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Fall in Ohiopyle
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Trail Conditions after Ida
 - 
Buddy from Florida on 09/06/2021 03:56 PM
Hopefully someone can povide some information on the trail conditions from Cumberland to Washington DC after hurricane Ida--we are arriving in two weeks--any current information is appreciated

 
1st Time through riders from Bethesda on 09/16/2021 05:15 PM
We are on AMTRAK now coming back from our DC to Pittsburgh ride. We left on 9/7. Trail good except for the detours at mile 88.1 and at the PawPaw tunnel. They actually finally cleared trees between Hancock and Cumberland that had been across the trail since mid-August. C&O muddy when it rained on us of course, but that was it.

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Obligatory “Is the Paw Paw tunnel open?”
 - 
BigEv from Pittsburgh on 07/11/2021 09:42 PM
Will be riding from Cumberland to Hancock on Wednesday 7/14 - anyone know the latest on the Paw Paw tunnel closure? It seems like up to this point that it’s been passable, any update on if that’s changed in the last few days?

 
BZ from Hesperus CO on 07/14/2021 12:54 AM
We are be riding thru on Thursday July 22. Any word on status of Paw Paw Tunnel? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/14/2021 03:03 PM
Still open. Plan on going through and avoid the detour.

Make sure to ask all passers-by as you approach the tunnel if they went through, they’ll have the latest. I must have had 10 people tell me to go through and ignore the detour.

John

 
BigEv from Pittsburgh on 07/14/2021 06:35 PM
I breezed right through today, no issues

 
BZ from Hesperus CO on 07/15/2021 12:26 AM
Thanks for feedback.

 
AM from PA on 07/23/2021 10:55 PM
Tunnel section is wide open. I went through two days ago (7/21) and there is no construction, nor any construction equipment set up. My guess is because MD DOT is rehabilitating the MD-51 bridge over the towpath (about a half a mile south of the south tunnel entrance), that the NPS has decided to postpone the tunnel scaling project until the bridge work is complete. In any event, the tunnel section is wide open so there is no need to go up and over.

 
Rey from Concord Ma on 07/26/2021 07:09 PM
It’s the 26th and we just went through the tunnel- no problems. Going west there are signs saying it’s closed and some detour signs, but it’s not. They may have already done the work they planned on doing. From what a local said. Enjoy!!

 
Rey from Concord Ma on 07/27/2021 11:39 AM
It’s the 26th and we just went through the tunnel- no problems. Going west there are signs saying it’s closed and some detour signs, but it’s not. They may have already done the work they planned on doing. From what a local said. Enjoy!!

 
SleepU56 from Richmond, va on 08/01/2021 01:59 PM
Planning a 4-day ride from Cumberland to DC in a party of 9. Mixed experienced riders. Curious about PawPaw tunnel, of course, but wonder about challenging stretches. Thankful for any input. Travel dates 9/26-9/30.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 08/01/2021 03:32 PM
Tunnel has been open all summer so plan on ignoring the detour and just go through. As you are approaching the tunnel, ask passers by if they went through, they will know.

The most challenging stretch is Cumberland to Hancock. I classify it as rustic and remote. It’s basically old mule paths. If it’s rained in the last few days there will be puddles and mud slicks. You will get a bit muddy. They’ve begun resurfacing at Shepherstown so it has the crushed limestone rail trail type surface which is much nicer.

Don’t forget, you can hop on the Western Maryland Rail Trail at Little Orleans which parallels the C&O for 27 miles and is paved. After Mile 1 of the WMRT be on the lookout for Ernstville Rd. Turn right, go 100 yards to the dirt path, that puts you back on the C&O.

John

 
Shaena from Pittsburgh on 08/03/2021 10:26 AM
Hi, just trying to make sure we don't get stuck when we try to ride through next week with our kid -- if the Paw Paw tunnel does close, is the detour trail doable with a Burley trailer? We are experienced cyclists but would have trouble with our setup if it's rocky singletrack.
Thanks!

