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View Full Version : leesburg to harpers ferry



ren
03-06-2012, 09:35 AM
Hello All,

I will be riding from Leesburg, VA to Harpers Ferry. Looking to ride some of the C&O if that is best or if there is another route, one that goes off on the roads and then heads over to the C&O later on. Ideas?

ren

Dirt
03-06-2012, 09:57 AM
I do a route up there fairly regularly. It is part of a Potomac Pedalers cue sheet. I'll see if I can dig that up. The back half is not very fun... Has a lot of time on narrow roads. But the ride up is lovely and if you're taking the C&O back, you avoid the bad parts.

creadinger
03-06-2012, 10:22 AM
You could head west on the W&OD and then take some backroads or Route 287 to Brunswick, MD, then take the canal up to Harper's Ferry. I've done most of that in reverse once. I think it would be better than taking the canal the whole way.

Dirt
03-06-2012, 10:47 AM
I ride in that area quite a bit. This is an adaptation of a loop that I do as a road ride. Usually I'm on a road bike that doesn't do too well on the C&O. As a result, I usually ride the roads between Brunswick and Harper's Ferry. Since you'd talked about using the C&O, I just routed along that since some of the sections are not too much fun. I've never had a problem on the bridge at Point of Rocks. I ride it almost every month and people have never given me grief.

If you're on a cross bike and prefer dirt roads, there are some cool ones on the Virginia side between Leesburg and Point of Rocks.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/982893

ren
03-06-2012, 12:06 PM
wow, great help. I am checking out the map now and checking out options.Curious why you bear left after Taylorstown instead of going right to head more direct on rt 665. also what's your opinion of riding on 15/James Monroe Hwy? And what do you think of crossing into Brunswick on the Berlin Turnpike as compared to crossing at Point of Rocks? Thanks again...really nice to talk with other riders. I'm from northeast PENN. and visiting this area for a few days, will have a touring bike so road and dirt are fine.

ren
03-06-2012, 12:09 PM
not sure if my reply went through, just using this forum for the first time. Wanted to make sure my 'thanks' went your way. Google suggest old waterford Rd to waterford then on to Lovettesville. Don't see 287 on the map?

creadinger
03-06-2012, 12:18 PM
wow, great help. I am checking out the map now and checking out options.Curious why you bear left after Taylorstown instead of going right to head more direct on rt 665. also what's your opinion of riding on 15/James Monroe Hwy? And what do you think of crossing into Brunswick on the Berlin Turnpike as compared to crossing at Point of Rocks? Thanks again...really nice to talk with other riders. I'm from northeast PENN. and visiting this area for a few days, will have a touring bike so road and dirt are fine.

I'm not as experienced out there as others, but I would very highly recommend against riding on 15, especially over the Potomac at Point of Rocks. It's a pretty major throughway for travelers and I don't think it has a shoulder at all. It looks like it has a narrow sidewalk, but that would probably be too narrow to ride comfortably with high speed traffic right next to you. Whites Ferry near Leesburg would be a good option, but that's out of the way.

I've ridden across the bridge near Brunswick twice and it's a lot quieter than 15. On googlemaps streetview you can see some old guy on a beat up mountain bike riding across it. That was all the convincing I needed to tell me that that bridge is safe enough.

Where in NE PA? I grew up in State College, but last year I did a tour down along the Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route through the Delaware Water Gap. It was a great time!

Tim Kelley
03-06-2012, 12:23 PM
I'm not as experienced out there as others, but I would very highly recommend against riding on 15, especially over the Potomac at Point of Rocks. It's a pretty major throughway for travelers and I don't think it has a shoulder at all. It looks like it has a narrow sidewalk, but that would probably be too narrow to ride comfortably with high speed traffic right next to you.

That bridge crossing doesn't have any shoulder. Photo by Dirt here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrogringo/6114251614/in/set-72157627594228972

If you're with a larger group, or able to just put your head down and sprint for a minute or two, it's not too bad a crossing.

