C&O Home  GAP Home
The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

C&O / GAP Forum

Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the C&O Canal Trail and/or Great Allegheny Passage.
Display format:
Expanded (see all replies)
Contracted (starting posts and reply counts)
Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
Page: 1 2 ... 96
Rick from Greenock, PA on 06/14/2021 11:48 AM
Does anyone know if you can park at the Williamsport lot overnight? Do you have to register to do so?


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/14/2021 09:16 PM

I don’t know the answer to your question but I expect you can get a quick answer from the Williamsport C&O Canal Visitor Center located along the Canal. There is a large parking lot there that is not normally very crowded. The Visitor Center can be reached at:

(301) 582-0813

The Center is reported to be closed on Mondays and Tuesday’s so you may need to wait a day to reach them.

Rick from Greenock, PA on 06/14/2021 11:33 PM
Thanks. Will call before we go.

share share this thread

Overnight to Harpers Ferry
Rick from Greenock,PA on 06/13/2021 06:45 PM
My wife and I are taking an overnight trip to Harpers Ferry this week. We plan to park our car in Downsville,MD and taking our bikes about 35 miles. We are staying at the Ledgehouse B&B, and coming back the next day. Breakfast is covered, but I’d like some advice on lunch in Shepherdstown, and dinner in Harpers Ferry. Also, any “don’t miss” sights.

Also for some reason Google Maps keep taking me off the C&O near Mercersville. Is there any reason for that?

Thanks for the help


Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 06/14/2021 05:55 AM
My favorite eatery midday in Sbepherdstown is the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop on West German (the main) Street. While their pastries are their calling card, and deservedly so, you can get sandwiches and coffee their as well. If you are looking for more substance for your lunch, another eatery may be more to your liking.

share share this thread

Family Trip
T from Louisiana on 06/07/2021 11:27 AM
During planning for our family ride Pitt to DC, I didnt find a lot of info about younger riders completing the trip. We just did it and our 11 year old had a blast. If there are other families looking into this and want to see a video of our week long adventure, see youtube link below.


Sallie from Lockport NY on 06/09/2021 03:53 PM
Thank you for sharing your wonderful video!
Brought back a lot of memories.

share share this thread

Bay Farms B&B in Williamsport
Erin from Washington, PA on 06/07/2021 06:28 PM
Jessie and Bay Farms B&B are AMAZING!!! My 16 year old son and 77 year old father ended up in a pickle near Williamsport! Not only was Jessie able to go grab them off the trail for me, but she was able to give me a check in and text me back as to how they were doing!!! After a long day in the sun with some bike issues - all was well and both were fine - nothing a little rest, food, water and a good nights sleep couldn’t cure! She was SO helpful, I cannot say enough good things. Such a relief - especially to a worried mother/daughter feeling helpless back in PA near Pittsburgh!!! The report back to me about the stay at the B&B was that it was just as amazing as the owners! If Williamsport is one of your stops for the night…stay here - they are WONDERFUL!!!!

Sallie from Lockport NY on 06/09/2021 03:30 PM
We stayed at Bay Farms in June 2020 and also had a great experience. Would highly recommend.

share share this thread

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!

Anonymous on 04/12/2021 08:36 PM
I live about 4 miles from the trail at Homestead and helped someone out years ago with parking before the trail actually made its way all the way to downtown Pittsburgh. The streets around here are safe (I've never seen a break-in, although anything is possible) for street parking, and there are some streets that do not have street cleaning.

If you park at the airport, there is a trail that goes all the way out there and connects to the GAP in McKeesport, although there are some road sections on that trail as well as 4-5 miles between the two trails. https://montourtrail.org/

Anonymous on 04/18/2021 04:51 PM
thank you!!!
We are still investigating down town stay and paid parking in one of the overnight ramps (grant street for example). this way we can start the trail at the park instead of having to skip the first several miles (by starting in Homestead) or doubling back (if we are very intent on "doing the whole thing"). Anyone have info on the safety of the overnight ramps downtown? --the pittburgh parking authority advertises two overnight/ long term ramps. one is Grant street and the other escapes me now. Thank you!!!!

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 04/18/2021 07:34 PM
Here’s one thing to consider that might make you think about staying in Homestead. If your intent is “doing the whole trail” (most of us do), one way you could approach this is to check into your hotel in Homestead the afternoon/evening you arrive, drop off all your gear, and ride light and leisurely to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. Find the medallion which is the terminus of the trail, then ride back to your hotel. You could now consider this the beginning of your ride.

