Display Driving Direction from:   North (via I-95)   South (via I-95)   East (via Rt 50)   West (via I-66)
Carderock Recreation Area is located on the Potomac River about 1 mile west of the Capital Beltway (near the American Legion Bridge). This little known recreation area is a great place to park your car and explore the C&O Towpath by bike. Downtown Washington DC is an easy 10 mile ride east on the unpaved towpath, and it is only 3 miles west of the majestic Great Falls.
There are actually four parking lots in this area. After driving through the tunnel, make a right turn at the stop sign and continue all the way to the last parking lot. This provides easiest access to the C&O Towpath, and there is a also a rest room nearby.

1. Find Towpath Access: There is a rest room building in the northern most parking lot. Across the lot from the rest room is a short trail through the woods. Follow this trail to the towpath.

2. Right on Towpath: Turn right and follow the towpath for about 9 miles, until you enter Georgetown. Here, you will pass under the Key Birdge. Right after Key Bridge, use the footbridge to cross over to the other side of the canal.

3. Trail Narrows: Continue to follow canal for about 1 mile. The trail will become pretty narrow as you pass through the Georgetown canyon. Eventually, the trail will become brick paved, ending at the intersection with the Rock Creek Parkway.

4. Right at Rock Creek: Turn right and follow the path along on the parkway. Continue about 1 mile until you reach the Lincoln Memorial circle. Follow the circle clockwise until you reach the National Mall area. Use the Mall paths to access all major attractions.

Explore this route using: Google Maps or Google Earth

Bike Washington --> Vistor Guide --> Park and Bike Guide