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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Training
 -  + I am looking to complete the C&O/GAP ride from DC to Pittsburgh. I am new to Bikepacking and was looking for a training program to help me prepare. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also, has an...
Discussion started 06/13/24 8:27:45 AM by Andrew Kubala - 4 replies (last reply by Andrew Kubala at 06/19/24 10:00:52 AM)
Andrew Kubala from Rising Sun, MD on 06/13/24 8:27:45 AM
I am looking to complete the C&O/GAP ride from DC to Pittsburgh. I am new to Bikepacking and was looking for a training program to help me prepare.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, has anyone completed the trail during the beginning of November?

 
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/13/24 9:07:56 AM
I can't speak to riding in November or a formal training program, but in the lead up to the first time I rode the trail, I started increasing the length of our day rides on the weekends until we were doing back to back 40 miles Saturday and Sunday. We did this over a 3 month period starting with 20 mile rides. And the weekend before we left we did a 50 mile overnight to test out all of our camping gear. The main thing for me was to get time in the saddle. Compared to most of the riding I had done to that point, the pace was pretty low, so I could ride all day during the trip. We finished our ride that year with three ~70 mile days.

November will be wetter with shorter days, so you will need to factor both of those into your route planning. I don't recall when they close a couple of the tunnels for the winter, but you should look into that.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 06/14/24 9:57:06 AM
Just start getting in rides and slowly building up your miles. Your body will adjust and get stronger. Since its flat you don't have to worry about hill training. You will be doing between 40-60 a day on your tour.

November might be cutting it close. Big Savage Tunnel has been closing on Dec 1 the last few years but if winter strikes early they can, and have, closed it earlier and there's no real detour available if it happens. Snow is a real threat at the continental divide that time of the year.

Andrew is right, the days are shorter, wetter, and colder. November days just leave you with less and less daylight. My suggestion would be to bump your tour back to October. The beautiful autumn leaves might still be up or at least on the ground and you'll have more daylight and no tunnel closure. Temps will be so much more pleasant also.

Let us know how you get on.

John


 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/16/24 6:13:00 PM
To add to the earlier remarks and having ridden the trail in late October, there is the possibility of some cold days and nights and even some snow at the higher elevations. I camped in Meyersdale last year in sub freezing temps. Not the most enjoyable trip I’ve made on the GAP. However you must be prepared for such conditions if they arise.

As for training, the trip is to develop the strength not to just be able to ride 40, 50 or 60 miles a day but to be able to do so on multiple successive days. If possible try to do a shorter, say 3-day trip before taking on the entire trail. That will give feedback on what you need to do and not do for your longer trip.

Good luck.

 
Andrew Kubala from Rising Sun, MD on 06/19/24 10:00:52 AM
This is all great feedback. Thank you. It looks like I will play it safe and plan for August.


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Training
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upscale? ride
 -  + Trying to plan a ride in Oct of 2025 for 6 couples from Pitt to DC. We would be hosting 5 couples from southern CA. I know that much of the ride is rural but looking for B&B or VRBO that could house ...
Discussion started 05/22/24 5:42:03 AM by RF - 7 replies (last reply by TicoCharlie at 06/16/24 10:57:45 PM)
RF from Downingtown PA on 05/22/24 5:42:03 AM
Trying to plan a ride in Oct of 2025 for 6 couples from Pitt to DC. We would be hosting 5 couples from southern CA. I know that much of the ride is rural but looking for B&B or VRBO that could house us. Maybe a winery stop, maybe a nicer restaurant. Planning a stop at Fallingwater. We will have a SAG vehicle.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/22/24 7:27:16 AM
The first couple of places that came to mind could not accommodate six couples. One that would however would be the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown WV. You can check out its web site to see if it’s the kind of place that would be of interest to your group. Note that Shepherdstown is on the opposite side of the Potomac River from the C&0 Towpath Trail. It is readily accessible however via a switchback to reach the bridge crossing the river to the Inn.

Shepherdstown itself is a quaint small college town itself which is one of my favorite places along the route.

