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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Little Orleans Lodge in Little Orleans
George Spencer from Little Orleans on 04/11/2021 03:33 PM
I drove by Steve's place last week after attending Good Friday Mass at Saint Patrick Catholic Church and there was a "For Sale" sign at the intersection just after crossing Fifteen-Mile Creek bridge, and another in the driveway. Also, the lodge website has been taken down and the domain name is for sale so that tells me that Steve is either very sick (COVID, etc...) or the family has finally had to put Steve into a nursing home because of his advancing Alzerhimers/Dementia. It is sad that we, the C&O Canal community, are losing this icon and hopefully someone will buy the place and restore it to its former glory.

Update on GAP Trail Boston to Buena Vista
Rick from Greenock, PA on 04/11/2021 12:10 AM
Work is continuing on the trail which is passable, but still not officially opened. From Boston, about 4.5 miles east is still "un-paved" and bumpy from 2B stone used for the heavy equipment, to the tracks of the large excavators.From near milepost 124 (near the bald eagle nest), the trail is finished with smooth crushed limestone for about 1.5 miles until Dravo Campground. From there to Buena Vista is still not finished. Hopefully, if the decent weather holds, they can get this done soon.

The section that is completed is very nice. Like riding on the PA turnpike after the bumpy ride on the unfinished trail. And the eagles are out and visible for a couple more weeks until the leaves come out on the trees.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/11/2021 08:22 AM
On Thursday I was riding back from an overnight bikepacking trip from near Ohiopyle to West Newton. (No, I didn't see the wildfire in Ohiopyle.) I decided to continue on from West Newton toward Pittsburgh to see the condition of the trail where the sewer replacement work is being done. While there are still "Trail Closed" signs posted at the Elizabeth Sanitary Station and beyond, the trail surface had been restored with crushed stone like the original trail surface. As Rick from Greenock observed, the resurfaced trail was well compacted and generally smooth with a few pock marks/divots where the crushed gravel was not quite flush with the surface in general but still did not diminish the ride quality. With use and rain, I expect the surface to smooth out even more and be as good or better than the original surface. The recent and forecast nice weather bodes well for completion and full reopening of the trail by the end of the month.

Now if only the Paw Paw Tunnel area was open. :-)

Vehicle rental for transporting bikes
Karen from Lansing NY on 04/10/2021 09:14 AM
Four of us are planning to bike from Cumberland to DC in June. We need to rent a vehicle to drive with our bikes to Cumberland. Any thoughts on what vehicles might work? We are considering a van with stow and go rear seats.

Deal to Connellsville
NR from Silver Spring MD on 04/10/2021 12:00 AM
Planning on parking the car near the trail at Deal PA and cycling to Connelsville PA.

1) Is there a place to park the car near the trail area at Deal?
2) Will we be able to get a shuttle back to where we parked from Connelsville?
3) Any recommendations for shuttle service?

Thanks in advance.


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/10/2021 03:07 AM
Yes, there is a trailhead adjacent to the trail in Deal. Lots of parking there and never heavily used when I’ve passed through there. I can’t offer any firsthand recommendations for a shuttle in that area. I might suggest you contact the trail side bike shop in Connellsville at:

Bikes Unlimited

They’ve been quite helpful to me and they’ve been there for sometime.

Perhaps one of the outfitters in Ohiopyle such as Wilderness Voyageurs could/would provide a shuttle. If you Google “GAP bike shuttle services” it will return a number of possible shuttle operators. That said, I do not have any personal experience with any of them.

Paw Paw Tunnel
Steve Lauer from Sykesville, MD on 03/24/2021 09:29 PM
Planning a Bikepacking weekend on C&O soon. I’m a little unclear on exactly what the status is is with the Paw Paw Tunnel and trail? I read the actual tunnel is “open” but perhaps I still would be forced to take the “bypass trail”? Is this correct? Sites make mention of the bypass trail taking 1-2 hour additional time and wanting to plan my overall day and distance accordingly. Appreciate any current and additional feedback. Thanks!!

