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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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New GAP Trail Alert
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 08/13/2022 08:18 PM
The GAP website posted a new trail alert today as stated below:

"Contractor Vehicles on GAP Near Frostburg (GAP Mile 14) Partially Obstructed: Be aware of contractors working near the GAP between Helmstetter's Curve and Frostburg."

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Places to Eat and Drink Along the C&O Towpath
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 08/06/2022 10:26 AM
Below is a link to an article that highlights various eateries in the various Maryland towns along the C&O Towpath. There are more on the other side of the Potomac River which are accessible but not described in this article. I’ve eaten in a number of these but look forward to checking out some of the others mentioned….especially the ice cream shops!

https://marylandroadtrips.com/hungry-on-the-trail-heres-where-to-eat-and-drink-along-the-co-canal/


 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 08/06/2022 04:30 PM
I’ve eaten at The Crabby Pig, Buddy Lou’s, Beans in the Belfry, and the Whites Ferry Grill. So many more to try!

That Fractured Banana ice cream place will be on my radar for sure!

John

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Williamsport Visitor Center in Williamsport
 - 
Duck from Cumberland MD on 08/02/2022 08:58 AM
Is overnight parking allowed @ Visitor Center or anywhere close to the Canal? this is a pick up point for an trip from DC - Thanks in advance

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 08/02/2022 09:59 AM
You might find the parking lot at Lock 44 at Williamsport is even more useful in that the easiest way to get a bike across the canal from the trail.

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Donges Drive In & Motel in Meyersdale
 - 
LM from Washington DC on 07/19/2022 08:29 AM
An adored favorite of mine. Lovely people. Get “John’s Breakfast”, a massive pile of delicious calories (with real maple syrup!) that will dramatically increase your chances of biking all the way back up the steep hill to the trail.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/19/2022 06:01 PM
You can't go wrong having breakfast at the GI Day Room Coffee Shop on Main Street either although you'll still have to ride back up the hill to get back to the GAP Trail.

 
Anonymous from John W. on 07/20/2022 09:35 PM
And Donges has super cheap ice cream cones, shakes, and sundaes. No cyclist can resist. ;/)

 
Terry from Baltimore on 08/01/2022 01:19 PM
A shout out to Donges as a Motel also. My traveling partner felt it looked a little "sketchy" at first, but nothing else was available that day. In the end we both felt it was just fine. Above all, it was clean. The people were nice. And a great value. If you do not want their style of food, there are several places within walking distance. I would definitely recommend it.

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Lock 70 Schoolhouse Inn in Oldtown
 - 
lynn from arlington va on 07/30/2022 06:06 PM
is the Lock 70 schoolhouse Inn located before or After the Paw Paw Bypass?

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/30/2022 06:11 PM
If you’re going Cumberland to DC it’s before and DC to Cumberland its after.

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 - 
Vicki Andress and Howard Andress from Milford on 07/29/2022 03:04 PM
We are looking for a bike-friendly hotel somewhere near Bethesda that we can get to on our bikes.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/29/2022 03:47 PM
Bethesda, or at least parts of it, is on the Capital Crescent Trail which connects to the C&O.

I would just turn the Biking tool on on Google Maps and look for hotels near the Capital Crescent Trail. I would call and ask if they will allow your bikes in to your room or if they can store your bike.

John

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GAP Maintenance Article
 - 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 07/20/2022 03:36 PM
Interesting article from the Pittsburgh Trib about the volunteers that keep local trails in top-top shape, including the GAP.

If you’re looking to get involved or donate some volunteer hours somewhere, you’ll get no better satisfaction than giving back to your local trail. Whether it be clearing low hanging branches, mowing grass, cutting trees, painting benches/picnic tables, weed wacking, filling in washed out gravel, removing fallen trees, etc., these organizations would love to have you. And as the article states, some of the volunteers are getting on in age and need younger people to take over.

https://triblive.com/local/regional/stepping-up-volunteers-donate-thousands-of-hours-of-time-maintaining-the-regions-myriad-hiking-biking-trails/

John

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/28/2022 12:46 PM
The part of the article that really surprised me (could be the same for any local trail really) is just how few people keep it all together:

“Despite having more than 8,000 registered council members, Thompson said she estimates 80 people volunteer regularly.”