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 08/03/2021 05:54 PM
Hi Shaena: I guess single track is how others have described it. In fact, most say you cant even ride *down* it. If you take the detour you will be pushing your bike and all the weight up the hill and walking down with the brakes on. :-)

Definitely rocky but doable. I wouldn’t worry though, the tunnel has been open all summer. Good luck!

 
LPD from Hyattsville on 08/25/2021 12:57 PM
Any updates on the status of towpath near the PawPaw Tunnel? The Tunnel Bypass Trail sounds terrible and we'd like to avoid pushing our bikes for an hour. Is there a way to go around on the road (Rt 51, Malcolm Rd, Tunnel Hill Rd) and reenter the canal around lock 64 or 65 (traveling from Cumberland to Hancock)?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 08/28/2021 08:08 PM
For what it is worth as I was riding away from Pittsburgh today I asked some self-supported riders approaching Pittsburgh if they had gone through the Paw Paw Tunnel. They responded "no", that they had to "go around" the Tunnel. I presume "around" meant up and over the Tunnel Bypass Trail. However I did not have the opportunity to ask if the Towpath near the tunnel was truly closed or that they saw the signs ahead of the construction area and chose to take the bypass trail before actually getting to the construction area. Of course this info isn't a definitive answer to the question but reinforces the usefulness of obtaining current and accurate status of the Towpath to adequately plan trips through that area at this time. I'll provide additional information should I come across it.

 
Ray from Millville nj on 08/28/2021 11:17 PM
Just got back home today, I followed the signs for the paw paw detour... light weight ride at around 35lbs bike and gear and was pretty brutal in this heat.... I did just outside dc to Pittsburgh in 4 days and this was the hardest day even though I was able to ride down....stayed in Cumberland and as I was leaving spoke to others who did the tunnel....that hurt LOL

Great trip! Can’t wait to do it again slower, only negative was so many of the c&o water pumps were out of commission...dry or no handle to pump. Super humid and well above 90 so it was pretty stressful not knowing about water. The last water station before the pawpaw is great, cool and really clear, fill some empties or a water bag in addition to your bottles if you have to do the detour

 
Art on 09/13/2021 09:56 AM
My wife and I just completed (Sunday, September 12) a thru hike of the entire 184.5 miles. We went through the tunnel on Saturday morning September 11.

There are two locked barriers, but if you are in decent shape you can reach around them and pull yourself by on the canal side. Bikers will likely need a partner to pass their bikes to over the tops. We wore our backpacks when going around the barriers. Again, if you are not in particularly good shape or simply afraid of losing your grip and falling in the canal, you will be better off with the detour.

We would not have gone around except for the fact that there is no danger in the tunnel. In fact, if you approach from the West there are signs actually stating that while you cannot go all the way through, the tunnel is open to visitors. You can walk the entire length of the tunnel from the west until you come to the barriers on the east, neither of which is actually in the tunnel.

Not sure what the barriers are even for?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/13/2021 06:58 PM
I didn't see this post when I asked the question about the detour. Was there any construction going on or construction personnel around once you got past the barriers?

 
Art on 09/14/2021 08:57 AM
Rivnuts, there were no workers nor any signs of construction. That being said, it was a Saturday morning.

 
Daniel on 09/14/2021 12:35 PM
It takes mere seconds to check the NPS website to see why that part of the Paw Paw tunnel has locked barriers.

They are removing existing debris remaining from a recent rockslide, stabilizing the rock face adjacent to the canal, and replacing the wooden boardwalk that serves as the towpath for a portion of this stretch.

First, there were just signs saying that end is closed. Now they have put in multiple locked barriers. If people keep ignoring the barriers to enter the rockslide zone, they'll post a guard next. Once they tear out the wooden boardwalk to replace it, how will you get around that? Whether it's two people ignoring barriers at Paw Paw or thousands ignoring barriers at the Capitol Building, they're all the reason why we can't keep nice things.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 09/14/2021 04:16 PM
The problem has been that the NPS website announced the closure of the Towpath downriver of the tunnel last November but no work had begun until, perhaps, the last few days. This has led to much confusion.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/16/2021 03:34 PM
Yeah, when you lie to me, the contract is pretty much over.