Anonymous on 03/24/2021 09:52 PM
Here’s the information source regarding closure of the C&O Towpath at the Paw Paw Tunnel.


John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 03/25/2021 03:52 PM
Yes you are right Steve. If going from DC to Cumberland, you can enter the tunnel and come out the other side but you won’t go much further as construction will be blocking you just after you exit (not to mention some sheer walls on each side that you can’t go up!).

If going from Cumberland to DC you will not reach the tunnel, just all of the construction with no way to pass it and enter the tunnel.

From what I’ve heard, you’ll be pushing your bike a mile or so up and over the hill. It’s too rough to try and ride it although some may be able to.

Anonymous on 03/25/2021 07:35 PM
Just coincidentally Tim Mooney, the voice of the Pedalshift Project podcast just posted today the first of a three-part series of his recent trip to check out the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass detour. The first part can be found at:


The first part of his trip in route to the downriver side of the Tunnel from Hancock, MD is the subject of Part 1. He states that Part 2 will be uploaded in two weeks. That Part should provide another and current opinion of the condition of the tunnel bypass detour and his efforts to traverse it.

Steve Lauer from Sykesville,MD on 03/30/2021 08:18 PM
Just circling back fo thank you all for the very timely and helpful feedback to my question. This forum is a great resource!

Anonymous on 04/01/2021 08:16 PM
From our extensive esearch--this is what I understand: The Cumberland side of the tunnel is open (not the DC side) and you can enter the tunnel from this side (cumberland side) and have a look at the tunnel (? even go all of the way to the end), but the tunnel is blocked on the DC side (so you cannot exit the tunnel). you can go in , have a look and then come back out the cumberland side. from there you need to take an "up and over" trail over the top of the tunnel which seems to come out on the C and O trail about 1/2 mile out from the DC side of the tunnel.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 04/01/2021 08:28 PM
I think you’re right! I had my upstreams and downstreams inverted in my earlier comment. I guess I’ll find out if/when I do Pittsburgh to DC this year.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/01/2021 09:01 PM
The confusion may arise because, while generally you are riding from north to south when riding from Pittsburgh to DC, the section through the tunnel is south to north when travelling toward DC.

Anonymous on 04/03/2021 09:59 AM
yes, it took as a while to figure that all out---upstream/ downstream, north/ south.
I'm just so happy we can get a look at the tunnel still. the "up and over" path sounds like an interesting challenge, hopefully that's what I will say about in the moment ;)

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/03/2021 10:58 AM
Please add your feedback about the tunnel bypass route for others to consider in planning their trip. Understandably, different people will have different observations about it depending on the time, direction, weather, bike and bike load, personal condition, etc. It will be helpful to all of us.

Alex from New York on 04/05/2021 04:55 PM
I had to take this trail in the fall of 2017 when the tunnel was closed as well. You are advised to walk the bike both up and down the hill, especially with the load. It is what it is, just be ready for an additional hour or so.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/09/2021 08:22 AM
Part 2 of the Pedalshift Project’s recent traverse of the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass trail has now been uploaded to YouTube at:


In this part Tim Mooney describes his recent experience taking his unloaded bike up and over the mountain above the tunnel. His description is very similar to my recollection of that trail although in my case I was fully loaded and it was much warmer and wet. You can take his information into account in planning your trip. Note that Tim is travelling upstream toward Paw Paw during his description.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 04/09/2021 12:46 PM
Great episode. I was surprised to hear there were multiple paths/trails up at the top of the detour...so many that the park service needed to put signs up so people wouldn't get lost!

Tim described the views at the top of the detour as "the best views on the C&O".

Whites Ferry
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 04/09/2021 12:37 PM
Not looking good for the ferry for the 2021 season:


Ending in DC -- Train and lodging
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC (New York) on 04/07/2021 10:18 PM
Greetings to any friends here from the Erie Canalway forum. This site has already provided a bunch of good information and the "Trip Planer" is such an awesome tool for those who are not oriented to the trail.

