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Civil War Century

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By nslamartin - Posted on 13 March 2016


On September 10, 2016 the Baltimore Bicycling Club will hold the Civil War Century in Thurmont, Maryland. This 15th Annual Cycling Event has grown and grown over the years. In 2007 there were so many riders that registration since 2008 is limited to 1600 riders. In June 2012, Bicycling Magazine featured the Civil War Century in it's Fun 100s (View the Article). So, if you want to participate register early. All registrations must be completed by adults 18 or older. All children under 18 must be accompanied at the event by a responsible adult. This is the event that has everything -- famous historical sites, low traffic roads, breathtaking scenery, and plenty of climbing along well marked routes. The Civil War Century is an event with five different routes that are designed for different ability levels and are described below. The 25 mile Covered Bridge Quarter Century for beginners and those that don't ride long and hilly rides up to the 100+ mile Civil War Century which is intended for experienced, well trained cyclists that have done at least a couple of centuries already. Also, see the "Event Support" page for more details about the event. For the history buff, you can visit Crampton's Gap, South Mountain, Antietam and/or Gettysburg battlefield sites. You'll see all four if you elect to ride the full century.

A Ride for Everyone -- We offer five rides ranging from long and mountainous to short and rolling. All routes are well marked, cue sheets are provided and maps are available at the rest stops. Which ever route you choose, you will be cycling through some of the most beautiful countryside east of the Mississippi. To insure our ability to continue hosting this event, you MUST also commit to riding responsibly and obeying all traffic laws. There has been increased scrutiny of our event in recent years by local authorities. NOTE: Check-in for registered riders begins at 7:00 AM for the longer distance riders and continues through 10:30 AM for riders on the shorter routes.

Civil War Century (102 miles) -- Our most popular but very challenging route visits all three Civil War battlefields offering breathtaking mountain vistas along the way. This hilly ride has about 7,546 feet of climbing with four mountain climbs and lots of up and down in between. This is a difficult ride. You must commit to training for this event. It should not be your first century. But, if you do get tired, you can bail out at 65 miles, skipping Gettysburg (and the last mountain climb) in favor of a scenic nine-mile descent back to the start/finish. (View Civil War Century Map See instructions below)

Gettysburg Three-quarter Century (75 miles) -- This route is for those who want a more challenging ride to Gettysburg, but who don't want to tackle the full century. With about 4,756 feet of climbing, you'll scale three mountains en route to the battlefield. If you get tired, don't worry -- you can avoid the last big climb and bail out at the 37 miles, cruising nine miles mostly downhill back to the start/finish. (View Gettysburg Three-quarter Century MapSee instructions below)

Gettysburg Metric Century (64 miles) -- On this ride you get to look at the mountains, not climb them, as you meander along pleasant country roads through the lush rolling farmland of the Monocacy and Carroll Valleys to Gettysburg and back. As a bonus, you'll cross 4 covered bridges on this route while doing 3,796 feet of climbing. (View Gettysburg Metric Century Map See instructions below)

Gettysburg Half Century (51 miles) -- This ride takes a rolling route to Gettysburg, but there are some hills after leaving Emmitsburg. You'll be riding along most of the same pleasant country roads as the Metric Century while doing 3,021 feet of climbing and crossing two covered bridges. (View Gettysburg Half Century Map See instructions below)

Covered Bridge Quarter Century (25 miles) -- On this rolling ride of 1,443 feet of climbing you won't visit any battlefields, but you will get to cross three covered bridges that were used repeatedly by the troops of both sides in the Civil War. (View Quarter Century Map See instructions below)

Want to practice? -- Try this ride that includes two of the Civil War Century climbs in only 27.2 miles. Ride starts at the Orchard Village Shopping Center in Thurmont. Look for the Wendy's sign. Here is theCWC Practice Loop Cue Sheet. Good Luck!

Map viewing instructions -- Click the "View....Map" link above for the map you want to see. The link will take you to the map on You can zoom in and out to see the route by clicking the + or – buttons on the left. You can view the distances in kilometers or miles by clicking the “km” or “mi” buttons on the right. The “Elevation Profile” is below the map to see where the climbs are. The “Cue Sheet” is below the “Elevation Profile”. However, the maps were put in so that you will not get “true” cue sheets. You will just see the distances to the Rest Stops. We will give you the cue sheets at the Baltimore Bicycling Club's Civil War Century. Remember, these maps are for the basic routes. Each year routes have to be changed due to closed roads and/or desired changes.