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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

Buena Vista PA on the Great Allegheny Passage

Mile marker 121
Elevation: 787

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C&O Canal Trail
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Western Maryland Rail Trail
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Buena Vista

Dravo Landing Campsite
Buena Vista
John Butler House
412-751-6670, Elizabeth
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207 Industry Rd, Buena Vista

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Forum Discussions about Buena Vista

Buena Vista
lillian burd from califon on 04/24/2015 06:48 AM:

Paul A on 04/24/2015 06:41 PM:
Let me suggest you go from start to finish.
There is no right direction but if I were going to ride the GAP and C+O I'd start in Pittsburg to DC. The up-hill is much more gentle that way.

Naismith from Florida on 04/29/2015 10:17 PM:
While the uphill is more gentle that way, it is real, and noticeable to those of us from Flatlands.

We purposely rode from DC to Pittsburgh, taking the train from Cumberland to Frostburg (the steepest climb).

But as many have said, there is no "right" direction.

Suzzz on 05/12/2015 12:28 PM:
I'm also trying to figure out the best direction. Planning on doing 4 day GAP thru trip in September. I think I want to head from Cumberland to Pittsburg because I prefer one day of climb and 3 days of downhill! But almost everyone goes the other way, if just doing the GAP, and I read somewhere the tailwinds coming from west to east are significant enough to enter into the "direction decision". Has anybody experienced the tailwinds?

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/12/2015 04:14 PM:
I agree with Cumberland to Pittsburgh! Yeah, it's 24 miles going uphill to the Continental Divide right out of the gates at Cumberland but then you get the reward of 126 miles of going slightly downhill all the way to Pittsburgh. You're not going to coast of course but you won't be fighting gravity either even if it's just a subtle grade. It's a nice leisurely cruise without all of the effort if you went the opposite direction. When I did Pittsburgh to Cumberland I couldn't believe how fast those 24 downhill miles went! Mind you none of these grades are steep in any real sense but still...there's nothing like a gentle downhill to make for an enjoyable ride.

Robert M. from Chippewa Twp on 05/22/2015 11:35 AM:
i am going to do Cumberland to Pitt, then to DC in June, and that 24 mile uphill start is starting to get me nervous ...

Susan from Orlando on 05/29/2015 01:09 PM:
There is a train you can take from Cumberland to Frostburg from what I understand.

Please check back in after your trip and let us know how the slope really is!

BU from Jessup, PA on 06/04/2015 06:10 AM:
Last July we rode cumberland to Pittsburgh. Two riders were novice - 1 just bought 1st bike the day before trip (30 yr old and fit). It was hot and The climb was tough but we all made it to Husky Haven campground. We anticipated easy riding the rest of the way down to Pittsburgh. It was easier than first day, but we did have a bit of a head wind most of the way.

Anonymous on 06/10/2015 08:10 AM:
I've heard the head wind is the reason many people choose to go the other direction, from PB to Cumberland. After having experienced it, do you think it is an important consideration?

JJB from Fairmont, WV on 06/25/2015 01:48 PM:
We have done this ride a number of times, through-rides and shorter trips. On the through-rides we go DC to Pitt. Here is how we look at the Cumberland portion. From DC to Cumberland, it is basically flat. This makes that portion of the ride null. No real advantage in either direction. We make a short day and ride Cumberland to Meyersdale. Yes, a bit of a climb but then you have the rest of the trip going downhill. Another big factor for us is getting the worst part of the trail, (condition wise), done first. The GAP is a joy to ride on after slogging through the muddy C&O. To be honest, our hometown location also comes into play. When we have finished, it is around a two hour drive back home.

I honestly don't remember the wind ever being a problem for us. Rain and storms have always been our nemesis.

Mr Purple Paul from Allentown, PA on 07/07/2015 02:21 PM:
I did Connellsville to Cumberland (south) in 2012 and never had any issues with hills or wind .. yes there was some of each but not enough to matter... the downhill stretch from Frostburg to Cumberland went fast... which was nice... this year I'm going north from Cumberland to Pittsburgh so we'll see if the wind and early climb are an issue ... my thinking was that on my last day I'll likely want to take more stops and there are more towns closer together on the northern end of the GAP...

Susan from Orlando on 07/08/2015 01:32 PM:
Purple Paul - Looking forward to hearing how the Cumberland to PB direction works for you. When is your trip? I'm planning on mid September so any pointers you can share will be appreciated.