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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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GAP Trail Near Pittsburgh Reopened
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 12/06/2022 11:18 AM
The construction work in the Hays section of Pittsburgh to eliminate the ponding that occurs there has been completed and is now open.

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McKeesport
 - 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 11/17/2022 02:00 PM
Soon there will be no more crossing the tracks at McKeesport!

https://www.wesa.fm/development-transportation/2022-11-16/mckeesport-will-move-a-section-of-the-gap-trail-to-riverfront-expanding-scenic-views

A land donation allow the trail to extend and bend around the Mon and Yough rivers and connect to the GAP under the Jerome St. Bridge.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 11/17/2022 07:33 PM
Thanks to John W. for this RIDC and McKeesport announcement of that long-awaited improvement. This relocation will take the trail behind the DuraBond Plant along the river. The new route should provide some beautiful views overlooking the rivers.

We look forward to the timeline for this rerouting.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/29/2022 05:17 PM
OOOoooo, I like it. Although I did love the old industrial stuff and the old roundhouse in McKeesport, so I didn't dislike the old route. This will make the trail a little safer, and more scenic.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 12/01/2022 10:53 PM
I’m with you on that, Bill. I kind of like seeing the trains along the trail. There’s a whole a lot of nature all the way to DC so some trains and old industry mixed in is what makes this trail so special. That said, safety is important and keeping people off the streets and on the trail is a good decision.

Now train horns while camping at night, that’s another thing! :-)

John

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Amtrak bike drama
 - 
Ze from DC on 10/07/2022 11:15 PM
So i wanted to ride my bike from Pittsburgh down to Cumberland along the GAP, with the plan to take the train up to PA and bike down to Cumberland. After making my reservations (airbnb/hotels), I tried to book the train and "check in" my bike (I had done that between DC/Cumberland last year and paid $20)... except this time Amtrak website says all bike slots are SOLD OUT. I called them, they confirmed. I pleaded saying I had already made my plans, tough luck, customer service lady said driver/personnel would not let me on the train and I cannot store bike as there is no Bike/Luggage curbside service on this train. I tried to rebook my trip for later, but I am now looking at end of October, and everything says SOLD OUT for bikes on this Capitol "Limited" (name befitting).

What is Amtrak doing? I read that they are cutting on bike service in upstate NY/route to Canada. Is this is a new thing? This is one of the most popular bike routes and they are limiting it to 6 bikes per day (as the person on the line from Amtrak said).

Am I missing something? If Amtrak is making this difficult for bikers with their new changes, I think it may be time we let them hear from community.

 
NDT from Atlanta, GA on 10/09/2022 10:40 AM
We have just experienced the same thing. Our family of 4 just tried to book Amtrack for Cumberland to Pittsburg in May 2023, and there is only 1 bike slot left. So frustrating. I also welcome any suggestions or advice.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead PA on 10/10/2022 08:36 PM
We cyclists have long shared your frustration. I’ve never seen their reservation page show more than one available bike registration and their customer service is more of a disservice. I boarded last Friday in Pittsburgh and mine was the only bike in the baggage car!

 
Rscphoto from Savannah,GA on 10/15/2022 06:53 PM
Hey Rivnuts,
Good to meet you out there in the C&O and into Cumberland! I am in Pittsburgh now and hoping my impending return trip will be free of hassles. I am having to buy a box and check my bike, but that should be fine just so long as we both get home at close ti the same time. I am hoping checking the bike will speed my transfer in DC. The agent I spoke ti said it should check through. We shall see. Always uncertainty where Amtrak s involved. Fingers crossed.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/16/2022 10:43 AM
Robert:

Glad you made it into the 'Burgh safely. Hopefully, you got some comfort and rest (as well as a shower) in Cumberland. I presume you got a little wet Thursday as did I as I reached home that afternoon.

What did you end up doing last night once you arrived in Pittsburgh and before getting the train this morning? I'm sorry I wasn't available to host you here before departing.

It was a pleasure having someone to ride with for many miles along the C&O. It made the miles pass by more quickly and enjoyably.

Best wishes.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/21/2022 11:12 AM
For two people or more, a one-way minivan or van rental is probably cheaper than Amtrak, and gives you the flexibility of stopping for supplies and such. AND, no drama.