I was surprised to see that number so low. Just 1% of trail members are keeping it in riding shape.

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Ridng the C&O August 20-25
 - 
Florida Nerdy from Fort Lauderdale on 07/27/2022 09:21 PM
Hi All,
I am solo traveling the C&O from Cumberland to DC. Will anyone be in the area or riding around the same time?


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Rental E Bikes from Cumberland to D.C.
 - 
Zachary from Silver Spring, MD on 07/26/2022 04:31 PM
Hi all,

I last did the trail in 2013. My wife and I are looking to rent e-bikes in Washington D.C, take the train up to Cumberland, and ride the bikes back down. Is anyone aware of services that do that?

Thanks,

 
Aunika Johnson from Fort Lauderdale on 07/27/2022 08:53 PM
You need to make sure Not to get Fat tire bikes. They the trains are not set up for that. I am coming from Florida with my bike which as 4 inch fat tires. I wound up putting my bike in the rack and bringing my car up to DC in order to use the train.
They are not up to speed on transporting electric bikes via train. Best bet call Amtrak when you have the specification of your rentals.

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Maple Festival Park Campground in Meyersdale
 - 
Greyhound from KENTWOOD on 07/18/2022 02:30 PM
I'm looking to bike the GAP this Oct. What is this CG like? Do you recommend it? Is it clean? Safe/

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/20/2022 02:31 PM
Great place for camping. If you arrive early enough, you can claim half of the covered band shell. I saw and used power outlets all along the side of the grass. Showers. Walking distance to restaurants. Can’t ask for a better location.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/20/2022 04:54 PM
GC ???

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/20/2022 07:29 PM
Ignore my earlier question. The title of the message is clear. I agree with John W. The Maple Festival Park Campground in Meyersdale is one of my favorite camping spots for all the reasons John W cites plus there are picnic tables under that theater shell as well as electrical receptacles. There are stores to obtain necessary items there also.

The only drawback is the trek back up the hill to the GAP trail from the campground but it is rideable with appropriate gearing and fitness.

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new hostel-type lodging in Harpers Ferry - close to Potomac River
 - 
Laurel D from Harpers Ferry on 07/19/2022 10:59 AM
The Cherry Tree Lodging is 1/2 mile from crossing the bridge into Harpers Ferry from the C&O. The address is 630 Washington St. See cherrytreelodging.com.

One bedroom is offered at $100 plus tax. It contains 3 twin beds. All linens are provided. Downstairs from the bedroom is the bathroom with shower, laundry room and kitchen. Locked shed for your bike. You can also rent by the bed - $40 plus tax - in a shared room.

No drop-ins please. Please book using the website or else call Laurel at 304-702-7004.

I have submitted this business through the bikecando.com website but it has not been posted yet.

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Adele’s TexMex in Brunswick
 - 
LM from Washington DC on 07/19/2022 08:56 AM
Very affordable, delicious TexMex/Salvadoran food, perfect for a biker's gargantuan appetite, even if you have to go up a big hill to get there. Because of that hill, I recommend going the long way around, up Burkittsville Road and right on Souder Road. Retuning to the canal, take the plunge down Gum Spring Road and find out why I recommend avoiding it as an uphill. While you’re up there, the municipal pool is nearby and you might be able to get a shower.

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King’s Pizza in Brunswick
 - 
LM from Washington DC on 07/17/2022 10:43 AM
Never again. They told me they were busy, and my food would take 25 minutes. No problem, fair enough, thanks for letting me know, I said. Well, it turned out to be an hour and a half. They were unashamed and unapologetic, about this. Worst of all, when I asked for a glass of water they wanted to charge me 75 cents for it! Which is just plain unethical. And the food was rather lousy when it finally showed up. Please do not annoy the people who run this place by patronizing their restaurant, they clearly hate life in all its particulars.

