Cycling To Harpers Ferry West Virginia

We headed into Labor Day weekend with no big plans. We thought Hermine was going to bring us rain, but by Friday the forecast called for partly cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and almost no chance of rain. I wanted to do something “fun” to make the long weekend special, and over dinner Friday night we decided to make a day trip out of cycling to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. 

cycling to harpers ferry
Harpers Ferry is at about mile marker 61 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath, which we can pick up at mile 0 in Georgetown, but we did not want to spend that long on our bikes! Luckily Bike Washington has a great guide for cycling along the C&O Canal that we used to plan our ride.

Cycling To Harpers Ferry

We decided to drive to Dickerson Conservation Park in Maryland, where we could access the tow path at about mile marker 40. It was about an hour drive from our house, with the last 12 miles on small country roads through beautiful farmland. The “park” facilities didn’t seem to be much more than a parking lot, porta-potty, and trail access, but that’s all we needed to get on our way cycling to Harpers Ferry. 

The tow path is a dirt/gravel path that is sited between the C&O Canal (or what’s left of it) on the east and the Potomac River on the west. At mile 40, the “canal” looks like a pond covered with green slime. After a few miles it becomes completely overgrown, and as you keep heading north it is more like woods. 

Two miles into our ride we rode over the Monacacy Aqueduct, a stone bridge that used to carry the canal over the Monacacy River. After that, the towpath reaches Point of Rocks, Maryland, and then cuts through the Catoctin Mountain Range. Here, the old canal bed is taken over by train tracks, and we “raced” several freight trains  along our ride. 

Cycling To Harpers Ferry


Once we got to Harpers Ferry, we carried our bikes over the footbridge to get to the town, and then took a leisurely break to eat lunch and explore Harpers Ferry. It is a really cute town, with historic buildings, small museums, and a number of restaurants and gift shops. Harpers Ferry is a National Historic Park, so much of the “town” is actually under the domain of the National Park Service, as is the C&O Canal towpath. It’s never hard for us to #findyourpark for weekend fun! 

Four Miles Too Far

Our ride from Dickerson to Harpers Ferry was about 21 miles, and since we had no other plans for the day I suggested that we keep going a few more miles before heading back, so we could ride a total of 50 miles. Those extra four miles north turned out to be four miles too far. 

First, my husband got a flat tire. We’ve been lucky that this has never happened on our long rides, but my husband was prepared with his tool kit and spare tubes. I got to see what it takes to change a tire, but it was an experience he would have been happy to live without.

As we got back on our bikes, I took out my phone to take a picture, and was met with one of the worst screens you can see halfway through an epic bike ride, that “HELLO” screen. I must have forgotten to lock my screen after my last photo stop, and the phone thought my shirt pocket was making failed log-in attempts, so it wiped itself clean for “security” purposes. Thanks, Apple!

This has happened to me once before, so I knew that all the pictures I had taken on our ride were gone–why hadn’t I Facebooked or Instagrammed over our lunch break?? Even more frustrating, it wouldn’t let me restore my phone without wi-fi, so I couldn’t take any pictures on the way back. And, my husband had left his phone in the car. That’s why I only have the one picture above to show for 50 miles of biking! šŸ™

First world problems, I know, but it was such a lovely day, and I had taken so many great pictures ….

Weekly Wrap

Weekly Wrap
The rest of my week was pretty normal,
with a few schedule adjustments
that I’ll recap for the Weekly Wrap Link Up
hosted by Holly and Tricia.


Monday: 45 min strength routine at home before taking the train to Newark for the day.

Tuesday: 4 mile run, including 10 laps at the track at a “comfortably hard” pace, which ended up being about 7:55 mph. 

Wednesday: 45 min RealRide indoor cycling class at Revolve.

Thursday: 30 min strength routine at home before work.
60 min Orange Theory Fitness class after work. 
I had an afternoon meeting out of the office that I knew would end by 4:00, so I signed up for a 4:30 pm class instead of my usual 5:00 am class. It was much easier to get my heart rate up–maybe I’m more comfortable pushing harder when I’m fully awake?

Friday: 4 mile neigborhood run.
My legs were still tired after OTF, but the weather was so nice I had to get out for a run. I remembered to grab my headlamp, which is definitely needed on my morning runs these days.

September 2 Run

Saturday: 50 mile bike ride.

Sunday: 5.75 mile neighborhood run; 30 min yoga stretching video.
My legs were really tired, but again I could not resist the weather.
Or the beautiful sunrise.

September 4 run

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Has your iPhone ever wiped itself clean on you?

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35 Responses to Cycling To Harpers Ferry West Virginia

  1. I’ve never had my iPhone wipe itself clean! I think I’d have a nervous breakdown if that happened. I have so much stuff on there. Think I’ll back it up as soon as I post this comment…

    Your bike ride sounds amazing and I’m going to use my imagination to picture all the sights!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Balanced and Back on TrackMy Profile

  2. Oh gosh….if my phone wiped itself clean, I’d be right there with Wendy having a breakdown. There have been a few times when my Ipod has “locked” (?) itself and I have not been able to turn it on…and that was a nightmare of an experience. I have a lot of stuff on there as well…fortunately, after letting it sit for a couple days, I was able to get back in and access all my stuff. And the flat tire…I’d have no clue what to do LOL
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…How did August play out?My Profile

  3. Nice week and ride! I got out last night and just think morning for short rides since I can’t run and it felt so good!

  4. Debbie says:

    Wow! I hope you got your iPhone restored and your data (and pictures!) back. I didn’t know it would do that! I use an android, and I have no idea whether they are set to do the same thing.