We have tried to make Amtrak work a few times, and they just aren't interested.


 
Chris George from Golden, Colorado on 10/21/2022 03:59 PM
Hey FWIW, I am arriving in Pittsburg Saturday night (October 22nd, 2022) at 11pm to start the GAP trail ride down to DC. Prolly be in Boston PA SUnday morning. Riding my green gravel bike. Looking forward to sharing some smiles along the miles!

 
Christopher Scanlon from Skokie on 11/19/2022 05:29 PM
I did the GAP/C&O in the spring of 2022. I took Amtrak from Chicago to Pittsburgh, I had a bike reservation on this leg but their was no special bike section of the baggage car. The Amtrak agents just escorted me to the baggage car and I loaded my bike, panniers and all attached. For the return ride home from DC to Chicago there were no bike reservations available on the train. I spoke to three different Amtrak agents over a month and was finally able to get one of them to explain that "no bike availability" meant no special bike slots in the baggage car but for $15, they would supply me with a bike box in DC and load my bike in the baggage car. I did this (only had to remove handlebars) and made the trip back to Chicago. The level of unfamiliarity with bike travel protocols by the phone agents contrasted with the good service provided at the stations. Its a shame Amtrak seems to be on a mission to discourage bike travel.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/19/2022 07:06 PM
I’ve made that trip 8 times on Amtrak with a “bike reservation” the privilege for which I paid $20 but only once was there a dedicated bike hanging rack in which to put my bike. All the other times, I had to take my bike to and lean my bike against the baggage car wall or on its floor. Further, on 3/4 this of those trips I had to change my desired schedule or direction just to get a bike reservation.

If I understand Mr. Scanlon’s post correctly I could have paid $5 less, travelled on any day and in either direction I preferred, been provided a box and not have to walk my bike onto and down the platform and up the elevator. Ah, but I forgot...I would have had to remove the 4 small bolts that connect my handlebars to the stem.

What was I thinking? ????

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/22/2022 10:29 AM
In fairness to Amtrak, their bike baggage policy is given as follows:

“Bicycles/bicycle trailers may be checked in a bicycle container for $10, in lieu of a piece of baggage. Bicycle boxes are sold at most staffed locations for $15 per box. Customers may supply their own bicycle container. The fee for checking a bike as baggage is $10.00.”

Under that policy, buying a bike box from them and then paying them to ship the box as baggage would total $25. It would seem Mr. Scanlon got a bargain but affirms that perhaps not all Amtrak agents understand or can convey their policy correctly to cyclists.

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Harpers Ferry to Purcellville
 - 
DL from Alexandria Va on 11/13/2022 01:49 PM
Planning a GAP trip for 2023! Pittsburgh to DC. As part of the route, would like to overnight in Harpers Ferry then head to Purcellville for a return to DC via the WO&D. Looking for suggestion for bike route out of Harpers Ferry to Purcellville with low traffic and with limited gravel roads. Similar to route out of Brunswick published by KirkR (great route - but want to visit Harpers Ferry and leave from there).
Thanks to all for the great info on this site!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/13/2022 04:43 PM
I’ve ridden self-supported from Harpers Ferry to the train station at the end of the W&OD in Purcellville a few years ago. I followed the bicycle route that Google Maps yields between these two locations which is:

Union St
Rte 340
Rte 671
Rte 9
Rte 611

(There aren’t a lot of options.)

Rte 340 was easily the the diciest, albeit the shortest route, of all with heavy, high-speed traffic and rubble in the shoulder. The others were country highways with less traffic and rolling hills.

Perhaps other forum contributors can offer some other options or feedback.

Although not directly related to your question and you likely already know, you’ll need to carry your bike up the stairs from the C&O Towpath to the railroad/pedestrian bridge to Harper’s Ferry.

 
DL from Alexandria Va on 11/13/2022 07:41 PM
Thanks for this info (and all of your contributions!). Definitely not planning to do steps twice which is why we hope to leave from Harpers Ferry side. Soooo…Hoping to find the safest, but not necessarily the fastest route to Purcellville. Seems that Louden County has lots of back roads that you can’t really check out on google maps. Plan to stay in-or close to Purcellville so have all day to do it. Hopefully others have considered this paved alternative to the lower C and O. Am particularly concerned about 340 out of Harpers Ferry….appreciate any additional feedback from folks who have ridden this way.