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Hazardous Trail Surface Downstream of Dam 4
 - 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 07/16/2022 06:10 PM
I rode the trail from Pittsburgh to DC in June and would say that the trail surface for about 1.5 miles downstream of Dam 4 (between MP83 and MP 84.5) is downright dangerous. It appears that some resurfacing was attempted and was a complete failure. This area was always a bit soft, with the trail being sandy. Now, though, there is the new resurfacing material on top, but something has caused there to be a large washboard effect. I have ridden washboard roads, and this is similar to that, only the distance between the peaks and troughs is maybe 10 times larger, so the bumps are very rough. And this was difficult to see with the new surface and the shaded surroundings, so you would hit these sections with little to no warning. The old surface, while bad in places, was at least easier to visually determine the surface quality.

Also, further downstream in other sections of resurfaced trail, patches where there was erosion were done with a fill material that was much coarser than the original resurfacing material, but the same color composition. So again, you would come upon these sections of very rough trail with very little time to react to the changing conditions.

If the NPS could at least provide some signage both for the long section around MP84 and the short patch areas, that would go a long way to mitigating the hazard that these rough surfaces present.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/16/2022 06:32 PM
Andrew: Thanks for the warning of that area.

I would go on the C&O’s web site and email them about this. I’m not sure if they peruse these forums or not. I have alerted the C&O in the past and have gotten responses from them, usually within 48 hours.

John

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 07/16/2022 09:38 PM
Hi John,

Thanks for the suggestion. I did send them a message right after posting here. Hopefully I will hear back soon. I was pretty upset with the Park Service that day, but it took a few days to get home after that, and then life happened, and I forgot to contact them until now.

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Paw Paw Tunnel Detour
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/31/2022 01:01 PM
There has been much discussion and description of the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass detour path up and over the tunnel. One difference I found last week compared to last fall is that the downriver side of the bypass route is much more rough and rutted. Last fall I was able to ride down the last 3/4 of that descent. There is currently construction being performed at the summit of the detour and their vehicles, including crawler track equipment, has traveled up and down that downriver side. This has made deep, rough ruts and tracks along the way. With wet weather, that surface is even rougher at this time. Also there is a wooden "bridge" near the bottom made of planking with gaps between the planks into which your tires could fall causing a crash if you try to ride across it. So beware. For info, it took me about 50 minutes to push my loaded bike up and over the detour this year...admittedly with frequent stops to recover. The bypass is not for the faint of heart. I did however encounter a young person on a geared down mountain bike that had ridden up the majority of the upriver side of the bypass.

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/01/2022 11:42 AM
Do you think the road detour up to the top coming from the upriver side is doable, either taking Oldtown Rd. to Malcolm Rd. or leaving the trail a mile upriver of Oldtown Rd. to reach Sulphur Springs Rd.? Is that how the person you encountered got to the top, or did they take the actual bypass up?

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 06/01/2022 04:03 PM
The road detour to the top is possible but you’d still have to come back down to the trail on the dirt detour.

You can’t connect to the C&O at Sulphur Springs Rd as there is swampland/farmland between the Trail and the road. I’m not saying it has never been done but it doesn’t look possible.

You could get off the trail at Rt. 51 (Oldtown Rd. SE) and go to Malcolm Rd, turn right on Oldtown Orleans Rd. and stay on that all the way to Little Orleans, MD and skip the entire detour. I’ve not done this before so I can’t comment but Google maps says it’s 13 miles. I would bet this route is super Appalachian style hilly so pick your poison. There no flat way around Paw Paw Tunnel. This is also a very remote stretch.

You may want to look at RideWithGPS or Strava heat maps and see if anyone else has tried this route.

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/01/2022 05:44 PM
For getting to Sulfur Springs Rd, this cut through (https://goo.gl/maps/MnXjE47brbYWASFAA) doesn't connect over? There are some houses back there in the satellite view, so it looks like a viable access point.

