Location visible to members
This is a moderate hike due to its distance (~12 miles) and rock scrambling on Billy Goat Section A.
We will do a modified out and back using the C&O Canal Towpath and the Berma Road to connect the Billy Goat Sections A, B, and C. Starting at the southern point of the Carderock parking lot, we will warm up on Billy Goat Section C heading up river. Then we'll take the Towpath to the lower entrance of Section A and do some scrambling to our lunch/snack spot on the rocks above the Mather Gorge on what is called Pothole Alley. After that, we'll head to the Falls Overlook, admire the power of the river, and take the Berma Road back down river. The Berma Road gets us down to Anglers, where we'll pick up the Towpath again and take that to Section B. Then it's back on the Towpath again for short hike to the parking lot.
Note: Dogs are NOT allowed on Section A of the Billy Goat Trail
Starting point: We will meet in the southernmost parking lot of the Carderock Recreation Area (directions below). We will leave at 8:10am sharp. If you are late, you are on your own.
Distance: ~12 Miles (Moderate difficulty)
Time: 6-8 hours depending on sightseeing stops. We will stop at the falls or somewhere along Section A for lunch break.
Terrain: Rocky on Billy Goat; Towpath is crushed limestone
What to bring/how to prepare:
1. Water (at least 2 liters) and snacks/lunch
2. Everyone must have a map (http://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/upload/GF-Map-Page-2.pdf)
3. Dress in layers - preferably no cotton - and bring rain gear depending on weather
DIRECTIONS TO PARKING LOT:
We will meet at the southernmost parking lot.
From Virginia: Take Exit 41 off of the 495 Beltway. Bear left at small "Carderock" sign onto Clara Barton Parkway heading west. Go 0.9 miles to first parkway exit following signs for Carderock/495. Ascend short ramp (like you are going to the Naval Center), turn left at stop sign (Carderock), and cross over parkway. Follow road as it swings right into Carderock Recreation Area and then swings left and goes through underpass. Go left at T-junction to southernmost parking area.
From Maryland: Take Exit 41 off of the 495 Beltway. Merge onto the Clara Barton Parkway. Go 0.9 miles to first parkway exit following signs for Carderock/495. Ascend short ramp (like you are going to the Naval Center), turn left at stop sign (Carderock), and cross over parkway. Follow road as it swings right into Carderock Recreation Area and then swings left and goes through underpass. Go left at T-junction to southernmost parking area.
RSVPs close at 3pm the night before the hike b/c I will no longer be monitoring the site at that time.
I will send out my phone number to attendees a few days before the hike in case you need to reach me the morning of the hike. If you have questions, in the meantime, you can email me through my profile page or post them below in the discussion section.
Washington Backpackers Liability Terms:
By RSVPing and/or attending this trip, you agree to the Washington Backpackers Liability Waiver located in the files (http://files.meetup.com/317560/Washington%20Backpackers%20Liabilit.pdf).
From the NPS website:
Are you prepared for the Billy Goat Trail A? http://www.nps.gov/choh/upload/Are-you-prepared-for-Billy-Goat-Trail-A-edit.pdf
The Billy Goat Trails have been popular with hikers since the mid-1800s. Comprised of three separate trails accessible from the towpath, and designated Sections “A”, “B”, and “C”, the Billy Goat Trails offer beautiful views of the Potomac River. Please choose the appropriate trail by its difficulty level.
Section “A” is extremely strenuous and involves a lot of rock scrambling and the need for good balance. With its difficult terrain, the 1.7 mile hike takes most visitors 2-3 hours to complete. Visitors in less than optimal health, with small children, or those not experienced or properly outfitted, should consider other trail hiking options. Section “A” starts below Great Falls near the Stop Gate and ends on the towpath just upstream from the park’s Anglers access point. Dogs are not permitted.
Section “B” is a moderate hike. Located just downstream from Anglers, in the Marsden Tract area, “B” contains a few small rock scrambles and provides a quieter atmosphere then “A”. It is the best of the three for birding, especially in the spring.
Section “C” is an easy walk. Although there are still a few rock outcroppings, most of the trail is wooded. It is located just downstream from “A” and “B”, in the Carderock area of the park. Great hike for spring wildflowers and fall colors or during the hottest summer days.
Special Note About Bear Island Section “A” traverses one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country, Bear Island. Topography, geography and regular flood events have created some of the rarest and most sensitive habitats. Because of this, the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy jointly own and manage Bear Island. Please lessen your impact by remaining on the blazed trail and staying off the island when the trail is closed. This will help preserve the uniqueness of the island and the trail for future generations of hikers.