 
John J from Leesburg, VA on 11/18/2022 01:48 PM
What about 340 to Harper's Ferry Rd (671) to 9, to 690 Hillsboro Rd that goes into Purcellville?
Or if you can stay on 9 a bit longer then take a right onto Purcellville Rd, which is very low traffic/ some gravel, small road and goes right into P. Ville? We had no traffic at all when we used this road.

Or the standard, C&O to Brunswick and get on 287 Berlin Turnpike that goes all the way down to P. Ville with a short part on the W&OD headed West to get into P.Ville?

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New Sutersville Convenience Store Open
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/04/2022 04:37 PM
A new convenience store has opened near the Sutersville trailhead. An old gas station that had shutdown has been remodeled and, now, reopened. It offers drinks and snack food among other items.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/08/2022 05:38 PM
I remember standing at Yough Twister looking across at that gas station. Glad it's getting new life.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/08/2022 08:39 PM
The Yough Twister is being remodeled as well under a new owner (same as the convenience store) but is not complete or open as yet.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/10/2022 03:31 PM
The Yough Twister needs to live forever.

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Locks 53-56
 - 
Michael from Rockville, md on 10/31/2022 09:44 PM
I d tried driving from Rockville Maryland to lock 56. Somehow waze took my down a one lane steep road which was frightening. I turned around at approximately.7 tenths of a mile down an was so thrilled no one was coming from the other direction can someone suggest where I can drive an park at that isn’t so frightening so I can see locks 53-56. I don’t mind walking around five -6 miles round trip

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/04/2022 12:23 PM
Looks like there is a road next to the trail near lock 53. Seems like you could park on the side of the road. Similar spots may exist for the other locks.

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Pinkerton and Harnedsville Bridge Resurfacing - GAP Trail Closing
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/29/2022 07:55 PM
The GAP trail website has announced another imminent closure of a portion of the GAP Trail as described below

“Somerset County will deploy contractors to completely redeck the Pinkerton Low and High Bridges and the Harnedsville Bridge as soon as all required permits are submitted, beginning as early as November 1, 2022. This $2.4 million project will require closing the Great Allegheny Passage to all travelers between the parking areas at Markleton (mile marker 50) and Harnedsville (mile marker 59) for approximately two months, depending on the severity of winter weather.

This major rehabilitation project will include removing the entire wooden decking systems of all three bridges, including the aging railroad ties once installed by the Western Maryland Railway, since the decking and ties are nearing the end of their useful lives. Contractors will install new concrete slabs which will last generations. Currently, Somerset County is waiting for final permit approvals, which could arrive at any time, and then contractors will get started. We are hopeful that the project can be completed over the winter so that this nine-mile section can reopen as soon as possible in the spring of 2023.

Please note that this section of the GAP will be completely closed to all travelers. The project area will be extremely dangerous; there will be no deck system on these bridges, each of which traverse the Casselman River, and they will be completely impassable. Additionally, there will be a steady stream of construction vehicles and heavy equipment running on this section of the trail. There will be no posted detour; please enjoy other sections of the GAP.”

Note that the Mt. Savage Tunnel will be closing around early December as well although an exact date has not been announced to my knowledge.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 11/01/2022 06:51 PM
The GAP website now reports that the Mt. Savage tunnel will close for the winter on December 1.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/04/2022 12:16 PM
Ooooo, that's bad news regarding the Pinkerton bridges. Any kind of ridearound looks...intense.

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 - 
Anonymous on 10/31/2022 09:33 PM
I tried to drive to locks 41,42, an 43 an park at the construction site near the mill. I tried walking the path from the construction site but i hit a dead end. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can park an walk to these locks

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GAP Trail 5-Week Closure Starting 10/31
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/27/2022 08:25 PM
The GAP website and a handwritten sign along trail report the following scheduled trail closure:

"GAP to Close for Five-Week Construction Near Hays’ Eagle Viewing Area (GAP Mile 142) Fully Obstructed: The GAP will be closed 24/7 for five weeks starting October 31 for reconstruction. There is no detour."