    Sounds like a fun ride though, in spite of the problems. I once rode a century ride with a large group of people and it seemed like almost everybody had at least one flat tire. We actually ended up calling it the Flat Tire Century! Fixing a tire is an important skill. When I was riding a lot, I spent an hour or so at home practicing. Much better to be prepared!
    Debbie recently posted…Be #AwareWithPink with Trekz Titanium Pink HeadphonesMy Profile

  5. Are you at all uneasy about riding on the dirt and gravel with small tires? Makes me nervous! So glad our weekend turned out rain free!
    Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner recently posted…Easy Make Ahead Breakfasts for Back To SchoolMy Profile

  6. I just got a new bike and would love to go on that trail sometime when I’m in the area! (I live in the Eastern Shore of Maryland).

  7. Nothing real fun for me this weekend, it was a typical weekend of getting the kids back to school.
    I don’t have an iPhone, but boy that sucks. I would be upset if all my photos were wiped away….
    Karen @ Fit in France recently posted…La rentree (Back to school)My Profile

  8. Oh my, I would not have been at all happy if my phone did that, then again my phone is a piece of crap anyway. It definitely has its own issues — like constantly running out of storage space.

    Nope, not a fun weekend, obviously . . . I’d say it was nice to sleep in my own bed for a few nights, but with Bandit barking one night, Lola having one of her gagging spells another . . . geez, all I want is one night of uninterrupted sleep!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Where did summer go?: 8/29-9/4 Weekly WrapMy Profile

  9. Carmy says:

    Eek! Glad your husband had the spare tube and his kit!
    Carmy recently posted…Monday on the Run #52My Profile

  10. Jenn says:

    Oh, no! My iPhone has never done that, thank goodness! I would have cried!

    However, what a fun way to spend an afternoon. I wanted to take a family ride today, but when we got home from lunch, all little man’s friends were playing outside, so he wanted to hang with them. Maybe next weekend.
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 8.28 – 9.3, august review + september goalsMy Profile

  11. Kristen says:

    That bike ride sounds epic! But I am so sad that you lost all of your pictures. I’m totally a “pics or it didn’t happen” kind of girl so I get how frustrated you must have felt. Oh well, now you’ll have to do it again right? šŸ™‚
    Kristen recently posted…A Race Can Change YouMy Profile

  12. You are finding some cool rides! That is weird about the phone- I haven’t had that happen- but disappointing for sure! Sounds like you had a fun day “unplugged” anyway šŸ™‚
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…September Summer Taper Weekly UpdateMy Profile

  13. Karen Bayne says:

    I have never had that I phone experience! That is a total bummer šŸ™
    I am sure it was a great ride. I love all these bike adventures and long rides you are taking.
    At least the hubby was prepared with a flat kit, I would have no clue.
    Maybe I need a new head lamp, mine isn’t lighting my path enough, I do better with a very thin flashlight i carry, but i do get tired of carrying it. I pop it in my sport bra when it gets light enough lol
    Karen Bayne recently posted…Purple, Pink, and Orange…oh my!My Profile

  14. I’m glad the weather held out for you! I love a long weekend bike ride – looks like you had a great time, despite the issues at the end.
    Celia at Chicago Jogger recently posted…5 Must Have Items for a New BabyMy Profile

  15. Oh man that stinks about your phone…so frustrating! I have an Android so I haven’t had that problem but I totally sympathize! That sounds like such a fun bike ride! I really need to invest in a nice bike so that I can go on similar rides with my boyfriend. Great job on your workouts! I’m going to need to finally get myself a headlamp for those early morning runs…
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Philly Marathon Training Week 5 and August Monthly Goal RecapMy Profile

  16. Yikes about the phone issue and flat tire!! That is wonderful that you both were able to take such a great ride. I love biking but haven’t done more than a little over an hour at a time. Someday, I hope to be able do rides like that!

  17. Man, what a view that must have been! Glad you had a great week of activity, even though there were technological issues šŸ˜›

  18. Ugh, I hate it when technology fails on me. I too have been there where I’ve gotten the blue screen of death and lost pictures that hadn’t already been backed up to my iCloud. Like you said, first world problems…
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Rock ā€˜nā€™ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Log ā€“ Week 10My Profile

  19. Marcia says:

    The cycle trip sounds like a fun adventure. Flat tire aside, of course! My iPhone has wiped my calendar clean a couple of times. It’s SO disturbing not to mention annoying. I have no trust in it anymore, even though I have a new phone.
    Marcia recently posted…Hydration Backpack 101My Profile

  20. Farrah says:

    Is it sad that I lived in WV for a couple years but never made it to Harpers Ferry? :[ There was so much of the state I wanted to explore, but…sigh, med school. That bike ride looks like it was a lot of fun! I’m so sorry to hear that your phone wiped itself clean though. ;_; That’s horrible! (I need to go back up mine…)

  21. Kerry says:

    Wow! I have never had my phone do that! Fingers crossed it never happens! Sounds like an eventful biking trip. šŸ™‚

  22. That C&O Canal path sounds awesome. I love that there are so many car free miles. Sorry about all the added drama though. ugghhhh
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Post-Race Recovery ā€“ AKA The Reverse TaperMy Profile

  23. HoHo Runs says:

    My previous iPhone would overheat, or get wet with sweat, and change languages. It would eventually come back around. Thankfully my new one has not done anything weird. The ride to Harpers Ferry sounds like so much fun — but not the flat. I wouldn’t know what to do with my flat tire kit but I would certainly give it my best. Thanks for linking, Coco.

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