Background -- Last year I rode the GAP (PGH -> Cumberland) and loved it! Decided to do it again and add the C&O (the C&O is a bucket list item). I'm pretty comfortable with my plan at this point which is to be on trail the last week of July into Aug. There are racks available on weekday trains at this point so I am looking to nail down my schedule and make reservations.

(1) What is the deal when I get into DC? I will be arriving around Noon. How far is the Train station and which station do I use? I can see the Georgetown Station on the AMTRAK reservation system, but it doesn't allow me to use it, and defaults to Union Station. (I'm also assuming that having 4 hours is plenty of time.)

(2) It bothers me to not have some fallback plan on the trail (bike repairs or situations that cause me time) that might cause me to miss the train. I'd like to add an extra day to cover this. If I do that, I'm looking for recommendations for a place to stay. I know DC and the Metro rather well (however, not with bike), so I'm open to suggestions. (Save high-end... I don't need too many stars to be happy.)

(3) Assume working in this fallback plan is a smart thing.

(4) I'm typically not inclined to do a lot of stops to include places of interest. However, there is a lot of history in this area. Are there things that I **really should be** taking in while I'm on the trail? Side trips or whatever that I should change my schedule to include?

Thanks in advance! Happy to meet everyone here on the forum.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 04/07/2021 11:54 PM
Hey WNYBubba.

Getting to Union Station is breeze! It is Union Station, you are right. DC is a super friendly bicycle city with tons of bike lanes. You can also ride along the National Mall which is surprisingly big. Just punch Union Station into Google maps. I have done this a few times. No problems.

I think other than rush hours, you can bring you bike on the Metro.

I stayed at hotels in Arlington near the airport. It’s a little bit away from downtown DC but I got lower rates out there. You might also get lower rates with Covid affecting how many people are traveling and they might be trying to entice people. There’s a hostel in DC also if you’re looking to save money. But it all depends on your budget.

The extra day is a good idea if you want that. If you were to have mechanical issues, any bike shop you contact should be able to come and meet you at a trail access point and offer you a shuttle into town for a fee.

I will defer to others on this forum when it comes to history, they’ll have some good feedback. I would definitely see Great Falls just outside DC along the C&O. Incredible rapids.

Don’t forget to take the Western Maryland Rail Trail before and after Hancock, MD. It runs parallel to the C&O for 27 miles. The paved trail is a welcome respite from the gravel or dirt paths and possibly mud. Don’t worry, its not cheating even if you’re a purist. I don’t know anyone that has done Pittsburgh to DC and NOT gotten on the WMRT! You can get on at Little Orleans, you will take a detour for 2+ miles that puts you back on the C&O (there a tunnel that is filled with a bat habitat and wouldn’t be safe for human passage), then you’re back on the WMRT until just about the end. Just after you pass mile marker 1, start looking for the interchange to get back on the C&O. If you reach the end of the WMRT, you’ve gone too far, go back 3/4ths of a mile for the switch.

In addition, when you reach Georgetown at the end of the cobblestone trail, it appears you have concluded your ride. But there is still 3/10ths of a mile to go! To reach the Mile 0 marker at Thompson Boat House, follow this video that got me there the first time I did the trail:

I always cap off my DC trip at the Lincoln Monument and reflecting pool.