The construction work is for sewer work to alleviate the ponding that occurs on the trail at that location after heavy rains. This is a long-awaited improvement that will increase safety especially in the winter when ice forms in that area.

Thanks to the Friends of the Riverfront who have made this improvement possible.

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Husky Haven Campground Closing
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/11/2022 07:16 PM
I rode in to Rockwood PA today to camp overnight at the Husky Haven Campground. The owner there informed me that they will not be hosting campers after this season. You can find notice of this published on the Husky Haven website and also on Facebook. Also note that the Rock City Café in Rockwood is closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It opens at 3:00 PM on Wednesday. Recall that it was previously posted that the so-called Opera House café in Rockwood is no longer open and is for sale.

 
Bike Roamer from SE VA on 10/12/2022 03:23 PM
Concur. Went through Rockwood two days ago and stayed at the Husky Haven. Talked to the owner who mentioned the same to me. Its a shame. its a great spot, minus the train noise.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/21/2022 11:25 AM
Sad to see business struggle on the GAP trail. Katy Trail seems to be adding businesses along its route.

We had a really great dinner at the Opera House, and had not heard about its closing. The owner of the place we stayed at in Rockwood indicated that she was giving it up as well. And I think the big place with the bike shop right on the trail was for sale, so I wonder what its current status is...

Seasonal businesses are rough. Best wishes to everyone trying to scratch out a living on the trail.

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Lodging Reservations
 - 
Anonymous on 08/25/2022 12:35 PM
We are planning do ride from Pittsburgh to DC the last week in September. We don't want to camp but stay at B&B, hotels etc. Is it necessary to reserve lodging or is it typically not an issue finding a bed for the night? Ideally we would like to be flexible in our schedule and not lock in all the accomodations upfront.

 
Anonymous on 08/25/2022 03:09 PM
Some places like Ohiopyle have very limited non-camping options that sell out well in advance and thus you could be out of luck in those locations.
In the larger towns it will likely come down to your willingness to have limited options and pay higher prices for short notice reservations.

I'm more of a planner and would rather know I have a place to lay my head.

Good luck!

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 08/25/2022 03:54 PM
I agree. In any given place where you want to stay, there might be 2 rooms or 8 rooms in a 10 mile radius. If someone is having a family reunion or the quilt festival is in town, you could be out of luck. We always reserve our room for every stop for our trip months ahead.

 
Elizabeth from Columbia SC on 10/16/2022 09:02 AM
My husband and I are planning to ride Pittsburg to DC in May 2023 and stay in B&B/hotels. Would love to know your itineraries. I am starting the planning now.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/16/2022 09:29 AM
How many days are you planning to make the trip? That will affect a suggested itinerary.

 
Elizabeth from Columbia SC on 10/16/2022 06:31 PM
We are planning on riding 6 to 7 days. We have also looked at possibly doing it in 5 or 6 days.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/17/2022 04:47 PM
Below is an itinerary for a 5-day (average 30miles/day) trip starting in Pittsburgh with each overnight town shown with the daily mileage to each indicated. Each of these overnight towns has BnB’s and/or hotels that cater to cycling tourists as well as restaurants albeit some have more and better restaurant choices than others.

West Newton 35
Connellsville 25
Confluence 28
Meyersdale 29
Cumberland 32

You can find options for overnight accommodations in each town using the Town Services tab on this Bikecando website as well as the Trail Guide book.


 
Elizabeth from Columbia SC on 10/17/2022 08:55 PM
Thank you. We are going from Pittsburgh to DC. I am not sure which parts might be more difficult and do less mileage on those days and which parts might be easier, and we can ride more. We are looking at 5-7 days riding and not sure what makes sense.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/17/2022 09:21 PM
With the prospective 5-day itinerary I noted, the last day to Cumberland is, by far, the easiest as the last 23.5 miles is noticeably downhill. The first day is the longest because there are very few places to stay after leaving Pittsburgh until you get to West Newton. However, nineteen of those miles leaving Pittsburgh are paved but there are some bridge overpasses and a couple of uphill grades along the way.

