Carderock should be a beautiful spot for a hike now that autumn leaves are here! Billy Goat Trails B and C are each about 3 miles, so you can leave after just one for a short hike, or do both for the full monty!
The route: From the westernmost Carderock parking lot, we’ll walk out to the C&O Canal towpath, turn left, and go down to enter Billy Goat Trail section B. After hiking the section upstream, from east to west, we’ll return to our start point via the canal towpath, a total of 3.2 miles. After a short break, we’ll enter Billy Goat Trail section C and hike downstream, from west to east, and return to our start point via the canal towpath, a total of 2.8 miles.
The walk is two loops, one for each section, for a total of 6 miles of smiles. It should take around 2.5 hours at a moderate pace, given the broken ground and time for breaks here and there. The surface is rocky paths along the Billy Goat sections and smooth gravel along the towpath sections.
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/p8mkc52
How to get there: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 41 onto Clara Barton Parkway and follow signs for Carderock. On Clara Barton Parkway, take the first exit right at the brown sign marked "Carderock Carderock Div. NavSurfWarCen." After exiting, turn left to cross over Clara Barton Parkway, then continue straight, going around a curve and through a tunnel under the C&O Canal. At the T-junction, turn right and drive to the furthest parking lot to the west. Here's a couple of Google map directions:
• Outer loop: https://goo.gl/maps/3m7VZZfg9PM2
• Inner loop: https://goo.gl/maps/AgPsc8nC1VQ2
Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike.
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. There are some rocks and broken ground, especially on Section B, so consider bringing a walking stick/poles if that's your bag (yeah, man).
Weather: The forecast is sunny and a high of 62F. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/q6s64kc
Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers.
Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms (porta-johns) at the parking area.
• NPS website (for park alerts): http://tinyurl.com/kasdbdd
• NPS Great Falls trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/nzfhxgr