If you have time, don’t forget to visit Gravelly Point at Reagan/National Airport right on the Mt. Vernon trail. The planes take off or land right over your head. It’s quite a sight.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/08/2021 09:18 PM
John W has done a good job in answering your questions. Regarding side trips or points of interest I would repeat the response I have made to similar questions. Take some time before you embark n the trip to seek out and read about the histories of both the GAP and the C&O. The more you know about these trails, the more you will appreciate what you will see and pass along the way. Knowing about the history of the railroads from DC/Baltimore to Pittsburgh and beyond and the industries, notably coal and coke, that were serviced by these industries will make those simple sights along the GAP more meaningful. Armed with that knowledge, you can almost envision what life was like in the early 1900’s as you ride along and see the vestiges of the steel mills, coal mines an coke ovens. The same holds true for the C&O and its development, use and demise.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/08/2021 09:18 PM
John W has done a good job in answering your questions. Regarding side trips or points of interest I would repeat the response I have made to similar questions. Take some time before you embark on the trip to seek out and read about the histories of both the GAP and the C&O. The more you know about these trails, the more you will appreciate what you will see and pass along the way. Knowing about the history of the railroads from DC/Baltimore to Pittsburgh and beyond and the industries, notably coal and coke, that were serviced by these industries will make those simple sights along the GAP more meaningful. Armed with that knowledge, you can almost envision what life was like in the early 1900’s as you ride along and see the vestiges of the steel mills, coal mines an coke ovens. The same holds true for the C&O and its development, use and demise.

Dravo Landing / Queen Aliquippa Campsite in Buena Vista
Henry on 04/08/2021 09:58 AM
Planning a bike trip to DC! Is camping here free? and do we have to make a reservation ahead of time?

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 04/08/2021 01:15 PM
Dravo Landing hiker-biker site is free and does not require reservations. Room for 25-30 plus one Adirondack shelter. Just show up as you see fit and pitch your tent.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/08/2021 06:08 PM
In addition to the Dravo Cemetery/Landing campsite, you’ll find free trail side camping along the GAP at Cedar Creek Park, Round Bottom Camp and Stewart’s Crossing in Connellsville. No reservations are required but access to the Adirondack shelters is first come first serve. Of course you can always pitch a tent at any of them.

Of course, there are numerous free hiker/biker campsites along the C&O Towpath as well.

Sheepskin Trail Update
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/08/2021 06:02 PM
As part of an overnight bikepacking trip along the GAP, I left the GAP Trail for an out-and-back diversion on the Sheepskin Trail over to Dunbar, PA. I had ridden that trail a couple of years ago. At that time a portion of that trail passed through a rail car staging area which consisted of course railroad ballast stone. It was a short but unpleasant ride. Since then that section of the trail has been resurfaced with crushed stone like the rest of the trail. It is now a smooth surface making that side trip quite pleasant. It was dry yesterday but could become a little soft following wet weather.

Pittsburgh long term Parking
Anonymous on 04/01/2021 08:11 PM
Hi GAP and C and O bikers. We are biking both trails in June. We need to secure long term parking in Pittsburgh for the time on the trail. We have a reservation at the Hampton Inn, Homestead (pittsburgh) for prior to our biking departure and they allow GAP/ C and O bikers to park for free while they are on the trail. However, I have read at least one review on Trip Advisor for this hotel which stated that their car was broken into while they were parked there. Wondering if the downtown long term parking options (Grant Street Transportation Center) would be a safer bet? It is not unreasonably expensive as weekend rates are 5 $ / 24 hours. Weekdays are 13 $ per 24 hours. Airport parking is likely pretty secure as people are in and out all of the time, but the airport parking would add inconvenience to our trip (out of the city, need to arrange transporation back to the city, what do we do with the bikes, etc.). Anyone have advise about long term parking in Pittsburgh? Safety is our priority (don't want our car broken into). Thank you!!! Can't wait to ride the trials!!! ;)

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 04/01/2021 08:43 PM
Ive had ride partners stay there from out of town and leave their cars there for a week, no issues. I’ve heard of many other people staying there and beginning their tours at this hotel, telling the staff at the Hampton Inn they will be leaving their car behind for a GAP trip and they are very accommodating. Don’t be put off my a random comment on TripAdvisor. These things (random breakins) could happen at any location a person parks. Grocery shopping, a day at work, staying at a hotel, etc. I have not heard that this is any kind of a persistent issue at this hotel. In fact that’s the first time I’ve heard of a break in there. Like anywhere, don’t leave anything of value visible in your locked car. Put your bike rack in your trunk or in your back seat and cover with a blanket. I think parking there is free, so that’s always a good thing.