Hopefully, other forum readers are aware of others that serve your interests.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/22/24 9:47:26 AM
Since you have SAG support you might want to investigate BnB's/VRBO's near Leesburg VA. I found one that sleeps 12 with a winery nearby. Once again however, Leesburg is on the opposite side of the river from the C&O. However with White's Ferry no longer operating, it is no long possible to cross the river there by bike or car.

If your SAG support can transport your bikes as well as your gear, then you could cross the river via one of the bridges either up or downstream of Whites Ferry to get to the Virginia side and one of the vacation rentals over there.

 
Robert Flagg from Downingtown on 05/26/24 7:10:34 AM
Thanks for the help. I'll look into these and any other posts I get.

 
Robert Flagg from Downingtown on 05/26/24 8:29:04 AM
Rivnuts, thanks. Bavarian looks like it might work well. Do you know the name of the B&B you stayed at. We're not opposed to getting off the trail for a while to get to the B&B.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/26/24 9:44:51 AM
Here’s the one I found online described as a Cozy Creekside Cabin with a Great Room outside Leesburg. It says there are wineries nearby as well. (Maybe not of California quality however.)

https://www.vrbo.com/3372620?chkin=2024-10-09&chkout=2024-10-10&adults=12&referrerId=HOT.HIS.Share.Landed.Copy_Link

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/26/24 9:45:42 AM
To be clear, I myself have not stayed there.

 
TicoCharlie from Monroeville on 06/16/24 10:57:45 PM
If you want to stay near Fallingwater, look up
www.paddlerslane.com
I booked the large house for my daughter but I know one of the owners, FYI.
Read the reviews. It is in Confluence.
Ask for Robin or Dan.


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Catoctin Creek Culvert Replacement
 -  + Does anyone know the status of the Catoctin Creek culvert replacement? The second link shows an actual new bridge. I have bittersweet feelings about the replacement. The first year I rode from Pitt...
Discussion started 06/04/24 2:14:12 PM by Andrew - 11 replies (last reply by WKR at 06/11/24 9:00:58 AM)
Andrew from Pittsburgh on 06/04/24 2:14:12 PM
Does anyone know the status of the Catoctin Creek culvert replacement? The second link shows an actual new bridge. I have bittersweet feelings about the replacement. The first year I rode from Pittsburgh to DC was the year that the culvert washed out, so I have always had to cross the creek. The first year was from rock to rock, and then on the low bridge every summer since. :)

I also wished that they had had the funding to rebuild it in the original style of the culvert, but I understand why that was probably not feasible.

https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/replace-culvert-82-bridge.htm
https://www.reddit.com/r/towpath/comments/1cfmhxf/replacement_bridge_north_of_point_of_rocks/

 
Luchs from Harpers Ferry on 06/04/24 7:50:35 PM
When I rode by about 2 weeks ago the new bride framing was up and they were starting on the deck.

 
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 06/05/24 8:43:02 PM
Huh, I do not remember it being anything special. Wasn't it just a little wooden bridge? As a local I probably ignore a lot of interesting things since I see them all the time. ;)

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/06/24 2:14:17 PM
That second link appears to be that “temporary low footbridge” that’s been there the last few years since the collapse of the original bridge. If they have begun repair of the original bridge as Lucas notes, that’s good news. It had been reported earlier that that repair work would begin in the Fall of 2023.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/07/24 5:12:51 AM
That second link appears to be that “temporary low footbridge” that’s been there the last few years since the collapse of the original bridge. If they have begun repair of the original bridge as Lucas notes, that’s good news. It had been reported earlier that that repair work would begin in the Fall of 2023.

 
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 06/09/24 5:34:48 PM
Yes, they've definitely been working on getting a bridge up. I haven't been through there in awhile as the heavy equipment was chewing up the trail surface. I'm curious so I'll see about going over there this week.

 
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 06/10/24 11:57:14 AM
I went ahead out at lunch today to look. On the way I could tell they had smoothed out the tow path surface from the gate at brunswick all the way to the bridge. The RVs tear it up and there was a bunch of additional damage from the heavy machinery. There is a metal bridge up. It's got stacks of wood on it that I assume will be the floor. No work was happening today.