Yes technically you’re doubling back but you’ve done it with no gear and also knowing you don’t have to do big miles on this day. I think it’s 9 miles out and 9 miles back. Then in the morning, just start from your hotel and get on the GAP where you left off and begin your journey to DC. You've knocked out the first nine or so miles, all on paved asphalt, and still covered every inch of the GAP so far.

Also leaving your car at your hotel in Homestead is free and that’s a plus. It just depends what you think is better/easier for you. Just something to consider!

I’m sorry that I have nothing to add about the downtown ramps as I’ve never used them for overnights.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/18/2021 09:21 PM
I'm not aware of a Pittsburgh Parking Authority garage (ramp?) on Grant Street per se'. However there is one whose entry is on Penn Avenue at/above the Greyhound bus station about a block off Grant Street and maybe only two blocks from the Amtrak train station. (Not sure how you are getting back to Pittsburgh from DC.) Of all the downtown garages, that one may be the most active/used since foot traffic in the garages around the downtown offices is much less with the pandemic. Hence, it may well be the safest of all the downtown garages.

Another thought is perhaps to look at hotels across the Monongahela River from downtown in the so-called Southside area of Pittsburgh. There's a Sheraton and a Holiday Inn Express there with outdoor gated parking areas. I don't know what their parking rates are however. Like the hotels in Homestead, they may let you park there for much less if you stay there for a night as both are not very busy now. In each case you are just a short bike ride across either the Fort Pitt Bridge or the Smithfield Street Bridge to get over to Point State Park and the beginning of the GAP Trail at the convergence of the three rivers.

Here's another option depending on your interest and schedule. If you'd like to stay and park at one of the Homestead hotels, I'd be more than happy to take you, your bikes (maximum of two with my bike rack) and your gear from Homestead where I live to Point State Park downtown to begin your trip. The catch is that I'll be riding across Georgia one week and on an Ohio trip another in June. So it would depend on when you arrive in Pittsburgh. If its while I'm home, I'd be more than happy to make that happen.

Kurt from St Paul, MN on 05/10/2021 11:21 PM
I know I'm a month late answering but just in case you see this I thought I'd give my perspective.

I parked at the Homestead Holiday Inn Express last year with no problems. I parked my truck conspicuously in the front lot and backed so the front was facing the main door. I also checked twice to make sure absolutely nothing was visible in the cab. Thieves look for change, electronics, and will sometimes take a chance on clutter.

I think you'll be fine if you use some street smarts! I'll be doing the ride again this June. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous on 05/11/2021 07:53 AM
thank you!

Anonymous on 05/11/2021 10:27 PM
hi and Thank you Rivnuts! Really kind of you to offer a ride and thank you for all of your advise! We have figured out our dilemma and a solution that we are happy with. Now we just look forward to the ride! Enjoy yours!

Kathye on 06/09/2021 12:33 PM
Just a follow-up, Courtyard Pittsburgh West Homestead/Waterfront said you can park your car there for as long as you need (I mentioned 1-2 weeks) and said "no problem" when asked. As of today their rates are somewhat less than Hampstead Inn but still near the GAP. I just made a reservation and plan to ride to DC and back. Does anyone have experience with them?

share share this thread

Layton Bridge in Perryopolis
Rick Hancock from Grafton, Va on 06/01/2021 07:34 PM
If your a fan of the FX series Justified you'll recognize the Layton Bridge from the 1st season/1st episode "Fire In he Hole" If you travel across the river and take a right you'll come to the Buffalo Bill House from "Silence Of The Lambs". #8 Circle St.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 06/04/2021 12:44 PM
When we stopped through back in October, the inn keeper told us about that. She also said that Jason Momoa had bought a house in town. Fun stuff for a tiny town.

share share this thread

WEBS from IMPERIAL on 05/26/2021 12:18 PM
Does anyone know the best way to get back to pittsburgh from dc? Me and my cousin doing the trip in June and having a tough time finding a way back. Amtrack is booked, Greyhound does not take bikes. Rental cars with bike racks are not easy to find.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/26/2021 07:18 PM
Consider renting an full-size SUV or a van without a bike rack. I believe you could get both bikes inside these especially if you remove the wheels. I transport my bike for long trips in the back seat of my Lumina sedan by removing the wheels which is easy to do.

Indy Rider from Indianapolis on 05/28/2021 11:22 AM
If you shop around the internet, there are several outfits that provide shuttle services. They are all going to be cheaper for larger groups. Four our group of 10, it ended up being slightly less expensive than the train, and will deliver us directly to where our cars are parked.

