Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg: A Tour of Two Towns

Discover two historic small towns along the C&O Canal Towpath in one weekend in West Virginia and Maryland right in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. The Battle of Antietam, the Potomac River, the old Canal, the ferries and bridges all combine to make a journey to the Two Rivers region memorable.

Lock 38 of the C&O Canal Towpath was the trading hub of both Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg. If you are biking up the trail you can see the stone pillars of both rail and carriage bridges that connected these two cities in the 19th century. On the Maryland side, you can get a great view of the historic Ferry Hill Plantation.

Sharpsburg, MD is approached from the C&O Canal Towpath at Snyders Landing, milepost 76.65. Take the Snyders Landing road the 1.5 miles to Sharpsburg and you will quickly discover that not much has changed since this rural town was incorporated. Four B&B’s are available for the overnight traveler, as a well as a few local restaurants.

Just outside of Sharpsburg, on your way to the C&O Canal Towpath, check out Antietam Battlefield commemorating September 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day of the American Civil War. This site now boasts a brand new visitor center.

After Antietam, cross the James Rumsey Bridge and bridge note the monument to James Rumsey on your left. James Rumsey was a colleague of George Washington and the inventor of the first steam powered boat. Shepherdstown, founded in 1762 is the oldest incorporated town in West Virginia. Outdoor recreational enthusiasts will find Shepherdstown welcoming. German Street has shops to entice you from cycling and running supplies, to kayak rentals, fishing supplies plus delicious eats for hungry travelers.


Region: C&O Canal Towpath, Two Rivers
Activity: Bicycling, Civil War, History

Last updated: August 12, 2022

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Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
c/o Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
142 W. Potomac St.

Williamsport, MD 21795


This phone will reach the main line for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

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