C&O Canal / Discover The Potomac / Fall Colors Trips Info Packet

This packet of information is provided to help keep you organized and ensure that you are fully prepared for your lessons. Please review all of this information carefully at least one week prior to your lesson. Chat or message us if you have any questions not answered. We look forward to paddling with you!


This packet contains the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

  1. IMPORTANT: Have all of your participants created an account, pre-completed our electronic risk form, and have they been scheduled along with you? Please make sure! Only those individuals whose names appear on our schedule will be able to participate in any event. Your purchase is not a reservation. Please chat or message us if you need assistance with our online process.
  2. You have up to two years from your first trip to complete any membership package.
  3. Please schedule or re-schedule your events online using your scheduling login - and check your wait list status regularly - wait listing for an event is a commitment on your part to attend. We recommend checking on Monday and Thursday before weekend events. You WILL NOT be notified when you are automatically moved off the wait list, so be sure to check using your scheduling login. The roster generally solidifies the week of the event and we make final adjustments to capacity at that time. Adjustments made on a Friday that result in your being added are accompanied by a manual text and phone call from us. Please respond promptly. Remove yourself from the wait list if you can no longer attend. CLICK HERE FOR YOUR SCHEDULE PAGE.
  4. You have up until 72 hours before start time to reschedule (please do so online). Guests who do not reschedule in time or don’t show up forfeit their trip. No exceptions are made to this policy and we do not offer refunds.
  5. Please do not wait until the last minute to prepare for your trip.
  6. Please arrive and be prepared fifteen minutes prior to your trip start time. (Late arrivals will not be admitted.)
  7. Personal floatation, paddle, and kayak are provided at no charge.
  8. Although our beginner trips do not include intentional capsizing, you could accidentally end up in the water. Therefore, in the spring and fall we require that all participants wear synthetic clothing that dries quickly. Patagonia Capilene is great for such a situation and it can be worn under basic nylon pants and jackets. Long pants are a good idea on many beginner trips. Visit our retail store for assistance with purchasing the right clothing for kayaking.
  9. On some trips, you will have to help carry your kayak on two short portages.
  10. Store your car key in a “Hide-a-Key” box or similar somewhere on your vehicle.
  11. You may repeat any trip at a discounted rate. Message or chat with us for more info.
  12. All trips meet rain or shine. A decision to postpone due to lightning or other dangerous conditions is made on-site at the last possible minute. (Mother Nature often cooperates if we wait and see.)
  13. For your safety and enjoyment, we request that you keep your personal information up-to-date on your schedule page using the link at the top right that says "Personal info"

List of Things to Bring

The following list of things to bring is for your comfort, safety, and enjoyment of your on-water experience with us. ALL ITEMS ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

  • Event "tickets": electronic proof of purchase (use email), electronic proof of completion of Risk Form by ALL participants (use email), electronic proof ALL participants names appear as "scheduled" for the event date and time (use scheduling login)
  • Appropriate apparel that is warm if wet and dries fast, such as fleece and wicking garments, rain jacket and pants or poncho
  • One liter of water
  • Waterproof snack
  • Allergy medication (required for all severe reactions such as bee stings, peanuts, asthma, etc.)
  • Shoes that can get wet and have excellent traction.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Hide A Key and or small dry bag - Please stash your own key and belongings on your car or person during events.
  • Insect repellant (Optional)
  • Binoculars (Optional)
  • Waterproof bird guide (Optional)
  • Eyeglass strap (so you don’t loose your expensive prescription lenses)
  • Towel and change of clothes (In case you capsize.)
  • Tips for guide (Suggested)
  • Directions to Lesson Location

    The C&O Canal, Discover the Potomac, and Fall Colors trips are held at the Pennyfield Lock area of the C&O Canal National Historical Park off River Road in Potomac, Maryland. For alternate routes, or from points north or west, google 12100-12351 Pennyfield Lock Rd., Potomac, MD 20854.

    From the Capital Beltway (I-495), take River Road (exit 39) west towards Potomac.
    Continue west on River Road approximately 8.9 miles and make a left turn onto Pennyfield Lock Rd. (The sign for Pennyfield Lock Road is on your right and you will see a sign on the left that says “Historic Tobytown”)

    Drive to the end of Pennyfield Lock Road to a stop sign and park in the parking area immediately in front of you adjacent to the C&O Canal. You should see our trailer and guides.

    PLEASE have all your clothing and supplies ready to go fifteen minutes prior to start time so that we can start promptly.

    Restrooms: If you make a left at the stop sign and continue to the end of the access road you should find the Port-o-Johns near the Pennyfield House. After you use them, please return to the parking area near the stop sign.