Anonymous on 06/02/2021 07:56 PM
we rented a minivan and it worked just fine, but we booked months in advance. I hear there is a shortage of rental cars/ vans currently. I heard another trail rider recently comment that they had rented a u haul, having been unable to find a rental car. likely this is a little less expensive than a car as well. the train is super slow and the shuttles we checked into were quite expensive (understandably as it is a full days work for someone).

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 06/02/2021 08:05 PM
Glad the minivan worked! Yeah the shuttles are best when the cost is divided by 3-4 people.

Seems like everyone is gearing up to travel this summer so a rental shortage (and subsequent higher prices) doesnt surprise me at all.

I got my Amtrak Bike Ticket booked but I reserved it like 2-3 months ago.

WEBS from IMPERIAL on 06/04/2021 10:19 AM
Thanks for the input. Paying my son to come get me and bring me back to Pittsburgh. No rental cars available and uhaul is sold out.

share share this thread

Bill's Place in Little Orleans is OPEN (irregular hours)
John Walker from Little Orleans on 05/28/2021 04:03 PM
Heads up fellow bicyclist and outdoor adventurist, the infamous Bill's Place in the heart of bustling downtown Little Orleans, MD (MP 141) are OPEN FOR BUSINESS! They are CLOSED every Tuesday and Wednesday, and they don't serve Breakfast. The grill normally closes early, around seven or eightish depending upon the crowd. The best days to catch them open is during the weekend, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Remember, this is a Cash-Only-Establishment so plan accordingly. There is an ATM on the premises but you will have to pay a fee! On a somewhat related topic, Bill Place is FOR SALE and has been since 2019. Jack Schoenadel and his wife want to retire.

share share this thread

Little Orleans Lodge in Little Orleans
Mary Huebner on 04/29/2021 06:17 PM
Hello John Walker,

Thank you for your very nice commentary in the Cumberland Times-News today. A few friends sent it to me. I was married to Steve (and still am alive!!). Your comments were so nice, and greatly appreciated.

Mary Huebner

John Walker from Little Orleans on 05/28/2021 03:36 PM
Good to hear from you, Mary. I'm so sorry that things turned out the way they did between Steve and me. He was a very nice man before the Alzheimers stole him from all of us. I glad that he's now at peace and is no longer suffering from this terrible infirmity.

share share this thread

Meyersdale Parking
Indy Rider from Indianapolis on 05/19/2021 12:01 PM
Apologies if this has been addressed before...I tried using the search function, but it never provided any results.
We are a group who will be arriving in three cars to ride Meyersdale>DC. We are leisurely riders, so are planning on being gone 10 days. Is there anyone who frequents this forum who might have insight into where we might arrange to park our cars in Meyersdale for that length of time? Any safety precautions? Obviously, a car break-in can happen just about anywhere any time, but we are hoping to find a place that is relatively safe and where we will not be towed. Thanks in advance for any info.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 05/19/2021 01:27 PM
You can park at the Meyersdale Area Historical Society, it’s a stones throw from the trail. Also, on the official GAP map, it’s marked with a “P” for Parking at this location so it’s a place you can park for trail access. Since you’ll be leaving your car for more than a day, you could/should contact them and ask about weeklong parking just to make sure they won’t tow. I don’t believe they would tow but better to ask and alert them. Their number is 814-634-8654. They have a web page also and it says “free parking”.

Have a great trip.


Indy Rider from Indianapolis on 05/20/2021 10:03 AM
Thank you for your response, the Meyersdale Area Historical Society turned out to be the perfect solution! They said we could provide our license numbers and contact info, which would be faxed to the local police. The parking lot is patrolled, apparently.

Kurut on 05/25/2021 10:48 PM
Thank you for the answer John W and for asking the question Indy! I just had to rearrange my entire trip due to a family issue and this was super helpful now that I'm starting in Meyersdale instead of Pittsburgh.

share share this thread

Pennsylvania Maple Festival Park (Camping) - Meyersdale, PA
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/21/2021 01:06 PM
On the Pennsylvania Maple Festival Park web site I just saw that some dates are already sold out for the campground and others have limited availablity.

Sold Out:
June 10
July 19
August 30

Limited Availablity:
June 13
August 8
October 3

Some of the larger crowds could be related to events hosted at the festival grounds, not just bicycle tourists.

You could roll the dice and do same day or walk-in reservations but with what appears to be a busy summer season ahead, I would call and make reservations to guarantee you get a site if you choose to stay here.


