26 miles, out and back
This 10-foot-wide, 13-mile paved trail in Southern Maryland passes through wetlands and the Mattawoman Creek stream valley, so you may spot bald eagles, turtles, deer, and other wildlife.
Covered Bridges Ride
This ride in the countryside of Maryland’s Frederick County features a slew of water crossings—including on three covered wooden bridges. For directions, download the Heritage Bicycle Tours brochure, then scroll to the North County Bridge Sampler.
52 miles, one way
This well-maintained paved path between Jamestown and Richmond passes old plantations and battlefields, views of the James River, the former homes of US Presidents, and more than 40 historical markers. Some stretches are next to a road and thus can be noisy. If you bike to either end, you can take Amtrak back—or take the train there and back from DC.
C&O Canal Towpath
184.5 miles, one way
Already biked part of the lush, unpaved towpath starting in Georgetown? If you’re saddle-ready, you could ride past Great Falls, then Harpers Ferry, to Cumberland, either camping or booking lodging along the way. The trip usually takes three to six days; from Cumberland, you can return on Amtrak. For tips, check out this website or this article.
334.5 miles, one way
If you’re ambitious, you can ride all the way from Pittsburgh to DC, combining the C&O towpath and the 150-mile, mostly crushed-limestone GAP trail. Don’t let the mileage daunt you: In one 24-mile stretch, from the Eastern Continental Divide to Cumberland, it’s mostly downhill. Outfitters offer guided trips and support for self-guided journeys. You can also ride with your bike to Pittsburgh on Amtrak.