I don't know if I can post links but I took some pics:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/g6TELapJYnvCwpMd7

1 is of the bridge from the side, the next just shows the machines sitting, and then a pic of the bridge where you can see the stacks of wood.

 
Mark S. from Redford Twp., Mi on 06/10/24 3:32:52 PM
So the answer is I can cross this culvert in July? The weather here in Michigan has been quite cool. It looks like riding from Pittsburgh to D.C. could be comfortable. I'm a roadie that thrives on hot weather cycling. But loaded with panniers and such means a relief is helpful from scorching temps.

 
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 06/10/24 5:38:05 PM
I just realized the bridge hasn't changed since that reddit link above was posted. I had the impression things have been sitting still for awhile but I'd forgotten about the picture in that thread. So, my news and pics were of no interest. ;)

Mark, unless there's a big storm that washes out the low bridge it's no problem to go through there.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/10/24 5:42:15 PM
WKR

Thanks for that info and photographs. Looks like they are well underway. Not that the temporary low bridge/walkway is onerous but it will be nice to have the towpath itself restored.

 
Mark S. from Redford Twp., Mi on 06/10/24 6:39:44 PM
Thank you WKR. Will be departing 8 July, on my birthday. No greater way to celebrate it than a gap/co tour.

 
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 06/11/24 9:00:58 AM
The low bridge actually can be onerous for inexperienced cyclists who choose not to dismount. I witnessed someone ride onto the bridge, put on his brakes while on top of the bridge where there's also some loose gravel, and go down hard since the gravel on wood might as well be ice. Destroyed his helmet and rang his bell pretty good.

It's no problem riding across the bridge even while loaded as long as you stay off the brakes.


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Catoctin Creek Culvert Replacement
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closure
 -  + Segment Closure Ready for July-October; Shuttle Planned A 2.5-mile segment of the Great Allegheny Passage will be closed for a major underground pipeline replacement between Connellsville and Smithto...
Discussion started 06/05/24 11:22:29 AM by ez-does-it - 2 replies (last reply by Cathy from Churchill at 06/08/24 1:19:22 AM)
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 06/05/24 11:22:29 AM
Segment Closure Ready for July-October; Shuttle Planned
A 2.5-mile segment of the Great Allegheny Passage will be closed for a major underground pipeline replacement between Connellsville and Smithton starting July 8. A shuttle service for travelers and their bicycles will be provided by the Regional Trail Corporation between the hamlet of Adelaide (near Riveredge Road) and the parking lot near Dawson. Details on how to arrange a shuttle will be posted here as they become available. (Read more.)

Thought I would do a copy and paste from my email news update I get.

Ez-does-it

 
anonymous on 06/05/24 12:34:45 PM
Thanks for that additional information regarding this closure. Thus far I’ve not seen any estimated duration of the closure. Although it is a large (30-inch) gas pipe that is being replaced, I would not think it should require a long time to just to replace the portion beneath the trail itself…unless the trail s used for construction vehicles for much of the other length of pipe being replaced.

 
Cathy from Churchill from Churchill, PA on 06/08/24 1:19:22 AM
Thank you for this report. I was hoping to ride in this area in the next month or so.


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Lodging between Harpers Ferry and end of C&O
 -  + With Whites Ferry not currently an option for getting to Leesburg, What are riders doing for lodging between Harpers Ferry and the C&O terminus in Georgetown? Thanks.
Discussion started 06/07/24 4:39:15 PM by Sherry - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 06/07/24 7:59:49 PM)
Sherry from San Diego on 06/07/24 4:39:15 PM
With Whites Ferry not currently an option for getting to Leesburg, What are riders doing for lodging between Harpers Ferry and the C&O terminus in Georgetown?

