C&O Canal: Point of Rocks to Catoctin Aqueduct…A Chilly Hike!

My son came home from college for the Thanksgiving weekend on Amtrak.  We got to talking and he mentioned the train had gone over this really cool aqueduct he had never known about just before getting to Point of Rocks.  I said, “Oh, that’s the Catoctin Aqueduct!  They just finished refurbishing it…I keep meaning to get down there to see it.”

My thoughts this morning as I went through the "to-do" list.

My thoughts this morning as I went through the “to-do” list.

This was not the type of day I just wanted to jump out of bed and onto the trail.  I know…that is suprising…but people, it was fricken cold!  19 degrees when I let the dogs out!  So it was some hesitation that I even posted that I was thinking of getting a hike in.  BUT, I wanted to make it happen.  So I posted it…while I was warm, comfortable and optimistic about the possibilities of my Saturday.  I thought,”oh, it’s so cold, let me get some school work done first.”  So I continued to sit comfortably drinking coffee and working at the computer.  By 8:30 AM the temp was up to 25 degrees so I decided if I was going to do this (go hiking) I should probably just get up and go…I mean what was I waiting for…Spring? Haha! 🙂

Definitely a day for layering.  I shivered as I sat in the car waiting for it to warm up.  Sidekick Pauli didn’t seem to mind the cold at all.  She hopped up into the car and snuggled into her sleeping bag.  A dog’s life…well, my dog’s life. 🙂

Arrived at the C&O Canal – Point of Rocks parking area at about 9:30 AM.   Sky was overcast with the sun trying, very meekly, to make its appearance.  Very chilly, but no wind!  A plus, plus in my book!  We headed north to the Catoctin Aqueduct.

The C&O canal was a route to move supplies west and thus runs the entire state of Maryland from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.  It was quickly eclipsed by the railroad, which runs right beside it for the entire length.  Point of Rocks, our starting point, is one of the train stops.  First stop, after walking under the bridge, was to check out the Point of Rocks tunnel.

This is a great place for river lovers and train watchers!

Just prior to milepost 49 is one of the canal houses.  Some of the canal houses are available to rent.  This one is handicap accessible with a ramp and larger port-o-potty.  If you are in need of this type of addition to your vacation spot, then you would also need to consider how you might get to the canal house seeing as it is down the canal a bit and no motorized traffic is allowed.  Probably one of the all terrain wheel chairs would work fine!

Another mile up the canal, we came to the Catoctin Tunnel.  Surely we were getting close to the Catoctin Aqueduct!

Then we came to this sign.  I thought,”another 1.5 miles?  Do I have time to do this?  It would make my hike 8.4 miles long.”  I almost turned around, but then decided it wouldn’t take that long and headed forward!


The sign LIES!!! It is only 0.5 miles AT MOST to the Catoctin Aqueduct!  It took me exactly 10 minutes to walk from this sign to the aqueduct.  The NPS needs to fix the sign!  I wonder if people turn back because they think it could be too far to walk.  That would be disappointing as the Catoctin Aqueduct is so beautiful.  Really lovely! 🙂

The Catoctin Aqueduct

The Catoctin Aqueduct

It was quite chilly, but well worth the effort!  Great hike!

About BoobOnARock

Hiking, the woods, books, my son, my cats and dogs, math, hanging with my sweetie and making fires. what else is there? oh yeah, falling in the woods every once in a while...it is a talent of mine.

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