Hiking the Billy Goat Trail

Handsome and I spent one recent Saturday morning hiking Section A of the Billy Goat Trail (PDF) in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

The hike itself is pretty strenuous and not for the faint of heart – there’s a lot of climbing and jumping on large rocks, and some beautiful views from the top of the Potomac Gorge. This 40-foot cliff climb is known as The Scramble:

Billy Goat Trail

It’s not quite as steep as this photo makes it look, but it’s challenging. There wasn’t anyone behind us when we hit it, which was good because I got stuck at one point where my legs weren’t quite long enough to get up over one portion. In the end I wound up sort of levering myself up on my shin, which I was pretty sure would result in a nice bruise, but did not. This portion and a few other things were a little nerve-wracking, so I did a lot of crouching and the like to get my center of gravity lower and better be able to get a hand on things. That said, A++ Will Hike Again. (However you will not catch me running this trail, which appeared to be a pretty popular activity.)


I, of course, dragged my camera along, which was perhaps not ideal but worked out just fine. More photos here.

There are a ton of other trails in that area for us to explore – Great Falls Park in Virginia, the Potomac Heritage Trail, and then there’s plenty more along the C&O Canal, including some additional portions of the Billy Goat Trail – and lots of bike trails in the area too.