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/21/2021 09:18 PM
...or consider overnighting in Rockwood at the Husky Haven campsite or the Hostel on Main Street.

share share this thread

Adele's Bed & Breakfast in Smithton
Frances from Royal Oak on 05/21/2021 08:40 AM
This is a great place to stay. Have to go up a short very steep hill to get to the road, but it was worth it.

share share this thread

Riding DC to Pittsburgh late June from CT Looking for Bike Buddy-camping
Awesome from Hartford CT on 05/21/2021 12:25 AM
Taking Amtrack to DC Rent car from Pittsburgh back to CT. A couple Motels durring the whole trip and the rest bike camping. Anyone interested in comming along?

Awesome from Hartford CT on 05/21/2021 12:40 AM
Contact Awesomejimosullivan@gmail.com

share share this thread

Lost GoPro
MilkCartonGoPro on 05/19/2021 03:29 PM
Hi All--
I lost my GoPro with a tripod handle attached on Friday, May 14th I think somewhere after West Newton (if memory serves me). If you found it, would really appreciate a message.


Bill in Houston from Houston on 05/20/2021 01:39 PM
Now you are MilkCartonNoMo? Hope you get it back.

share share this thread

Current weather and trail conditions
Tony from Louisiana on 05/04/2021 09:16 AM
Can anyone report on current weather and trail conditions. Our family of 4 will be riding Pitt to DC last week of May.we are wondering how many rain days we might have. And how soft the trail might be.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 05/04/2021 09:36 AM
Scroll down, a thread exists on this subject.

Adama from DC on 05/05/2021 09:28 PM
Really hard to say what the weather will be like. You’ll need to prepare for warm and cool weather and hope for the best. Really, the mud is only most problemmatic from MM22 to MM 0, where the trail gets the most use. It is worth carrying one of those thin tools with stiff bristles on both ends to help clean out your sprockets and chain rings.

Adama from DC on 05/06/2021 01:34 AM
Really hard to say what the weather will be like. You’ll need to prepare for warm and cool weather and hope for the best. Really, the mud is only most problemmatic from MM22 to MM 0, where the trail gets the most use. It is worth carrying one of those thin tools with stiff bristles on both ends to help clean out your sprockets and chain rings.

MilkCartonGoPro on 05/19/2021 03:42 PM
I just completed the Pittsburgh to DC ride last weekend (Fri-Sun). The trail conditions on both the Gap and C&O were pretty much ideal (temps topped out low 70s and trails were dry). The Gap is definitely a smoother trail surface throughout, although it's a looooong slow climb to that Continental Divide. The C&O has some roots, small rocks, potholes except for the 10 miles ro so before Harper's Ferry and roughly 20 miles after Harper's Ferry where the trail has a similar surface to the Gap. I elected to take "advantage" of the Western Maryland trail to pickup some time and take a break from the natural terrain.

If you are taking a similar itinerary/speed/etc., then I highly suggest stopping at the Kickstand Kitchen for lunch on the Gap as there is really not much after that and it's right on the trail. We also stopped in Hancock on the C&O as there is a Sheetz right off the WMRT.

We didn't have any material detours on either trail, so all the major work appears to have been completed.

Last observation, the dust factor was an unexpected aspect of both trails. I highly recommend bringing chain lube, as my bike (and chain) were pretty well coated with dust from the trail after each day of riding.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 05/19/2021 05:58 PM
MilkCartonGoPro: How was the Paw Paw Tunnel? Do you go right through or did you take the detour up and over? How was the climb?

share share this thread

C&O Trail Downstream of Paw Paw Tunnel Status Update
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/15/2021 06:30 AM
For anyone that has traveled the C&O Trail in the last few days, is the trail open downstream of the Paw Paw Tunnel open or did you have to take the bypass trail up and over the tunnel? Any new signage in that area?

Anonymous on 05/15/2021 10:03 PM
The tunnel is all open no problem getting through the area.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/15/2021 10:23 PM
Anonymous, can you clarify what happens when you reach the end of the tunnel? From what everyone has understood, you can go all the way through the tunnel but then once you come out the other side, you cannot advance past the construction area and are forced to go all the way back. Hence the detour up and over the tunnel and past the construction area. You’re saying all of the construction is completed? If so, this would be amazing news for riders this summer.


To on 05/18/2021 07:09 AM
Detour signs are in place as well as barricades. There is no evidence of construction. It appears the the path is easily used and passable. This could change if active construction were to begin. The boardwalk is not damaged but the rockslide does come right up to it but not on it.

share share this thread

Passing of Steve Huebner Little Orleans Lodge
John Walker from Little Orleans, MD on 05/10/2021 04:22 PM
Steve Huebner, owner of the Little Orleans Lodge, passed away on May 3rd in hospice care. He was 85 years old. Steve is buried at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Rocky Gap, MD and the lodge is for sale.

Page: 1 2 ... 96