KS1G
03-06-2012, 12:45 PM
Getting to and crossing the river: Rt 15 business and the short section of Rt 15 until White's Ferry Rd is rideable (watch for the rumble strips!) north from Leesburg (see the conclusion of Dirt's route). Then take Whites Ferry and proceed west on the C&O. Not skinny-tire-friendly, though. Rt 15 north to Point of Rocks is unrideable (no shoulder + 50mph+ traffic). You might be able to manage the Point of Rocks bridge (I'd walk it on the "sidewalk" such as it is) coming from Rt 672/Lovettesville Rd (somwhat busy but rideable). Dirt's 1st-hand experience is probably better vs. my opinion. I see this is the way his route gets to Point of Rocks. The Brunswick bridge is probably the easiest all-road crossing based on what I have heard/read (no 1st hand experience). 287 north from Purcelville is busy (not as bad as Rt 15), rideable (I've done it part-way) but I'd prefer a quiter road.

I've heard of folks using Harpers Ferry Rd to get from the Purcelville area to HF. Road seems a bit too narrow and fast, but no 1st-hand experience.

Dirt
03-06-2012, 01:24 PM
wow, great help. I am checking out the map now and checking out options.Curious why you bear left after Taylorstown instead of going right to head more direct on rt 665. also what's your opinion of riding on 15/James Monroe Hwy? And what do you think of crossing into Brunswick on the Berlin Turnpike as compared to crossing at Point of Rocks? Thanks again...really nice to talk with other riders. I'm from northeast PENN. and visiting this area for a few days, will have a touring bike so road and dirt are fine.

665 is one of those cool dirt roads that I was going to propose as an alternate. Basically you climb furnace mountain and ride down the other side. There is one added work-out benefit that keeps me from recommending it as a primary route. 80% of the rides that I do on Furnace Mountain Road involve being chased by a particular dog. My guess is that the canine in question is just playing, but I haven't hung around to find out. Heading North, the dog is chasing you up hill. Fortunately every time I've just gotten to the steep part, the dog has tired, slowed and turned back.

The short section of Rt. 15 that I ride on north of Leesburg is easy. The shoulder is very wide and, as already pointed out, the only real hazards are the rumble strips.

Berlin Pike is better than Harpers Ferry Road, but not much. Traffic moves pretty fast and the shoulders are often not very wide. I've ridden it, but it isn't much fun.

Pete

brendan
03-06-2012, 05:00 PM
My advice would be to come up with both a C&O-towpath-based route as well as a non-C&O route. If it has rained significantly a day or two before my ride, that may discourage me from spending too much time on the towpath. For speed, comfort and safety reasons. Some sections become quite mucky. My difficult mud experiences have been the 5-10 miles east/south of whites ferry on the towpath - I haven't ridden west/north of there on the towpath.

brendan

JimF22003
03-07-2012, 01:29 AM
These are all good suggestions. Here's a couple of random additions, FWIW, and from a road-rider perspective (i.e. no dirt roads, and no C&O):

- 15 up to Whites Ferry is fine, but don't go any further if you value your life
- Harpers Ferry Rd out of Hillsboro is not terrible. It's kind of pretty, but can be busy. Just keep a good straight line and don't wander into traffic :(

If I were just going to do the most straight-forward trip from Leesburg to HF, I would do

W&OD to Purcellville
Hillsboro Rd to Hillsboro
Rt 9 to Harpers Ferry Rd
Harpers Ferry Rd into HF

You can also go through Round Hill and take Wood Grove and Cider Mill Rd to cut off a bit of Rt 9 and bypass Hillsboro

There are a couple of good Potomac Pedalers cue sheets that have some nice loops starting out of Leesburg or Point of Rocks, that do various variations.

WillStewart
03-07-2012, 03:36 PM
One more possibility is taking W&OD to Clarke's Gap into Paeonian Springs, turn right, head to Shell, turn left on Clarke's Gap Road, take that into Waterford, veer off to Lovettesville, take remainder of 287 (Berlin Turnpike) over to Brunswick, take C&O the rest of the way.

Taking Rt15 north to White's Ferry then left on C&O trail would be my first choice. I would NOT go further on Rt15 to Point of Rocks Bridge.