I would avoid the airport, like you’d said, you’d need to arrange transportation. You could park at the parking lots downtown around PNC Park but those are downtown daily rates. Their prices will be similar to the Grant Street prices you mentioned.

Have a great trip!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/01/2021 09:35 PM
I live in Homestead and worked downtown for 20 years and currently ride through town two or three times per week. The downtown parking lots are not generally policed and pedestrian traffic therein that might dissuade potential thieves is significantly less now during the pandemic due to many fewer people parking downtown. Thus I don't consider the risk of break-ins to be any less there than at the Hampton Inn in Homestead and certainly not at the expense of week long parking fees.

As with parking at any public location, your risk of break-in would be reduced by parking as near to and within site of the main entrance to the hotel, if possible. Further, as John W notes, remove any valuable items from sight within the car. Removing your bike rack which intimates you may be remote from the hotel might be another risk avoidance idea.

While I hadn't considered this before and it is admittedly a little off the wall, you might look into parking your car at the Homestead Police Station. It is only a short ride from the Hampton Inn and just a couple of blocks off the GAP Trail. You might check with the Homestead Police and see if they would allow you to park there. Its not that busy or congested there.

Anonymous on 04/03/2021 09:55 AM
Thank you all for your help and comments! If there are others who have advise, please continue to comment!! thanks much again!

New Visitor Center Opens in Connellsville, PA Along the GAP Trail
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/02/2021 07:50 PM
Various Western Pennsylvania newspapers are reporting today that a new visitor center opened today in Connellsville. It is located at 100 Torrance Avenue, right along the GAP Trail in the Yough River Park. This visitor center will be open from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on weekends in April and May, then Tuesdays through Sundays in June and daily in July and August.

Bike Tickets on Amtrak (DC to PIT)
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 04/02/2021 05:34 PM
I just spoke with a super friendly and helpful Amtrak Reservation agent over the phone. I was looking online and kept seeing “Sold Out” for Bicycle tickets on every date I attempted and getting frustrated. So I decided rather than to keep searching and coming up empty, I would just call and see if they could locate tickets for me. It worked.

I simply asked them what dates in June still had bike tickets available going from DC to PIT on the Capitol Limited. They were able to quickly pull up the information and I ended up reserving the first date they mentioned, the last ticket available for that date.

I was curious about how many tickets were still remaining so I asked them about other dates in the month of June and they said the only ones remaining were the following dates:

June 22 - 1 ticket
June 24 - 2 tickets
June 29 - 2 tickets

I didn't ask about the rest of the summer (July or August) as I didn’t want to waste anymore of their time, but feel free to call and speak to an agent. Their number is 1-800-872-7245. I probably waited 8-10 minutes on hold. They also mentioned that there are no tickets available *before* June 22. This information is for DC to PIT only, I did not ask about the other direction.

If you're wanting a Bicycle ticket ("Roll-on, Roll-off") to ride GAP/C&O this summer, I wouldn't wait too much longer to reserve, what little they have seem to be going pretty fast!

Indian Springs Campground in Big Pool
Sylvia from Cocoa,fl on 03/31/2021 06:40 AM
Big pool was where I grew up have to clean out my home place since brother passed away.Was planning to use our grandson"s camper to stay in .thinking of last week in April was wondering the price per night to stay there.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 03/31/2021 05:12 PM
Sylvia, give the campground a call and see about their rates.

Anonymous on 03/31/2021 08:47 PM
The number is reportedly:


The Bruce House Inn in Cumberland
ChazNasty from Berkeley, CA on 03/30/2021 03:31 PM
This location is shown as closed permanently on google 3/30/21

DC to Cumberland starting 4/1
AWK from Reston, VA on 03/29/2021 11:35 PM
Hi All!

