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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the C&O Canal Trail and/or Great Allegheny Passage.
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GAP or C&O
Lisa from Phoenix on 12/28/2021 01:58 PM

Our group of 6 is planning to ride the trails in Sept. 2022. Originally we planned the entire Pittsburgh to DC route. However, after consideration we decided to do one of the other.

For those of you who have experience with the trails, which do you consider the best and for what reasons?

I understand Whites Ferry is closed with no information about re-opening and causes a bit of re-routing at the end of the C&O.

Any information will be helpful.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 12/28/2021 04:05 PM
This is a well-travelled topic. In my opinion I’d ride the GAP from Pittsburgh to Cumberland if this is your first time on the trails unless you want to visit DC. The GAP trail is generally better condition particularly if you encounter rain. There is better access to water, food and lodging also.

Depending on construction progress it is also possible that the Paw Paw Tunnel may not have reopened making the C&O Towpath trip a little more difficult.

I’m sure others will have their opinions as well with other reasons.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 01/14/2022 11:52 AM

Rick from Grafton, Va on 01/16/2022 08:54 AM
If you have the time I'd rethink doing a complete route. The Gap is a great route but so is the C&O. The Gap is a bit more civilized but the C&O offers history and actually more overnight choices if staying indoors. Sure you have to push-a-bike over Paw Paw and and the Ferry crossing is a problem but you can adjust your daily travel to account for that. Cumberland to Hanock is appx. 60 miles and the section from Little Orleans is remote. Overnight options are a bit tough if your staying indoors. If camping less problems.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 01/16/2022 04:29 PM
To be clear and as others have noted, the C&O itself does not cross over the Potomac River so operation of Whites Ferry is not necessary to complete the trip from Cumberland to DC.

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Trail alerts and Closures
JB from Raleigh on 01/11/2022 09:55 AM
I am planning a trip and want to know where I can find the latest/current information on closures and trail alerts. Is there a central location/website? Is it on this comment thread? Please advise-Thanks

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 01/11/2022 10:52 AM
The GAP and C&O each have a website that cites the conditions/alerts for travel thereon. These are shown below. Updates to these sites are not instantaneous, however, so it is important to monitor forums and message boards such as this one to confirm or augment the listed conditions. Contributors to this and other forums along with the riders on the trails themselves provide the best current conditions and you would do well to check these forums and/or post questions to them as you get closer to and even during your trip.


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Whites ferry closing
Raven from Culpeper on 10/12/2021 08:34 AM
Hello all, I am going to be going on the C and O from Cumberland to DC at the end of the month, most of the plans are pretty solid at this point but had some concerns about the Whites Ferry closing. Is there anything that I need to know about it? Is there a pedestrian bridge to cross in its place or maybe a detour that is safe to take? Thanks for the impute.

Willy from Alexandria,VA on 10/12/2021 09:32 AM
Whites Ferry is still closed unfortunately.
No pedestrian or other bridge anywhere nearby.

Raven from Culpeper on 10/12/2021 10:44 AM
Willy, what did you end up doing to get over the river?

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/12/2021 11:29 AM
Bikerafting is your only option. :-)

Seriously, another poster to the forum stated that the Comfort Inn in Leesburg is offering their shuttle service from Point of Rocks if you were staying there overnight.

Willy from Alexandria,VA on 10/13/2021 06:47 PM
Well... the closest to reasonable crossing is Brunswick.

You can google a more scenic but less traffic route from Brunswick to Purcelville,Va without having to be on Berlin turnpike the entire way.

Then you are on the Washington & Old Dominion trail on the way to Washington DC. This trail crosses thru Leesburg.

Having said this it will test your lowest gear going up the hill from the bridge at Brunswick. That part you will be jousting with traffic.

Still less frantic than trying to cross at Point of Rocks (Route 15 bridge).

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/26/2021 10:51 AM
Irrespective of any ongoing efforts to politically regain the ferry service, there would be another obstacle for the ferry to return to operation. The ferry boat itself appears to be seriously damaged as it was apparently partially towed up the MD side approach ramp where it rests today with half the hull in the water and the half on the ramp. The hull appears badly buckled where the ramp enters the river. It is questionable if it could be easily repaired.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 10/26/2021 12:29 PM
That'll buff right out.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 11/18/2021 10:40 AM

I read the other day where the ferry is actually a combination of two barges so maybe that buckle in the middle I saw on the ramp was simple the joint between the two barges. If so, then indeed it may indeed "buff right out" and the ferry can be returned to service fairly quickly if a solution to the dispute can be found.