Noble Invention Bike Touring offers various GAP tours of different durations. You could contact them to simplify the planning and reservation process.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/17/2022 09:39 PM
Ignore my recent posts as I failed to read your post accurately. I see you are planning to ride all the way from Pittsburgh to DC not just to Cumberland.

A 6-day ride from Pittsburgh to DC might use the following itinerary:

Connellsville 60
Meyersdale 57
Paw Paw 60
Williamsport 57
Brunswick 45
DC 55

Under normal, dry conditions none of these segments are particularly more difficult than the others. If conditions are wet, the trail between Cumberland and Little Orleans can be quite muddy and soft and therefore more arduous.

 
Elizabeth from Columbia SC on 10/18/2022 06:51 PM
Thank you! I will take a look at that itenary.

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GAP (Pgh. To Cumberland)
 - 
TJM from Denver on 10/15/2022 10:15 PM
Wife and I (both 70) are riding the GAP Pgh. - Comberland August 2023. Anything to be aware of, thoughts on August weather, highlights of your trip, trail conditions, etc.? Any and all comments/ tips are welcomed and appreciated. Thank you in advance!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/16/2022 10:34 AM
My. Where to begin. Let's start with the weather. The average daily high temp in August is 83 with an average daily low temp of 64 with highs of 88 and lows to 58 providing a wider, but less probably band. You can expect some precipitation on 10 of the days in August with an average total monthly rainfall of less than 3 inches. Further, the humidity level is considered "muggy" on about 10 days during August.

With the exception of the first 19 miles out of Pittsburgh and a couple of miles approaching Cumberland the trail consists of fine, packed, crushed stone. The GAP trail will generally be smooth and solid except during or shortly after a heavy rain. Even then, while the trail may be soft, it has very few muddy spots.

The GAP is a rail-trail so changes in elevation are modest and smooth except for the bridge overpasses leaving Pittsburgh and a couple of short sections that deviate from the rail right-of-way. The uphill grade from Pittsburgh to the Eastern Continental Divide is almost imperceptible. The uphill grade is slightly more noticeable from Connelllsville to the Continental Divide but certainly not as dramatic as published profile illustrations would suggest. (Compared to Colorado, it's all flat!) That said, the ride down from the Continental Divide to Cumberland is a nice, long (23-mile) downhill ride making for an easy last day.

Lastly, as I've repeatedly suggested to new riders of the trail, take some time to learn some of its history and the region. There are numerous articles and YouTube videos of the trip. You'll appreciate and enjoy that which you will see if you understand what spawned the trail and what existed along the way.

If you have other specific questions, please post them.

 
TJM from Denver on 10/16/2022 06:11 PM
Rivnuts: “You da man”. I think you were a meteorologist in a past life. Grateful for current info and I will post any additional thoughts when they hit. Thank you.

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Red Lantern Bed & Breakfast in Meyersdale
 - 
Regina Hayman from Meyersdale on 10/16/2022 08:32 AM
Hello,
I am the Owner Operator of Red Lantern Bed B & Breakfast in Meyersdale PA. Thanks for including us on your sight. Do you need any more info or anything from us? Our website is redlanternbandbc.com and email is redlanternbandb@outlook.com. My phone #is 814-442-6881. Thanks a million!!

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GAP (Pgh. To Cumberland)
 - 
TJM from Denver on 10/15/2022 10:15 PM
Wife and I (both 70) are riding the GAP Pgh. - Comberland August 2023. Anything to be aware of, thoughts on August weather, highlights of your trip, trail conditions, etc.? Any and all comments/ tips are welcomed and appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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culvert 82 (mp 52.5)
 - 
jep from atlanta on 10/14/2022 09:25 PM
Heading to DC from Cumberland and have seen on the NPS site about problems at Culvert 82. There hasn't been any recent discussion on the forum about it. Is it still a problem? How did you address it? Thanks for your help.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/15/2022 06:13 AM
I went through there and across that “culvert” earlier this week. As in the past, it was not a problem crossing that “temporary” wooden foot bridge. The water level was low which is generally the case unless there has been extreme recent rainfall. Note however that the short approaches down to that foot bridge on either side are somewhat steep. Those with heavily laden bikes or bikes with trailers may want or need to walk/push their bikes to and across the foot bridge.

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