2016 Heritage Hike Travels From Carderock To Rileys Lock
October 29 Followed By Dinner In Beallsville
By Bill Holdsworth
This year’s Heritage Hike October 29 will revisit familiar terrain in lower Montgomery County. Dinner afterwards will by Upper Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department in Beallsville, MD – always a popular venue with Association members.
Historian Garrett Peck will headline the after dinner program. Garrett will discuss the history of the Seneca Quarry, the source of red sandstone for many C&O Canal structures and some landmark buildings in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Smithsonian Castle and The Seneca Quarry, a book published in 2013.
The hiker bus will depart from the parking lot at Rileys Lock at mile 22.8. The 10 a.m. departure will take the long hikers to Carderock , the start of their 12.0-mile trek. Medium and short hikes will board the 11:15 a.m. departure. Short hikers will disembark at Pennyfield Lock, 3.2 miles from Rileys Lock.
Medium hikers will disembark along River Road at Swains Lock Road. The parking lot at Swains is too small for the bus to turn around. Medium hikers will have to add the quarter-mile walk down from River Road to their 6.4-mile trip along the towpath back to Rileys.
Long hikers will pass some of the canal’s most popular locations: Widewater, the bridge to Olmstead Island, and Great Falls Tavern. Other landmarks along the way:
- 17.36 – WSSC Filtration Plant, which will be the site of construction activity in the next few years
- 17.74 – Culvert #25, Watts Branch, 20’ span
- 20.01 – Culvert #30, Muddy Branch, 16’ span, built of Seneca red sandstone
- 22.12 – Violette’s Lock and Inlet Lock 2
After completing their journeys, hikers can examine Seneca Creek Aqueduct and the nearby ruins of Seneca Stone Cutting Mill.
To reach Rileys Lock, take MD Route 28 to Darnestown. Then take MD Route 112 (Seneca Road) south. Follow that road for 3½ miles and then turn left onto Rileys Lock Road. Hikers will sign a waiver before boarding the bus. The bus fee is $5 if paid in advance, and $7 if paid on boarding. Please bring exact change. Food is not provided, so bring a bag lunch and drink.Diners can meet at the Beallsville Fire Department at 4:30 p.m. for happy hour. Dinner is 5:30 p.m. and an evening program will follow. The Fire Department is located at 19801 Beallsville Rd. (MD 109), just north of the junction with MD 28. Dinner is $22 and includes happy hour.
A reservation form is available on the Association website and in the September issue of Along the Towpath. Dinner and bus reservations are needed by October 20. Make plans now to spend a wonderful fall day.