Jughead beauregard on 01/01/2022 10:56 AM
Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to cross White’s Ferry to go from Cumberland to DC. As a matter of fact if you do cross the Potomac your going the wrong direction.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 01/01/2022 01:09 PM
Indeed you don’t need to leave the C&O Towpath and cross the Potomac River on White’s Ferry to continue from Cumberland to DC. However, you may want to cross the river to visit or stay overnight in Leesburg or complete the trip to DC via the Washington and Old Dominion (WOD) Trail. In these cases, it is a good option which currently is not available.

Kirk R from Brunswick, MD on 01/06/2022 05:58 AM
You can always cross the potomac at brunswick, take the mostly dirt roads in loudoun county to the w&od, and head in to DC. There's a bit of paved road and the bridge across the potomac isn't the greatest if you're uncomfortable around cars but it's certainly doable.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 01/06/2022 08:57 AM
Kirk R:

Do you have or can you direct me to a Strava, Ridewithgps or Mapmyride route map of the route you describe from Brunswick through Loudon County to the WOD? I’ve ridden from the WOD in Purcellville to Harpers Ferry but not from/to Brunswick.

Willy from Alexandria,VA on 01/06/2022 09:25 AM
Rivnuts, I used Google maps with the bicycle icon routing to plot the route between Brunswick and Purcleville.

I don't remember any "dirt roads" on my travels between Brunswick and Purcelville. All roads were paved. Some were not pristine, but they were paved.

I also spent a little time looking at the route on the Google map with zooming in and out to somewhat familiarize myself with the route before riding so that I am not all wound up thinking I'm going to miss a turn somewhere. I don't like staring at my phone while riding.

Enjoy the ride!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 01/06/2022 04:27 PM

Thanks I'll look at the Google route. I was curious about the "dirt" roads in Loudon County albeit I don't know that I would travel them on my touring bike depending on their quality.

Kirk R from Brunswick, MD on 01/06/2022 06:41 PM
I would personally spend most of my time on mountain rd, which is a low traffic, nicely paved, road. It does have a good long climb on it, which is a big contrast from the tow path. Here's a route I made for someone (on this site, I think) and have used: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35184094

There are a lot of gravel/dirt roads in loudoun county. It's one of the things that part of the county it known for (and there are efforts to keep them unpaved). You can zoom in to loudoun county on this state-wide map to see some of it. I have not verified that it's accurate (I live here so I just ride and see). https://vdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=e4e9638690634fafae8bccb63abbee7c

Kirk R from Brunswick, MD on 01/06/2022 06:46 PM
Oops, I just posted up a route from brunswick to the W&OD that is more gravel/dirt. I meant to post one that takes mountain rd (a little further west than the route I posted). I should have looked at it more closely. I'll look through my routes and see if I have one already made with mountain rd on it.

There can be some pretty washboard sections on the gravel/dirt roads including towards the end of purcellville rd from the route I mistakenly posted... I ride them on 32mm tires but do prefer the 50mm ones I've got on one of my bikes.

Kirk R from Brunswick, MD on 01/06/2022 06:53 PM
Here's a route from brunswick to the w&od that is mostly paved: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38306515

You also have the option of staying on mountain rd into hillsboro and then taking 9 briefly before taking hillsboro rd into purcellville. There can be more traffic on hillsboro rd.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 01/06/2022 09:39 PM
Thank you

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 01/11/2022 10:40 AM
Below is a link to the latest AP article pertaining to the closure and status of Whites Ferry. Unfortunately, the article doesn't suggest any progress in the stalemate which is disappointing as we look forward to the 2022 touring season.


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Path conditions after winter storm?
Trail runner on 01/05/2022 10:44 AM
Hi all - has anyone been on the C&O path in the last 24 hours? Looking for a place to get a long run in (without using micro spikes) after this winter storm... and curious if the canal path is softer/less icy than sidewalks around the District.


Kirk R from Brunswick, MD on 01/06/2022 05:55 AM
We didn't really get any snow near Brunswick. We're supposed to get some tonight though.

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C & O trail from DC to Cumberland MD
PSR from Randolph NJ on 01/04/2022 05:29 PM
The only review I have seen was from 2007. Has anyone been there since? I want to ride the entire 185 miles this summer. Thanks.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 01/05/2022 06:48 PM
There is a vast wealth of information related to the C&O Towpath including this website, various blogs and YouTube channels with which to plan a trip. The Forum on this website has innumerable useful threads containing reviews of all sorts of aspects of the Towpath.

I've ridden the entire length of the Towpath (and the GAP) each of the last seven years. What type of information are you specifically looking for?

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Campsite reservations
J on 12/29/2021 03:44 PM
A group of about 10 of us are bikecamping the GAPCO from Pittsburgh to Richmond next June, and I am trying to figure out the recreation.gov campsites.

We each carry a small 1-person tent, so how many campsites should I reserve for this??

I see the notes for group campsites, but that seems to be for those coming with cars and more stuff.

Any guidance appreciated.!!!!

