Snyders Landing to Dam 4~7.62 Miles

Our Starting Point...

Snyders Landing might be a few miles away from Martinsburg, but we’ve never really spent much time in this section of the C&O Canal NHP. The more remote parts of the park always seemed to have more to offer, but over the past couple of days, we have rediscovered a lot of what this area has to offer.


Heading upstream, the first thing that meets the eye is the remains of Lock 40. During the Spring months, the old lock plays host to numerous frogs and their offspring. However, the most interesting part of stopping at the lock is seeing an intact root cellar of sorts that sits approximately fifty yards to the right of the lock. Naturally, it was full of water from the recent rain, but just seeing a structure from a bygone age was more than we expected. Be sure to look closely because it’s really well hidden!

A nice place to stop...Lock 40

I loved how the sunlight streamed through the opening!

Look what we found behind Lock 40!

View from the Towpath

View from the Towpath

After riding for approximately 7.62 miles, we came to Feeder Dam 4. The first thing you’ll see from the towpath is the winch house. I’m not sure of the exact purpose of this structure, but when the canal was still operating, it ended at this point and resumed about three miles upstream. Known as the Big Slackwater, canal boats were transferred to the Potomac, and the mules that powered the barges walked along the river bank between the dam and McMahon’s Mill. What does this mean to the modern biker/hiker? Well, since the old path was destroyed by a flood many years ago, the only way to McMahon’s Mill is over 6 miles of relatively heavy-traveled windy paved roads. Trust me, it’s not fun.

Checking the bikes...

Dam 4

View from the dam

View from the dam

However, the most impressive sight at Dam 4 is the Potomac River. When the water is high, it’s a big, intimidating body of water plunging over a high wall. Very impressive! After taking in the sites, it was time to return to Snyders Landing. It turned out to be a great day, and we will certainly explore this section of the park sometime soon!

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