Planning a bikepacking trip from DC to Cumberland this coming Thursday 4/1. Considering we had a couple of rainy days over the weekend and more rain is forecasted for Wednesday, any advice or insight on what to expect in terms of trail condition? Any advice is appreciated.


Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/30/2021 08:10 AM
Soft, puddles and mud in other than resurfaced sections.

C&O between DC and Cumberland
Bostonmom from Dillsburg on 03/29/2021 03:27 PM
Hi all.
Looking for any advice and suggestions. I am planning a bike trip between DC and Cumberland. Can't decide which way to ride. Is it better to start in DC and end in Cumberland? Or the other way round? In terms of grade and elevation?

Also I understand that it is possible to get on Amtrak with a bike but cannot figure out how from the website? Do you have to call them? Or is it better to rent a car or a shuttle service?

Any suggestions appreciated.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 03/29/2021 05:32 PM
You could give reservations a call and they’ll walk you through it. Your looking for the bike ticket (roll-on, roll-off). I’ve spoken to Amtrak reservation agents and they’ll know what to look for. I wouldn’t wait, those tickets go quick. If you don’t find the dates you want ask when the next available is.

What direction? All depends. I personally would do Cumberland to DC. Cumberland to DC is downhill, albeit very slightly. The Potomac empties into the Chesapeake Bay and you’re basically following it. That said the trail is pretty flat overall. The locks you do encounter this direction will be downhill but there ain’t much to them. Better going down that up I say!

If you can’t get a bike ticket you could box your bike. If you do it this way, make sure to bring a pedal wrench, you will need to remove them. You will need to loosen your handlebars and turn them to fit in a box. You’ll have zero problems getting a ticket if you box your bike. The Capitol Limited never sells out.

You could rent a car. I have personally rented a car and dropped it off at Reagan Airport and made my way back to Cumberland/Pittsburgh. Cumberland is much smaller than DC so choices maybe limited on one way drop offs. You might want to price shuttles to see if they are comparable to a car/pickup rental. That could be a good way to go as well.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/29/2021 06:34 PM
In addition to John W's remarks, note the difference in train departures and arrivals depending on which direction you choose to go. From Washington the train departs around 4:00 PM and arrives in Cumberland around 7:30 PM. From Cumberland the train departs around 9:30 am and arrives in DC around 1:00 pm. Depending on your travel itinerary, lodging, etc., one of these schedules may be better for you than the other.

Regardless of which direction you choose and if you have not followed some of the recent postings on this forum and/or the C&O website, be aware of the bypass detour required up and over the Paw Paw Tunnel. That may influence your preferred direction also.

In my opinion the first couple of days ride leaving Cumberland can be more difficult and with fewer points of interest so you may want to do those first, especially with the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass now required.

C&O between DC and Cumberland
Bostonmom from Dillsburg on 03/29/2021 03:27 PM
Hi all.
Looking for any advice and suggestions. I am planning a bike trip between DC and Cumberland. Can't decide which way to ride. Is it better to start in DC and end in Cumberland? Or the other way round? In terms of grade and elevation?

Also I understand that it is possible to get on Amtrak with a bike but cannot figure out how from the website? Do you have to call them? Or is it better to rent a car or a shuttle service?

Any suggestions appreciated.

2021 Pennsylvania Maple Festival in Meyersdale
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/27/2021 10:08 PM
For those interested in activities along the GAP Trail this spring, the GAP Conservancy has made the following announcement:

"Pennsylvania Maple Festival in Meyersdale Starts April 24.
Don't miss the syrupy goodness of the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, held in Meyersdale right off the Great Allegheny Passage April 24 and 25, and April 28 to May 2. Meyersdale is Pennsylvania's "Maple City," and this year's festival features a tree-tapping ceremony, horse-drawn carriage rides, tours of the Historic Meyers Manor Homestead, and maple syrup-making demonstrations at the Meyers Sugar Shack and Sugar Camp. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, and the crowning of the Maple Queen make this annual event a sweet crowd-pleaser."