Thanks.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/07/24 7:59:49 PM
Aside from the Travel Lodge in Brunswick, MD, there are virtually no lodging locations between Harpers Ferry and DC and Brunswick is just a few miles beyond Harpers Ferry. There are reports that the owner of Whites Ferry has offered to donate the ferry to Montgomery County MD if they can reach an agreement with the VA property owners on the other side of the river. However, no progress in reaching an agreement to reopen the ferry has been reported to date. Hence, accommodations in Leesburg are still not easily accessible from the Towpath.


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DC Amtrack Station
 -  + Can you ride your bike from mile marker 0 to the train station in DC
Discussion started 06/05/24 1:16:33 PM by Neil - 2 replies (last reply by SF at 06/07/24 6:21:13 PM)
Neil from Mt Pleasant, PA on 06/05/24 1:16:33 PM
Can you ride your bike from mile marker 0 to the train station in DC

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 06/05/24 7:39:48 PM
Yes albeit on city streets. With proper planning, you can ride on city streets with designated bike lanes. If desired, you can ride through Mall with all of its monuments as well. As I recall, it is about a 3-mile ride.from MP 0 to the train station.

 
SF from DC on 06/07/24 6:21:13 PM
It's an easy ride, as one commenter said, head down the path along the Potomac and then at Lincoln Memorial head down the mall by the reflection pool. It might be bit crowded with tourists depending on the time of day, but there are street routes too -- many options to get from Georgetown to Union Station.


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Week long parking
 -  + Looking for week long parking outside Washington and/or Pittsburgh and also near the Amtrak. WOuld like to ride in either direction and still catch the train back to my parked vehicle. Thanks all MIke
Discussion started 05/28/24 1:22:00 PM by Mike H - 2 replies (last reply by Anonymous at 05/30/24 6:56:56 AM)
Mike H from Saranac Lake on 05/28/24 1:22:00 PM
Looking for week long parking outside Washington and/or Pittsburgh and also near the Amtrak. WOuld like to ride in either direction and still catch the train back to my parked vehicle. Thanks all MIke

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/28/24 8:55:32 PM
There’s a parking garage above the bus station in Pittsburgh across the street from thr Amtrak station.

 
Anonymous on 05/30/24 6:56:56 AM
Although this isn’t next to the Amtrak station in DC, many people have parked at National airport and then rode the Mt Vernon trail to get to Mile 0 of the C&O in Georgetown to begin their ride.


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Fifteen Mile Creek construction - access to Little Orleans?
 -  + With the construction at Fifteen Mile Creek, is there access from the C&O Canal towpath to Little Orleans and Bill's Place? The detour map on the NPS site seems to indicate NO access with the deto...
Discussion started 05/26/24 12:26:51 PM by Straus Guide 80 - 3 replies (last reply by Straus Guide 80, Thornton, CO at 05/29/24 12:21:41 AM)
Straus Guide 80 from Thornton, CO on 05/26/24 12:26:51 PM
With the construction at Fifteen Mile Creek, is there access from the C&O Canal towpath to Little Orleans and Bill's Place?

The detour map on the NPS site seems to indicate NO access with the detour being on the campground / boat ramp side of the canal.

I'm going back after many years and can't miss L.Orleans.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/26/24 6:29:48 PM
For what it’s worth, the following C&O Detour Information website states the following in and around 15-Mile Creek. No mention of closures in that area. There were no issues there last fall but I trust recent travellers through that area can provide an accurate and current account of the situation there, if any.

Polly Pond (MP 134.3)

Towpath Detour, The bridge across Polly Pond Creek is closed. All cyclists and pedestrians will be detoured to the Western Maryland Rail Trail between Lock 55 (mile 134.1) and Lock 56 (mile 136.2).

Fifteenmile Creek (MP 140.9)

Open, Campground.
Open, Parking lot.
Open, Boat ramp.

If you are specifically interested at stopping at Billl’s Place even though Bill himself is no longer there you’d do well to call ahead and make sure it’s open on the day you plan to be there.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/27/24 12:21:22 PM
On Bills Place Facebook page there is a picture post from 2 days ago that exclaims “The Bridge is Open Woohoo!”

Perhaps that is some insight into your question.

