Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP: Billy Goat Trail, Sections B & C

If you like the sound of raging whitewater, this less-traveled 6.4-mile route offers plenty of acoustical inspiration and scenic Potomac River views.
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If you like the sound of raging whitewater, this less-traveled 6.4-mile route offers plenty of acoustical inspiration and scenic Potomac River views.

Mapped by Fletcher Caldwell

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.3

Waypoints

BGT001

Location: 38.9815292358398, -77.2268905639648

From parking area, head W. In 500 ft., turn L to cross bridge over C&O Canal, then turn L @ sign

BGT002

Location: 38.9808692932129, -77.226448059082

Turn R @ Y, leaving towpath @ sign for Billy Goat Trail Section B; follow trail SE through hardwoods

BGT003

Location: 38.9757385253906, -77.2239303588867

Overlook: Check out vertical cliff walls to S, a stunning backdrop to the Potomac River. In 300 yds., pass boulders (natural handholds in rock make for good climbing)

BGT004

Location: 38.9766693115234, -77.2197265625

Cross stream, then bear R on path

BGT005

Location: 38.9739799499512, -77.2168579101562

More sweet views of cliffs and 5 Potomac islands to the SE and SW. Up ahead, trail curves NE

BGT006

Location: 38.9753684997559, -77.2143936157226

Eat lunch overlooking Herzog Island; a series of frothing rapids pass the island's W shore

BGT007

Location: 38.9774398803711, -77.2129669189453

Turn R @ T onto canal towpath

BGT008

Location: 38.977481842041, -77.2063674926758

Turn R @ marked T and head S onto Section C

BGT009

Location: 38.9761009216309, -77.206916809082

Pass giant rock slabs. In 350 ft., head up through slabs, then hike SE

BGT010

Location: 38.9711303710938, -77.20166015625

On R, kayakers run the roaring class 3 Stubblefield Falls rapids

BGT011

Location: 38.9700813293457, -77.1969833374024

Turn L @ creek. In 200 ft., turn R to cross creek on bridge, then follow trail as it turns R again

BGT012

Location: 38.969669342041, -77.1885528564453

Turn L @ painted boulder

BGT013

Location: 38.9709701538086, -77.1892013549805

Turn L @ T onto towpath and swing back to trailhead. More: For 3 more C&O Canal hikes, go to backpacker.com/hikes