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Thread: Bike camping locations other than C&O?

  1. #1
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    Default Bike camping locations other than C&O?

    Anyone have any good bike campsites 40 miles or less from DC? Obviously there's the C&O but I'm looking for other options.

    I've biked to, and camped at, Greenbelt National Park before, but that's still closed for renovations.

    Im looking to bike about 40 miles. If it's a closer site I can always just go the long way.



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  3. #2
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    Fairfax County has some candidates. I've bike camped at Pohick Bay several times, and you'd have good bike-friendly routes from DC down there. Burke Lake is another option with decent routes. Bull Run Campground and Lake Fairfax are two more options.

    Prince William Forest Park is another great choice that would be close to your 40 mile criterion. I've spent a lot of time down there and I like that park. However, probably wouldn't have the most bike-friendly route down there, but it's doable.

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    Yes, Lake Fairfax Park has nice looking camping. If mountain biking or using a gravel bike, it's doable via access near the Fairfax Ice Rink off the W&OD. (Also accessible from Great Falls, VA--trails from Leigh Mill Road--but you'd have to be comfortable biking the roads out to there.)
    Last edited by huskerdont; 08-05-2021 at 02:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    Yes, Lake Fairfax Park has nice looking camping. If mountain biking or using a gravel bike, it's doable via access near the Fairfax Ice Rink off the W&OD. (Also accessible from Great Falls, VA--trails from Leigh Mill Road--but you'd have to be comfortable biking the roads out to there.)
    Just an FYI... The bathrooms at the main camping area have been closed/locked every time that I have been out there. The port-o-pots by the skate park were absolutely disgusting the last time I checked those (a little over a week ago). The bathrooms by the big pavilion in the main park area have been open during the day, but unsure of whether they are open at night.

    I am not sure what the deal is, but if you are tent camping, it might be wise to know the bathroom situation beforehand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    Prince William Forest Park is another great choice that would be close to your 40 mile criterion. I've spent a lot of time down there and I like that park. However, probably wouldn't have the most bike-friendly route down there, but it's doable.
    It's actually not too bad if you take the fire road off Dumfries, crossing the Occoquan either at Occoquan (foot bridge to Tanyard Hill Rd--they're not kidding, btw) or for a more epic ride, out around Manassas. Def wouldn't go anywhere near 123/95/1/Woodbridge. All of these have a much more "suburban commuter" feel than the towpath. Biggest issue right now is that campsites everywhere are pretty full.
    Last edited by mstone; 08-12-2021 at 09:59 AM.

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    What's a good bike route down to Pohick Bay/Mason Neck area? Seems like MVT and ECG go most of the way there but some in-between stuff looks wonky.
    Last edited by Smitty2k1; 08-15-2021 at 08:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty2k1 View Post
    What's a good bike route down to Pohick Bay/Mason Neck area? Seems like MVT and ECG go most of the way there but some in-between stuff looks wonky.
    The Mount Vernon trail will get you to Mount Vernon. From here take Mount Vernon Highway to Route 1. Mount Vernon Highway has a side path, but I'd recommend riding on the road and dealing with the traffic for about five miles. When you get to Route 1, cross it, then go left on the nice new bike path on the north side. Follow the path to Old Colchester Road. Turn left on Old Colchester and follow it to Gunston Road, then turn left. These last two roads have a lot of cyclists on the weekends, and I've ridden them many many times, including with my camping gear.

    Note: The bridge on Old Colchester Road had been closed, but it looks like it was just reopened last week, so your timing is perfect.

    https://www.virginiadot.org/projects...hick-creek.asp

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    The Mount Vernon trail will get you to Mount Vernon. From here take Mount Vernon Highway to Route 1. Mount Vernon Highway has a side path, but I'd recommend riding on the road and dealing with the traffic for about five miles. When you get to Route 1, cross it, then go left on the nice new bike path on the north side. Follow the path to Old Colchester Road. Turn left on Old Colchester and follow it to Gunston Road, then turn left. These last two roads have a lot of cyclists on the weekends, and I've ridden them many many times, including with my camping gear.

    Note: The bridge on Old Colchester Road had been closed, but it looks like it was just reopened last week, so your timing is perfect.

    https://www.virginiadot.org/projects...hick-creek.asp
    Thanks. Just booked a spot at Pohick Bay for Friday and really appreciate the navigation tips. Should be a fun afternoon/evening, my buddy has never camped before and I convinced him to spend a week in October riding to Pittsburgh with me, so this is his first night out ever.

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    Here's a photo from when I was there in 2014. Have a good time!

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    I have heard of folks riding the North Central Trail from the end of the Baltimore Light Rail to Indian Rock Campground near York, PA. They took MARC/Amtrak and Baltimore Light Rail to the trailhead and then returned the next day. I have ridden the North Central as a day trip and I wish it had trailside campsites, it was very remote and quiet in most places.

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