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Whites ferrry lodging MD to DC
 - 
ThadCH from Bath OH on 09/15/2021 10:20 PM
Heading Cumberland to DC, planned mile-wise to stay in Leesburg, ferry is closed. Where can we stay??? TIA

 
TC from Tucson on 09/16/2021 02:27 PM
You can stay at the Comfort Inn in Leesburg. They offer a shuttle service from Point of Rocks. Call them to make arrangements.

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Whites ferrry lodging MD to DC
 - 
ThadCH from Bath OH on 09/15/2021 08:21 PM
Heading Cumberland to DC, planned mile-wise to stay in Leesburg, ferry is closed. Where can we stay??? TIA

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 - 
stephen difeliciantonio from Columbus ga on 09/14/2021 10:41 PM
Plan on parking at Reagan airport and riding our bikes to the Amtrak station in DC and then riding the train to cumberland. I saw the Mt Vernon trail at Reagan Airport but not sure it goes all the way to Amtrack station? Any suggestions?

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 09/14/2021 11:19 PM
You’ll be on Mount Vernon trail for a short bit but then exit and get on the George Mason Memorial Bridge (sidewalk that parallels I-395) and then navigate through the mall area to Union Station.

Google Maps bicycle mode is pretty accurate.

Along the Mount Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point, stop to watch the planes land or take off right over your head!

John

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 - 
stephen difeliciantonio from Columbus ga on 09/14/2021 10:27 PM
riding the canal from cumberland to dc next week

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Electrical outlets at picnic areas?
 - 
Shaena from Pittsburgh on 08/04/2021 03:18 PM
Kind of a strange question, but it doesn't look like this has been asked before -- do you know if there are easily-accessible electrical outlets at any of the "picnic areas" along the side of the GAP or C&O? My husband will be using our low-powered e-bike to tow our son in a trailer next week, and while we hope to not use much battery, it would be good to know if there are potential recharge points for when we stop to eat! (the bike+trailer takes up a lot of space so I doubt we could bring it inside any cafes or anything)

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 08/04/2021 07:09 PM
First of alll there are no outlets at any of the Hiker/Biker trail side campsites along the C&O that I am aware of. Electrical outlets are available There are outlets on the Meyersdale Maple Festival stage. There is one or more outdoor receptacles on the Service Building at the Connellsville trail side camp site. The KOA in Adelaide near Connellsville has electrical sites. While I know there are indoor outlets at the Husky Haven Camp office in Rockwood, I expect there are some outdoor receptacles there as well. But note that office is not in the campgrounds however.

These are some of the ones I know of. A more stealthy , but less savory, option is to look for outdoor receptacles on service stations, convenience stores, parks, banks, etc.

I’m sure others will know of still more options.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 08/05/2021 04:11 PM
I'd take an extension cord and choose the "less savory" option when needed. Charge up from an exterior outlet whenever you stop for a soda or lunch or ice cream...

If it feels like stealing, give the person inside 5 cents. That would be about double the actual price of electricity.

Oh, also, be aware that some towns are right on the trail, and some are a pretty spicy distance away. Connellsville, right on it. Perryopolis, quite a hike.

 
Chris on 09/14/2021 01:05 PM
Or you can just look for the closest Sheetz store in the trail town. They've got electrical outlets at every indoor seat. Not just normal plugs but two USB ports in the same outlet as well, so you can charge your phone without using up any of the other plug slots. They're open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, so you can get made to order food whenever you get off the trail. They have free fast wifi which is better than slow patchy wifi found at B&Bs with less IT support.

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Long distance
 - 
Hh on 09/03/2021 01:18 PM
We are on a tour with no sag wagon. We are riding 60 miles each day and we are a bit worried about the distance. Are there shuttles or taxi that can pick us up if we are too tired to bike to our next hotel?