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 12/29/2021 10:33 PM
The Recreation.gov website does not appear to be the most useful in locating campsites along the GAP and C&O Towpath. In general, for the free campsites along both trails, there are no stipulated limits because there are no uniquely designated/numbered campsites within these. The one exception to this that comes to mind is Swain’s Lock H/B campsite near DC which has 5 numbered campsites.

For the pay-to-stay campsites it depends on the operator. These include private campgrounds (e.g. KOA/YMCA), state and federal parks (e.g. Corps of Engineers and National Park Service). The limits vary between these and you’d need to research/contact these for the answer to each.

The various webpages for each of these trails provide the best and most targeted resources to find the free and pay-to-stay campsites. I can provide some links to these if needed or specific options knowing your itinerary/overnight locations.

Edward from North Carolina on 12/30/2021 06:26 PM
Hi there,

If you look under the campsite details it will tell you the maximum occupants. Some may have 6 or 8 max. occupants, but I think you might be pressed to set up that many tents in the space that is provided.

The Spring Gap and Antietam Creek campgrounds on the C&O had plenty of space, so you could probably set up ten tents in two sites.

The Outflow Campground space was more limited so you might get three tents in the provided space.

It might be better for you to get a group campsite, I saw Scout Troops using those on my trip last year.

Have a great trip, Edward

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Uniontown KOA Holiday in Connellsville
Dan Hruska from San Carlos, CA on 12/24/2021 02:30 AM
hi, well never did stay here, but was biking on the GAP with my son end of March, and we were bonking and dry when we rode through this KOA. Unfortunately, it was closed seasonally, but in the 'cafe' we noticed a woman there doing some work (the owner?). We asked her if there was any water available, and she kindly filled our bottles up. She could have sent us packing but instead helped us out. Thanks again!

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Bill's Place in Little Orleans
Dan Hruska from San Carlos, CA on 12/24/2021 01:53 AM
Hi, came upon Bill's Place this past March while biking from PA to DC with my son. It was a great place to warm up, and soup was tasty, food hit the spot, and drink was gooood. Down to earth. Wonderful folks. Thanks for being there.

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Tagged: Bill's Place

Transport home along trail
YooperBoy from Wilmington, DE on 12/10/2021 12:59 PM
I saw a couple of questions and comments about how to arrange return trips from various points along the trail, and thought I would add my two cents.

What we learned is that it was far easier, and cheaper, to rent a U-Haul one way back to Wilmington, as opposed to a rental car of any size! Like, 1/3 as much! I recommend that option highly if you find yourself in a situation like we did.

My riding buddy and I started our GAP/C&O trip in September, and had a great experience for the first couple of days. This was our first tour, and we were riding with far too much gear, but the first three days were great. Pittsburgh to Connellsville, Connellsville to Rockwood, Rockwood to Cumberland. We started late and had slim pickings for dinner on a Sunday in Connellsville, spent too much time at Fallingwater outside of Ohiopyle and missed dinner completely in Rockwood - that town closes up early - and got to Cumberland with plenty of daylight left.

I began to have issues on the C&O trail, especially as the temperature climbed. I'm diabetic and wasn't doing a good job with my sugars, and ran into trouble right around Paw Paw. I got sagged by some new friends into Hancock, and thought all would be good the next day. However, we hit the detour around Taylors Landing (mile 89) and that nearly killed me. As we got back onto the trail, I fell further behind, winding up by myself just slogging toward our next stop in Harpers Ferry.

Around mile 74, I found myself alone in the woods at 8:15 pm, in darkness like an abandoned mine, with a flat front tire. I managed to replace my tube in the dark, then had the chain fall off. Once I was finally back on my bike, nearing the point of exhaustion but still moving, it began to rain! I just kept plugging away, and caught up to my buddy at the campground at Antietam Creek, where he had taken shelter with Gary, the manager (an outstanding human being!!). We got a call from our friends asking where we were, and they came and got us, taking us into Harpers Ferry about 10:30 and again missing anything to eat.

It was at that point where we both decided we had bitten off more than we could chew, and it was time to call the ball, hence our U-Haul rental.

We learned a lot from the ride, and are starting to look towards our next attempt - when both the Paw Paw and Taylors Landing detours are completed!

Bill in Houston from Houston on 12/10/2021 06:32 PM
One of the things I always say, and I worry that people think I am being petty, is that you absolutely have to know how and where you are going to eat. These little towns ain't like the big cities that a lot of us live in.

You guys were banging out the mileage. It's a shame that the wheels kind of fell off. Thanks for the post.

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C&O and GAP May 2022
Chris from Chicago on 12/09/2021 04:50 PM
Planning Pittsburgh to Great Falls/DC in mid May. Six days, hotels, restaurants, no camping. Anyone planning a similar ride? Advice?

