Enjoying the Outdoors: Pedal vs. Paddle

Posted in: Outdoor Adventure


Looking to beat the heat? The real question is whether you pedal or paddle your way through beautiful scenery. Frederick is the ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts.

Pedal It

The Frederick History Bicycle Loop takes riders through the streets, alleys and paths of historic Downtown Frederick.  Founded in 1745, Frederick has been witness to many events of national significance.  The 10-mile loop guides the rider through 21 sites in Frederick’s 50-block historic district and through the city’s famous Clustered Spires.  Featuring the final resting place of Francis Scott Key, the Barbara Fritchie House, and many other historic structures and sites, the tour is as educational as it is scenic.  Best of all, when you’re finished you can grab a bite or a pint at one of Frederick’s many restaurants or cafes.  The “Frederick History Bicycle Loop” brochure is available at the Frederick Visitor Center.

Other Cycling Sites

  • C&O Canal- Ride parallel to the Potomac River and explore the flat towpath along Frederick County’s portion of the C&O Canal.
  • Gambrill State Park - Gambrill State Park, located west of Frederick, provides miles of trails, including mountain biking, with stunning overlooks of the surrounding area.
  • Covered Bridges – In northern Frederick County, drive along scenic rural roads to explore Frederick’s three fully operational covered bridges by bike.


Paddle It

The Monocacy River, part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, is perfect for a leisurely afternoon paddle.   If you have your own canoe or kayak, you can make a go of it on your own.  But for an easy ride with transportation and logistics provided, River and Trail Outfitters offers a unique Boat & Brew tour on select dates through the year.  Participants can kayak or canoe the scenic Monocacy River while also enjoying a local brewery tour, tasting, and appetizers afterwards.  Tours during the fall also offer an added bonus: a front-seat to the dazzling autumn colors.    

Other Paddling Opportunities

  • The Potomac River River and Trail Outfitters offers opportunities to float, kayak, canoe, white water raft, or tube the Potomac River and other area waterways. 
  • The Monocacy River - Frederick Family Float offers tubing for the family down the scenic Monocacy River.
  • Cunningham Falls Lake, Cunningham Falls State Park – There is a boat ramp located on Catoctin Hollow Road. Canoes can also be carried down to the lake from parking lots in the William Houck Area.

Whether you choose to pedal, paddle or even hike the area, there are abundant of opportunities for experiencing the great outdoors in Frederick County.