My goal would be to bike up and then walk the bikes down. Easier to go downhill on foot than push the bike up.

The road route mapped on google would look interesting if I was on my own, but I will be riding with my kids, and they won't want to climb almost as much in 6 miles leaving Paw Paw as we would climb in going from Pittsburgh to the continental divide. :)

 
Ross from Indiana on 06/01/2022 06:17 PM
Thanks for the update. We'll be through there next week.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 06/01/2022 07:40 PM
Ross:

The rider I encountered on the bypass was riding up the upriver side of the detour path. He was a young (30 something) rider on a geared down mountain bike and was within maybe 150 yards of the top when he finally stopped. His two travelling mates were pushing their bikes up the ascent as I was pushing mine down. (In full disclosure, I ride lots of road miles but I am 71 years old. So take my opinions for what they are worth in that context.)

If you are in good shape and not riding a heavily laden bike, you should be able to get up and over the summit, albeit pushing your bike much or all of the way up and down, without expending greater energy than trying to ride Oldtown Road and others to get to the top. And, as John W. notes, you still have to get down the descent.

Reading your most recent post about your kids riding with you, that casts another light on the question depending on their ages and condition.

You may want to consider a shuttle around the Tunnel Bypass. Earlier posts provide info, cost and contact info about that service.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 06/02/2022 09:05 AM
Andrew, do you have the lat/long of that cut through you sent? It looks good, two paths intersecting, but when I do street view at the trail & Sulpher Springs Rd, it doesn’t show that, it’s just a field.

If that is Sulphur Springs Rd and it does indeed cut through then go for it!

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/02/2022 11:09 AM
John,

This is the google maps link with the lat/lon:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/39%C2%B031'54.8%22N+78%C2%B027'56.3%22W
(39°31'54.8"N 78°27'56.3"W) or (39.531889, -78.465639)
This appears to be the access road to the field between the trail and the river. Streetview shows a mobile home on the field side with "No Trespassing" signs, but the other side does not have any posted signs. I looked at the Strava heat map, and it does show some people leaving the trail there, and then taking roads up to the top of the detour and then the rest of the detour down to the trail on the downriver side.

Rivnuts, this will be our 5th summer in a row riding to DC from Pittsburgh. Every year there has been the threat of the tunnel being closed, but this is finally the year that it looks like they are following through. My kids are older teens now and certainly capable, but they like to complain so if we can ride up rather than push, that will likely lead to fewer complaints. Walking down should be less of an issue.

 
Ross from Indiana on 06/02/2022 11:11 AM
Rivnuts:

Thanks. We are traveling light and always up for adventure. Sounds like we'll be ok. That must be someone else with the kids. We are leaving ours home.


 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 06/02/2022 12:45 PM
Andrew: Thanks for those coordinates, now I see where you are talking about. Certainly looks like you can connect to the main roads from this dirt path.

If you complete it, give us a recap of the detour. It might give others something to consider until the Paw Paw detour is no more. I’m curious if it has a lot of elevation gain or not.

Also, go to OpenStreetMap (dot org) and zoom to the coordinate and they have a different street basemap which contains the road you saw in the street view.

John

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/02/2022 01:38 PM
Teens with unloaded bikes should be able to get up and over the bypass but it’s not clear how much they may be able to ride. Let us know how you all fare

 
McBoom from Springfield on 06/02/2022 03:19 PM
Does anyone know if the "late summer" reopening of the trail down river of the Paw Paw Tunnel is still on schedule?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/02/2022 03:31 PM
From the NPS C&O Canal website regarding the closure between MP 88 and 89.

“The project began in August 2021 and is anticipated to continue through winter 2022/23, weather dependent.”

 
McBoom from Springfield on 06/02/2022 03:35 PM
Well darn.

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/02/2022 03:49 PM
Teens with unloaded bikes? I'm not a packmule. While I carry the tent and food, they have to haul their clothes and sleeping bags, etc. The younger of the two has done this since they were 12. :)

I will give a report after our trip. We are planning on leaving Pittsburgh June 17th. Although if we end up in the middle of a week of rain the trip will likely be called for weather.