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 09/03/2021 02:39 PM
Can you give us some more info about your trip? Where are your start and end points? Have you done these distances before or are new to bicycle touring? Based on your post have you already begun your trip?

There are shuttles but they won’t be cheap. I would only do that if your are in dire straights or in an emergency. If 60 miles is leaving you concerned, maybe just do 40-50? Remember you’re going to be riding from breakfast to dinnertime so you have many hours to do those miles. You can take meal/water/sightseeing stops to break it up. You’ll be surprised the variety of people and body types who manage to do 60…young, old, heavy, light, no experience, etc. just try to enjoy the scenery and that your not at work/home. It seems a lot but the miles will go by. Making to town/camp is a great feeling and sense of accomplishment.

 
Sarah from Denver on 09/04/2021 03:00 PM
We’re about to head out on C&O tomorrow, unsure if conditions so I got a couple of names of folks who shuttle from the GAP/C&O Enthusiasts FB page lots of good info there. Daniel Kaminski in Paw Paw 304-671-5153, Gregory Stocksdale 240-674-7626.

 
hh from ANCHORAGE on 09/05/2021 03:00 PM
No we don't start the trip until mid October. I have been on other bike tours but on a road bike and shorter distances. Hopefully I'll get in much better shape this next month. But its good to know there are shuttle services!

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 09/05/2021 04:50 PM
Good to hear HH. Make sure to carry a light(s), it will be getting darker much sooner in mid October.

John

 
Matt from Charlotte on 09/06/2021 08:19 PM
if you can ride 40, you can ride 60. take breaks. pay attention to your calorie intake & hydration. eating and sleeping enough to recover each night is important. don't take it for granted

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/13/2021 11:40 AM
Eat eat eat. Matt got it right. Put in all that your stomach can hold. This is not the time to say, "oh I hope I can lose a few pounds." Just one guy's opinion.

 
Chris on 09/14/2021 12:46 PM
For the price of a shuttle, you could put a hub motor on your normal bike and use that when you get tired.

(Hub motors are cheaper, less complicated and more durable than mid-drives: https://ebikes.ca/learn/why-hub-motors-are-awesome.html )

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Just Finished a Thru Hike—-Happy to Answer Questions
 - 
Art on 09/13/2021 05:09 PM
My wife (54) and I (55) just finished backpacking the entire 184.5 miles. This was our first thru hike of any magnitude and we thought it would be a good place to start.

We started off fast (100 miles in 5 days) and took 11 days overall.

We tented for 7 nights (including getting flooded by rising Potomac (Hurricane Ida remnants) and 4 nights in B&Bs/hotel.

Happy to answer any questions about detours, restaurants, B&Bs etc!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/13/2021 06:55 PM
Which direction did you hike the C&O? What are your observations of the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass trail? Where did you get flooded by the Potomac? What B&B's did you stay at? Any you would not recommend?

 
Art on 09/14/2021 09:09 AM
Rivnuts, I replied on the other thread re: Paw Paw.

We hiked from DC to Cumberland.

We were flooded at Swain’s Lock campsite the day after Ida went through DC. I think the sites are perfectly safe, we just made a rookie mistake by camping very close to the water, in a lower lying area, the day after heavy rain.

We stayed at the following B&Bs:

Williamsport—-Bay Farms. Nice place, nice rooms, self serve breakfast which was good. Would stay again. Owner Jessie was very responsive to texts. Ate dinner at Tony’s Pizza…typical pizza/pasta/sandwich joint, right across street. Beer/wine and good food.

Hancock—-1828 Trail Inn. Nice place. Only 3 rooms. Owner Joe Decker was one of the most genuinely kind people ever. Fantastic hot breakfast, served in courses by Joe. Very good place. The restaurant we wanted to go to was not open on Wed and we decided to eat Subway.

