C&D Canal Ride 2018

Discussion in 'Northeast - Greater Flugistan and home of the carp' started by Lightyear68, May 29, 2018.

  1. Lightyear68

    Lightyear68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bel Air, MD
    I found a different thread about riding the C&D Canal with outdated information from 2009 through 2014. I got excited thinking I was going to ride coast to coast and loop around. Not so, but the ride was better than I thought it would be.

    Here's an update for 2018. During my ride I met one of the Army engineers [they maintain the service roads and trails] who schooled me on the legal places to ride. According to the engineer, riding both sides of the canal isn't legal anymore since the Castle Trail was paved. He said I could ride any of the three "tiers" as long as they weren't gated. And he warned me not to ride the single track intersecting the service roads. Maybe there are some places on the Castle Trail side of the canal to ride off to the west closer to Chesapeake City--let us know if this is the case. I'll explore the north side another day.

    But the good news is that we have three tiers of mostly parallel tracks, each one 9 miles long--yep, 27 miles of unpaved roads along the canal. My GPX file is attached showing how I started at Main Street and headed west on the canal road at water level, then back east on tier two mid-level, and then back west at the highest level of roads, finishing at the canal museum.

    The canal has the most unpaved miles I have found within an hour of Harford County. I ride that long to get to Fishing Creek Road in southern Lancaster PA and that's only a few miles long--but three cool shallow water crossings makes it worth the ride.

    Along the canal, you can enter from the west at the canal museum on Bethel Rd. Another entry point is in the middle of the canal at Old Summit Bridge Rd. Or you can enter from the east at Main Street.

    Here's the view entering from Main Street.

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    Entering the gravel road to the right you see this.

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    The road to the right is gated, so you can't ride toward Delaware City. Make a left and head west toward Chesapeake City. Here's the view showing the RT 13 bridge near and the RT1 Roth Bridge farther away.

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    You're seeing the canal road, which is tier 1, closest to the water. But there are 11 spur trails to the left that take you to the 2nd tier, and spurs off of that taking you to tier 3 at the highest ground.

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    Next spur.
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    Another spur to the left.
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    Here's the spur at the natural gas line.
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    Next spur.
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    This is one of the few fishing piers that are in good shape. Many are missing wood planks and no longer in use. The spur trails to the left take you to Old Summit Bridge Rd.

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    Here's the crossroads at the bottom of Summit Bridge Rd.
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    The engineer explained that the canal road washes out in some places, and then they create a spur trail to get up and around the problem. Here's the only wash-out I found. It's about a mile from the canal museum headed west.
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    And here's the trail head on the west side by the canal museum. This is a good view of the three tiers of trails, low [canal road water level], middle and high. The highest tier is gated at the west end, but it's accessible at various points. The tiers intersect at various points, but mostly run parallel to each other. Tiers 2 and 3 are dirt. Tier 1 is gravel.

    [​IMG]

    Looking forward to riding the canal roads more this summer. Maybe I'll see some inmates on the trail.

    Attached Files:

    #1
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  2. SoPaRider

    SoPaRider Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Michaux State Forest, Southcentral PA
    Great first post/ride report Lightyear68, we look forward to many more. My Uncle Ben was born and grew up in Earleville, 12 miles southwest of Chesapeake, he and my Aunt Phoebe lived in Wilmington in the 50's while Uncle Ben was working for DuPont; your pics bring back great memories of the "Good Old Days!".

    "The Ride Is Never Long Enough!"

    JC&KC
    #2
  3. Banana12

    Banana12 Been here awhile

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    Chesapeake City, MD
    I happen to live in Earleville and used to ride the canal everyday on my way home from work. I grew up riding the canal and I still ride there very frequently. If you would like a tour of the area I can show you around sometime.

    I can also show you around the dirt roads in Harford County too if you like. They can be tied together for a nice dirt trip and one even has a water crossing.
    #3
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  4. Lightyear68

    Lightyear68 Adventurer

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    Feb 22, 2018
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    Bel Air, MD
    Thanks. I started a private conversation to see if we can find some time for you to show me the Canal area. My gut said there was more to the place than I initially saw.
    #4
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  5. DUX

    DUX GS: The Anti-Chrome

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
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    DE
    Thanks for the update! PM sent to both of you.

    Would love to find some decent single day trips on dirt/gravel roads up there.
    #5
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  6. SCFoster

    SCFoster It is what it is Supporter

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    Wilmington, DE
    Reviving in case anyone is looking for a flat dirt/gravel ride along the canal. Headed down there today and it's still as described above. Took the KTM 1290SAS with road tires. Next I'll head down with my sone on the DR650 and DRZ400. Good easy practice.
    #6
  7. Lightyear68

    Lightyear68 Adventurer

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    Feb 22, 2018
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    Bel Air, MD
    Sorry I couldn't make it, but still love to ride the north and south sides!
    #7