Bike to Swains Lockhouse along the C&O canal, with Dominic

8th April 2022

Bike / 46.8 miles / 123 ft ascent / 6 hours 29 minutes

Setting off from Harpers Ferry with Dominic

My eldest son Dominic joined me for the first 7 miles to Brunswick, our longest ride together. We had a blast along the canal and he did great. One thing to keep in mind when cycling with young children is that they’re prone to stop suddenly, when they spot something interesting. Be ready to hit the brakes yourself! πŸ˜‰

Cruising along the canal towpath between Harpers Ferry and Brunswick

Lexi picked Dominic up in Brunswick and I continued along the canal. I had another 40 miles to go to reach the Lockhouse.

Just beyond Brunswick is Little Catoctin Creek, which was heavily flooded after all the recent rain. I thought about attempting to cross, but quickly decided against it. The trail dips down quite far β€” I’m sure the water would have been waist deep or more in the middle.

Luckily I met another cyclist here, who had bypassed the flooded trail by way of the railway lines earlier in the day. He reassured me it was an easy detour. There was a train already on the far line, but the near line was clear, so we climbed the embankment and proceeded on foot down the lines until we could rejoin the canal towpath on the other side. I backtracked to help a mother/daughter team β€” on a multi-day tour β€” get past this point.

My Strava route showing the detour
Hot footing down the railway line

I cycled with my fellow rail-bridge-biker for the next few miles, chatting about our mutual appreciation of the canal and the bike touring.

Monocacy Aqueduct was next, 21 miles into the ride:

Monocacy Aqueduct

The next 15 miles were lovely and quiet. Mile after mile of towpath, meandering through the trees with the canal on my left and the river to my right.

I passed Seneca Creek Aqueduct around 41 miles into the ride:

Seneca Creek Aqueduct

Six miles later I reached Lockhouse 21, Swains lockhouse, where I finished my ride. I met up with Lexi and the boys, and tucked hungrily into the pizza that Lexi brought. We were originally planning to stay the night in the lockhouse, but had to return home instead on this occasion. We’ll be back though.

Swains Lockhouse, number 21
Swains lock

All in all, a great day’s riding along the canal. Particularly the first 7 miles with Dominic. I was really proud of how well he did.

2 thoughts on “Bike to Swains Lockhouse along the C&O canal, with Dominic


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s