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 12/09/2021 07:56 PM
I'm not currently planning the trip you've outlined, i.e. Pittsburgh to Great Falls (aka Seneca) over six days but have made a handful of trips between Pittsburgh and DC in recent years. Hence if I were making your trip a couple of itinerary options you might consider with daily mileage listed are as follows:

00 Pittsburgh
46 Perryopolis
58 Rockwood
44 Cumberland
60 Hancock
52 Shepherdstown
58 Great Falls (Seneca)

00 Pittsburgh
59 Connellsville
57 Meyersdale
60 Paw Paw
57 Williamsport
45 Brunswick
31 Great Falls (Seneca)

You can look under the "Towns and Services" tab in this forum for lodging and restaurant options in each of the overnight destinations. I've stayed and eaten at several of them. Depending on budget and preferences your choices may be quite different from mine.

I'm sure others will have some other suggestions as well.

May is a great month to make the trip. Not too hot and not too cold and accommodations are a little easier to get before the peak summer touring season.

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Big Savage Tunnel Closure
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 11/15/2021 11:20 PM
The GAP Trail website reports that the Big Savage tunnel will close for the winter season on December 6. There is no detour.

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Transportation Connellsville to meyersdale nov 22
Nw from Baltimore on 11/12/2021 10:28 AM
Hey everyone! I am doing the full 350 in late November and my mom will join for one day. Does anyone have any reccomendations for transport from Connellsville to meyersdale for her? I reached out to wilderness voyagers but they are closed for the season. Thank you so much!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 11/12/2021 08:58 PM
I don't know a specific shuttle operator to recommend around Connellsville but I might suggest you query the bike shop in Connellsville for possible shuttles from there. They can be reached at:

Bikes Unlimited
(724) 628-2453

Edward from North Carolina on 11/14/2021 09:43 PM
Might try these folks https://www.alleghenytrailhouse.com/shuttle/

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Lock #05 in Bethesda
Anonymous on 11/13/2021 09:55 PM
We wanted to go to lock 5 towpath to walk. our gps
didn't get us to the way to get there. We got off the parkway
and asked people in neighborhood It was to high up to safely
walk down below. We could see the lower area but struggled and gave up and went to lock 7.

Help to clarify to get to lower section

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Tagged: Lock #05

Transportation Connellsville to meyersdale nov 22
Nw from Baltimore on 11/12/2021 11:02 AM
Hey everyone! I am doing the full 350 in late November and my mom will join for one day. Does anyone have any reccomendations for transport from Connellsville to meyersdale for her? I reached out to wilderness voyagers but they are closed for the season. Thank you so much!

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Detours Point of Rocks to DC?
R on 11/10/2021 10:40 AM
Is there any detour on the C&O from the Point of Rocks trailhead to Washington DC? I was driving on the Clara Barton highway and the road was closed after Cabin John. Since the trail is close by I am wondering if the trail is closed there also.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/10/2021 09:49 PM
There were no detours in that area when I rode through there 3 weeks ago. There are no Towpath detours listed in that area on the NPS C&O webpage either.

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Team Novelty Act from Pennellville on 11/02/2021 01:55 PM
Planning a one way from Pittsburgh to DC this spring on our tandem with a trailer. Any suggestions for getting our bike/trailer to Pittsburg for the start?

Bill in Houston from Houston on 11/02/2021 03:54 PM
Rent a car. The train won't take trailers or tandems, they say.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 11/02/2021 04:56 PM
Amtrak’s prohibition of tandems stems from the fact that their special cars for bikes have hanging racks for the bikes that would not accommodate larger/longer tandem bikes. However, the last few return trips that I’ve made on the train did not have that unique bike transport car. They just used one of their baggage cars and had me lean my bike up against the wall of the car or lay it down on the floor. The bikes shared the car with other baggage. Those baggage cars could haul a tandem but I guess they don’t know what type of car will be used to transport bikes on each train for any given route so they just prohibit tandem reservations altogether which is unfortunate.

With a dearth of rental cars available at many locations, you may have to employ a shuttle service to get you back to Pittsburgh. Neither the rental car nor the shuttle service is cheap.

Sarge P from Sarasota, Fl. on 11/04/2021 09:41 AM
I rode the same trip this past summer. In DC/Arlington, I stayed at the Hampton Inn just west of the Reagan Airport. The hotel shuttled me and the bike to the airport (5 minutes, and a tip to the driver) where I had reserved a pick-up truck from Hertz for the one-way rental trip back to Pittsburgh. The total cost for the rental was $223.10. It worked out perfectly and was well worth the price. I hope this helps in your planning.

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Team Novelty Act from Pennellville on 11/02/2021 12:35 PM
Planning a one way from Pittsburgh to DC this spring on our tandem with a trailer. Any suggestions for getting our bike/trailer to Pittsburg for the start?

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