Little Orleans—-Town Hill B&B. We loved this place. We stopped at the famous Bill’s Place for beer and food, and called Town Hill for their shuttle service ($6 pp each way). Lovely Inn, very nice grounds, incredible hilltop views. Amazing self serve breakfast with a number of hot, prepared dishes, including “Biker Beans” which was a mixture of beans served hot for a great carb load,

We would happily stay at all three places again.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/14/2021 09:56 AM
Art, thanks for your reply. I've camped at Swain's Lock albeit further up the hill closer to the trail. Indeed those campsites closer to the river are more scenic but, as you noted, are more susceptible to high river water.

I've stayed at Town Hill albeit under previous ownership. (AT that time the proprietor's daughter was talking of buying him out and maybe she did.) It's good to hear it has been maintained well. It sounds like the previous proprietor's famous "tomato pie" has been replaced by the "biker beans". Curiously, we didn't pay an extra fee for the shuttle when I stayed there but I would have easily paid it to avoid having to ride my loaded bike up there.

I have not stayed at Bay Farms nor the 1828 Trail Inn but have read good reviews for both. I'll have to try them out.

 
Art on 09/14/2021 10:17 AM
The “tomato pie” is still there! Alas, we have started a plant based diet so we did not sample it, but it was a hit wit others.

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Train Station to Hotel
 - 
Mosovich from North Augusta on 09/13/2021 11:01 PM
Hey guys, any route advice going from the train station to the Holiday Inn Southside on 10th street?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/14/2021 09:25 AM
My advice depends on your level of aversion to riding on city streets and sidewalks. First of all, if you are very risk averse, then I would not recommend any of three routes that Google Maps provides when entering Union Station as your origin and the Holiday Inn in Southside as your destination. The shortest Google-offered route is, in my opinion, the sketchiest. That said downtown Pittsburgh traffic is not NYC, Chicago or other major metropolitan city traffic and, with normal caution, can be ridden on a bike.

I'll suggest two different options. The first will minimize the amount of city streets to traverse and provide some scenic views of Pittsburgh and the second would be the route I would choose to ride through town, across the river to and through Southside.

The following is a Ride With GPS map link for the scenic and least/safest city street route. It takes you to and along the riverfront trails along the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela Rivers through Point State Park. You can see the Convention Center, PNC Park, Point State Park, Heinz Field the Carnegie Science Center and the Inclines as well as downtown. Also you'll ride right over the medallion citing the beginning of the Ohio River and the literal beginning of the GAP trail. You have to get onto the sidewalk along 11th Street at Waterfront Drive to get down to the riverfront trail along the Allegheny River and ride up the switchback ramp along the Monongahela River to get up to the Smithfield Street Bridge sidewalk. The ride from the Smithfield Street Bridge over to Bingham Street and the Holiday Inn may be challenging to follow but watch for other riders going that way as there is usually a stream of people coming into or leaving town through Southside to help guide you there or just ask another biker. If you've never been to Pittsburgh before, this is the route to take.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37501307

The link below is the route across downtown rather than around it. Its shorter but takes you on more downtown streets including Grant Street which is arguably the busiest street downtown. However, you can ride on the sidewalks (Yeah I know its "illegal") and stay off the street itself if you choose. (You won't get arrested.) The route from the Smithfield Street Bridge (sidewalk) to the Holiday Inn is the same as the previous route.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37501635

Ok, that's my advice but as always its only as good as it cost. :-)






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Pittsburgh Departure
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/13/2021 07:08 PM
I'm planning to start my annual bikepacking trip to DC on Thursday 9/23. If anyone is leaving Pittsburgh on that date as well and wants some company leaving town, leave a reply on this forum and we'll see if we can cross paths on the trail out of town.

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Lodging near White's Ferry, or Great Falls with access to trail
 - 
Ron from Annapolis, Md on 09/13/2021 05:25 PM
I plan to meet another rider who is starting at Bethesda. I'm looking for lodging I can ride to the trail near Bethesda, Great Falls, or White's Ferry. I understand the White's Ferry is closed.
Any suggestions welcome.

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