Day 5 — [61 mi] Hancock, MD to Harper’s Ferry

So this post is a little late,  because yesterday was ROUGH. Ha! It started out fine, just a little later than we wanted,  per usual. Our hotel was a bit off the trail so we had to work our way back down,  pick up a couple essentials (motrin and lunchables, lol) and we were off!


Our first stop was at Fort Frederick,  well Brian went up to see it.  We saw a sign and were interested, but there was a hill involved, so I opted to just hang out at the bottom and relax. Haha!



We also came up on an old Mill along the trail, Charles Mill.  It looked pretty cool,  so we took a quick break and some photos.



After that we were going along nicely, when some clouds came rolling in. And of course we were out along this open part with no tree cover.  We ended up siting on the ground next to one bike and throwing a tarp over us.  A big ass dead limb fell a couple feet away from us… So that was not awesome.

Eventually it all passed and we went on. The trail was now extra soft and muddy with even more puddles. It was harder to navigate, but doable.  We took a slight detour to go up to the Antietam battlefield. It was shorter miles, but more hills!


We eventually made it to Harper’s Ferry…only to be faced with a bridge that only had stairs and a mile long hill to our lodging.  We used Airbnb and were staying with Bill and Asher (the doodle!).  It was a great experience,  regardless of the hill.  Also,  the photos below do not accurately display how muddy we were.  Haha!





Brian’s Highlights:

  • Some of the trail sections hug the edge of the Potomac with a sheer rock bluff on the other side. It was beautiful.
  • Antietam (bloodiest day in Civil Wat history) is worth the climb out of the trail. We were crunched for time and couldn’t do a proper tour, but some of the views of rural Pennsylvania are breathtaking.
  • Harper’s Ferry has a ton of charm and history, and I wish we had arrived earlier to spend more time there.

Brian’s Lowlights:

  • The weather was a lowlight in the sense that it slowed us down, but I actually felt they it added to the adventure and gave us a true C&O trail experience.
  • To get across the Potomac to Harper’s Ferry, we had to carry our bikes and panniers up a spiral staircase. I feel like this could be me rectified. I’m thinking a spiral ramp so people can walk their bikes up.
  • I might have already mentioned this, but everywhere in these small towns closes at 9pm at the latest. Be sure to plan according, because we always didn’t.


  • The weather presented a challenge, but it ended up being one of those fun 2.0 experiences (fun after the fact). This is a beautiful portion of the trail and make sure to leave yourself enough time to properly explore Antietam and Harper’s Ferry.

One last day folks!
Brian and Kassie


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