 
Jeff Mandel from Media, PA on 06/02/2022 06:42 PM
It was supposed to rain today, so I arranged for the shuttle with Dan. It began to rain as we put the bike on the car. He charges the same to go to Little Orleans or Hancock, so I had him drop me off in front of C&O Bike Shop just before the rain got to Hancock. I walked around town, had an early dinner, got back to the Chicken Coop just as a couple who had passed me at Lock 70 rode by. Dan is a really nice guy, full of information, and we swapped stories the entire drive. I don’t think dragging my bike and 35# of gear over the detour is a life experience of which I’ve been deprived.

 
Ross from Indiana on 06/09/2022 09:32 PM
We rode from Meyersdale to Hanjcock today. The tunnel bypass was well marked and in good condition. We stopped several times to catch our breath pushing the bikes up and were able to ride the entire length down. The top 1/4 is very very steep. We went very slow but it was better than walking. The makeshift bridges do have gaps to watch out for. It looked like they had graded the ruts out.

Thanks to everyone for the heads up.

I really would not want to take this heading to Cumberland. I think you'd be walking most of it.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/09/2022 10:34 PM
Ross:

Thanks for that update. For info, are you riding self supported with a loaded bike? What you describe is what I have typically found the bypass to be like in previous trips when dry and without any construction at the top. As you note, the downriver descent can be ridden carefully after that early steep portion so long as it is not muddy and rutted. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

PS: My recent trip was headed toward Cumberland, so I barely rode any of the detour. Had to.push virtually the entire detour with my loaded bike.

Rivnuts (and native Hoosier)

 
Ross from Indiana on 06/10/2022 06:18 AM
Rivnuts:

Yes, we are riding unsupported but we are staying in hotels and are just carrying changes of clothes.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/10/2022 06:58 AM

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 07/16/2022 05:56 PM
Sorry for the delay in reporting back on my experience dealing with the Paw Paw Tunnel detour. To recap, we were traveling from Pittsburgh to DC, self-supported, myself and my 16 year old child. We were riding the trail for the 5th summer in a row, so are now experienced at this. Every year it seemed they were threatening a tunnel detour, but this is the first year that it actually happened. We were on this section on Monday June 20th around 1:30PM.

I did not want to push my bike up, because it is heavy, I expected it to be hot, and, well, because a bike is meant to be ridden and not pushed. So I looked for alternatives. Heading downriver, if you exit the trail about 1 mile before Route 51, at the cross-over where the truck that services the port-a-potty enters (I know because that truck entered the trail right before we got there), you can get to Sulphur Springs Rd. We rode that up to Route 51, went east on Route 51 for a couple of hundred yards, the turned left on Malcolm Rd. We rode up Malcolm Rd. to Tunnel Hill Rd. Tunnel Hill Rd. is a gravel road up to the top of the mountain above the tunnel. We then rode down the detour on the downstream side, which is doable because they widened the trail, I presume for construction equipment. This route shows up faintly on Strava, and I saw one recreational rider going down while we were heading up and then was just behind us when we reached the top.

This is a viable alternative, although the road is quite steep at times. I managed to ride the whole way, while my 16 year old walked a bit 3 different times. Once right after leaving the trail, once approaching Route 51, and a last time on a section of Tunnel Hill Rd. It took us 35 minutes total, starting at Route 51 to backtrack the mile back to the crossover since we had lunch in Paw Paw, to get to the top of the detour, and then about 5 minutes to ride down. We both have 2" wide 650B tires, as that might affect one's willingness to ride down the detour.

I would also not hesitate to leave the detour at the top if headed upstream and ride down the opposite direction of what I described. The section on Route 51 is pretty short, and it is basically all downhill so no walking would be required. Just make sure to turn right when you leave the detour. I did not travel that section, though, so I can't comment on how rough it would be riding down that side.

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