees. Obviously the trail was destined for an agile mountain goat! 🙂 If not for the clearly marked blue sign, we would easily wonder off track since there was no visible trail, only rocky cleft!
However, our hard work paid off, the reward was the incredible view! And I haven’t mentioned the feeling of appeasing accomplishment! 🙂
When C & O Canal Company broke ground in 1828, their original plan was to dig a 360-mile canal to connect Chesapeake with Ohio River. Of course, we know the canal never reached Ohio river. At the time of its grand open in 1850, the canal was 184.5 mile long, getting as far as Cumberland, Maryland. Coals were carried down on boats from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington DC through the canal.
We stopped briefly at Cumberland, Maryland on our drive back home. This little historic town, the west end of C&O canal, is worth of a longer trip to fully explore. We will be back for sure.
Georgetown, Maryland, the east end of the canal. The pictures were taken during Thanksgiving 2015.
So glad that Arthur rose to the challenge on this Father’s Day to tackle the Billy Goat Trail! Now he has one more thing to boast about. 🙂