More details of the Festival can be found at:


If you were planning on staying in Meyersdale during these dates, you may want to check/confirm availability.

Trail from Berkley Springs to Harpers Ferry
Lynne from Waynepa on 03/25/2021 08:00 PM
Hoping to do the above segment April 1 and 2 and wondering if anyone can comment on the condition of the trail and whether there are any concerns. Thanks for any input

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 03/26/2021 02:46 PM
The actual C&O from Hancock to Harpers Ferry will be a breeze. Getting from Berkeley Springs to Hancock to get on the trail will be a challenge. I’ve read that there’s a serious lack of shoulder along the highway. Call the bike shop in Hancock and ask if people ride US-522, if it’s safe, and if not, if they recommend alternatives, such as a shuttle.

One way car rental from DC to Pittsburgh
Anonymous from Wolfeboro on 03/24/2021 08:16 PM
My husband and I are biking the GAP and the C&O Canal. We are starting in Pittsburgh and ending in DC. Does anyone have a good suggestion on who to rent a car from at the end of the C&O Canal? We are trying to avoid going into the city. Also, any recommendations of where to stay when I end the trip in DC? Thanks

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/24/2021 08:51 PM
Avis has an office on Wisconsin Avenue just a couple of blocks of the trail near its end. Another option is to continue to Reagan Airport. It adds a few miles but can be reached without going into the heart of town. As you might expect there are a number of rental companies that operate at the airport.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 03/24/2021 10:53 PM
I have personally done the airport to airport rental, Pittsburgh to Reagan. Easy as a breeze. I dropped mine off at Reagan and it was super fast and I’m sure picking one up will be likewise.

I stayed at a hotel in Arlington, 20th st. But that’s may be farther from the C&O than you like but getting to and from Reagan it was super close.

One way car rental from DC to Pittsburgh
Anonymous from Wolfeboro on 03/24/2021 08:16 PM
My husband and I are biking the GAP and the C&O Canal. We are starting in Pittsburgh and ending in DC. Does anyone have a good suggestion on who to rent a car from at the end of the C&O Canal? We are trying to avoid going into the city. Thanks

Scenic out and backs
David from Walloon lake on 03/20/2021 01:39 PM
Wondering if there are any suggestions as to scenic out and backs (30 miles round trip) between connelsville and homestead.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/20/2021 10:31 PM
Ok. Maybe look at Smithton to Dawson. It’s 15 miles one way, 30 miles round trip. There are trailheads/parking at both ends. The trail follows the river. You’ll go through some of the old coal mining villages as well as some undeveloped areas. Note there’s little or no food available trail side anywhere along this route. There’s some interesting historical buildings in Dawson if you have some time to leave the trail and ride over there.

I’m sure others will have some good ideas at all.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 03/23/2021 09:37 AM
There's the glass sculpture in Dunbar, and some beehive coke ovens as well.

Ohiopyle is a cool little town. Make sure some place is open for lunch before you ride over there though. I guess it's a little over 30 miles RT tho.

Perryopolis has some history, and Jason Momoa recently shot a movie there.

Sager Mosiacs in Whitsett is cool.

Rivers of Steel: Carrie Blast Furnaces looked pretty amazing. Make sure to make an appointment.

Pittsburgh has cool stuff and is less than 30 miles RT.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/23/2021 09:56 AM

Did one of the curators in Dunbar tell you about the history of that glass sculpture? If not, it’s an interesting history regardless of your political sentiments.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 03/23/2021 05:24 PM
That sculpture and its history are really really cool. The fact that that guy owned it is just a tiny piece of the intrigue.

The museum was closed the day we passed through, so all I know is what I could find from a couple of hours of google. And what i could see peeking thru the closed blinds.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/23/2021 07:27 PM
The concept of sculpturing glass still confounds me!

Bill in Houston from Houston on 03/24/2021 10:08 AM
I think it must have cooled very very slowly when the furnace was shut down, or something.

