Total tour distance: 335 miles
Daily tour distance: 48 miles
Difficulty: 50 / 100
Quiet country roads, rail trails, and the historic C&O Canal will be the path that takes us on this wonderful journey through history. Heading west out of the city on the Schuylkill River Trail, we’ll visit Valley Forge National Park, where George Washington built his Continental Army into a fighting force over the winter of 1777-78; and the bucolic horse country of Chester County. Next, we’ll traverse Lancaster County’s lovely Mennonite landscape, with its covered bridges and picturesque farms that defy the notion of industrial agriculture. You can dawdle alongside the Susquehanna, dubbed the “River of Dreams” in a natural history of the river by author Susan Q. Stranahan, a longtime writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer. And talk about history: There’s just enough Revolutionary War and Civil War lore along this route to instill you with a greater sense of how important these formative wars were to the evolution of America.
Approaching the tour’s end, you can look out over Maryland from atop Catoctin Mountain with the sun at your back, and marvel at just how surprisingly scenic this route is, linking our country’s original capital and its current capital. Plus the spectacular fall colors of October are sure to be an extra special added bonus!