 
Straus Guide 80 from Thornton, CO on 05/29/24 12:21:41 AM
Thanks Rivnuts! I looked at the N.P. website before I wrote that request. It changed the next day to "Open". Perhaps I'll ask about other detours and they'll open, too. :-)

I'm moving my start day from Cumberland up a day to Sunday 6/23 in hope that Bill's Place will be open and Jack Schoenadel will be there since it looks like it's usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays even in the summer.


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Which Camps have Hot Showers on the GAP & C&O
 -  + Planning on riding from Pittsburgh (leaving Wed 05-22-24) towards DC (arrival on Sunday 05-26-24). Which campsites have Hot Showers?
Discussion started 04/20/24 5:01:04 PM by Dany - 3 replies (last reply by Andy at 05/24/24 9:25:59 AM)
Dany from West Bloomfield Township, MI on 04/20/24 5:01:04 PM
Planning on riding from Pittsburgh (leaving Wed 05-22-24) towards DC (arrival on Sunday 05-26-24).
Which campsites have Hot Showers?


 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/20/24 8:38:55 PM
The following campgrounds have hot showers:

Gap Trail Campground - West Newton, PA
Uniontown KOA - Connellsville, PA
Outflow Campground - Confluence, PA
Ohiopyle State Park - Ohiopyle, PA
Maple Festival Campground - Meyersdale, PA
Frostburg Trail Inn - Frostburg, MD
Cumberland YMCA - Cumberland, MD
C&O Bicycle - Hancock, MD
Brunswick Family Campground - Brunswick, MD

These are all pay-to-stay outdoor camping facilities. I'm unaware of any free campgrounds with hot showers. The campgrounds themselves and other amenities vary from site to site.

Other forum contributors may know of others in case I missed them.





 
Crazy Hiker on 05/19/24 10:19:43 AM
I can only speak for the C&O since I've never been on the GAP.

None of the free hiker/biker campsites on the C&O have any type of shower facilities, and none of the drive-in sites along the towpath have showers either. The only amenities these sites have are water pumps, port o potty, table, and fire ring.

Only choice to clean up a bit is using the available water pump, or some of the places Rivnuts suggested. Note that at a lot of the sites, you have to pump the handle for a while before water comes out.

When I lived in Cumberland in the 90s and early 2000s, I biked the trail from Cumberland to the Paw Paw Tunnel every couple weeks, and the only pump that never worked for me was at the Potomac Forks site. It's been years since I've been there, so it's possible it could be working now. But always have back-up water with you in case a site doesn't have a functioning water pump.

Enjoy the ride!

 
Andy from Pittsburgh on 05/24/24 9:25:59 AM
Fort Frederick State Park (downstream from Hancock) has outdoor showers (rinse off station) at one of the buildings across from the fort. Not heated, but may be nice to access if you are staying at one of the nearby hiker-biker campgrounds.


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Quality Inn Spring Mills - Martinsburg North in Williamsport
 -  + Is the Quality inn Spring Mill an easy ride off trail?
Discussion started 05/18/24 6:44:47 PM by Chicken Little - 2 replies (last reply by Rivnuts at 05/19/24 12:04:05 PM)
Chicken Little from Albuquerque on 05/18/24 6:44:47 PM
Is the Quality inn Spring Mill an easy ride off trail?

 
Ray (webmaster) on 05/19/24 11:46:27 AM
I'm glad you asked about that! I haven't been there, but looking at the map I'm pretty sure it's not easy to get to on bike.

We check our listings against Google, based on proximity to the trail. And in fact the Quality Inn Spring Mills is not far from the trail - but it's on the wrong side of the Potomac River. You would have to go way out of your way to get to a river crossing and the backtrack to the hotel.

I am dropping that business from the listings, because it's not practical for cyclists. Like I said, Google can tell us that a business is close to the trail, but in this case Google didn't understand the geographic barrier of the river.

Hopefully you can find something good from the many lodging options on the Williamsport side of the river.

Happy trails....

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/19/24 12:04:05 PM
The easiest way to Martinsburg is by Amtrak. As Ray noted, getting there by bike from the C&O Towpath is not easy.

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