June 2021 Meyersdale>DC
Jonathan from Indianapolis on 03/22/2021 12:16 PM
Hello, All. I'm trying to gather useful intel in advance of a planned ride from Meyersdale to DC in mid-June 2021. Planned stops so far are Meyersdale>PawPaw>Hancock>Williamsport>Harper's Ferry>Leesburg>DC. We are a group of friends, probably 10 to 12 people in all, aged late forties to early sixties. We are leisurely riders, built for comfort not for speed. Most of the group are planning on staying in hotels & air bnb's along the way, which minimizes gear to haul. We seek input on the following questions in particular:
1. How rugged is the hike over the Paw Paw Tunnel? Closure of the tunnel is a big disappointment, and there are worries about just how arduous this obstacle is going to be.
2. If the trail is muddy, is it rideable on 38 mm width tires on a loaded touring bike? Are fenders a liability?
3. I've read that the trail is resurfaced between Harper's Ferry and White's Ferry; any comments on the nature of the new surface?
4. Speaking of White's Ferry...what are the odds it reopens by June? Leesburg looks really nice and we have got nice places reserved there, so we really want to make that work if possible. People familiar with the area, any thoughts on alternate routes to get back the C&O from Leesburg without having to backtrack? Or is backtracking just a given?

We also would welcome any other bits of advice, restaurant recommendations....just useful intel in general.

Thanks in advance!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 03/22/2021 09:13 PM
I'll offer you my opinions about the questions you've presented. Other forum members may have different opinions and information.

1. I'll begin by stating that I and two other 60-somethings successfully made the trek up and over the Paw Paw Tunnel when it was closed for repairs a few years ago. I was camping and had a loaded bike. It was not fun. It is a rough bypass trail with roots and rocks along the way. Most of it is not rideable so we pushed and pulled our bikes most of the way. It probably added an hour to our journey that day.
2. I've ridden it on 28, 32 and 35mm tires in conditions ranging from sloppy mud to bone dry. I'd say 38's would generally be ok. If it is very wet, some knobs on those tires would add some confidence but wouldn't add much benefit under dry conditions. Under the worst conditions your fenders could clog if the tire clearance is minimal. The worst section is from Cumberland to Little Orleans but there would be puddles and mud holes scattered along the rest of the unrestored sections of the trail. I don't want to make it seem unpassable but you can expect to get muddy and wet if it has rained a fair amount before or during your ride.
3. The restored trail between Shepherdstown and Edwards Ferry is a significant improvement over the previous condition. It is smooth, and drains well.
4. I haven't heard any recent news about if/when Whites Ferry might reopen with the new owner. I'm not aware of any good alternative to getting up to Leesburg. Locals in that area may have some good suggestions for you.

PS: I'm an Indy Decatur Central grad in 1968 when Decatur Township was virtually all farm country. Spent all my adult life in suburban Pittsburgh however.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 03/22/2021 09:56 PM
Since your first night is Paw Paw (the town), it looks like you would get to the tunnel in the morning on day 2, so at least you’d knock it out early and be done with it as opposed to the end of a long day. I would ask your companions if they are OK pushing bikes.

As for Whites Ferry, if it’s still closed a week before you depart, I’m certain someone will do shuttles for a fee. I’d give a call around to local bike shops in Leesburg. Not sure if that will involve sticker shock!

There are ways to backtrack to Leesburg but I can’t say if leisurely riders would enjoy it or not.

Good luck!

Fallen tree across trail
Thomas Longberg on 03/20/2021 10:30 PM
There is a sizeable tree fallen across the trail about 2.5 miles south of the road bridge to Shepherdsville/Canal lock 38. Be cautious when biking the area. Does anyone know if there’s a place to report it?

wkr from Brunswick, MD on 03/22/2021 06:09 PM
I send my emails to choh_information@nps.gov. I have gotten a response for all of them so it's a monitored email.

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