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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Route recommendations
 - 
BQ from DC on 08/01/2021 10:13 AM
Hey all. I know various versions of this question have probably been asked over and over, but I want to get some recommendations tailored specifically to my itinerary. A friend and I are planning a trip for Labor Day weekend. Due to his flights, we’re looking at a half-ish day Thursday (gets in early morning on Thursday), full days Fri and Sat, then half-ish day on Sunday (leaves early morning Monday). We’re both fit so mileage and terrain are not major concerns (although we’re not necessarily looking to crush miles just for the heck of it). We have full bikepacking kits so the plan is to camp. I’m mostly open to any section of the C&O and/or GAP. I do live in DC but am willing to drive out from the city if it means a much more scenic or enjoyable trip (but driving all the way to Pittsburgh may be a stretch unless it’s REALLY worth it).. Any recommendations of sections that will work well for us?

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Starting in Pittsburgh, finish at Harpers Ferry
 - 
mosovich from North Augusta, SC on 07/31/2021 09:18 PM
Hey guys, looking at driving up to Harpers Ferry on the 28th and taking Amtrak to Pittsburgh, leaving on the trail the next morning. Is thinking 4 full days enough? I do a lot of 50 to 60 mile rides on hilly terrain where I live. Originally I was going to do Pittsburgh to Cumberland, but thought why not add another day..

Also, is it safe to park my car at the Amtrak station there? This will be a solo trip, so I'm working on the logistics and want to make sure they are spot on..

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 07/31/2021 10:06 PM
4 days is perfect! I've personally done this itinerary all the way to DC:

Day 1: Pittsburgh to Ohioplyle
Day 2: Ohiopyle to Cumberland
Day 3: Cumberland to Hancock
Day 4: Hancock to Harpers Ferry
Day 5: Harpers Ferry to Washington DC

With this initerary, you'll be in Harpers Ferry in 4 days.

On Day 1 you could stop shorter at Connelsville instead as Day 2 will have 24 miles of gentle downhill from the Continental Divide into Cumberland.

You could also do this in 5 days. Something like nightly stops in Connellsville, Meyersdale, Paw Paw or Little Orleans, Williamsport or Shepherdstown, and Harpers Ferry.

I think if you let the Amtrak station know your plans as well as the local police, you will be fine.

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GAP-C&O
 - 
Tom from Vienna on 07/30/2021 02:53 PM
Hey folks,
I’m headed out of Pitt on Wed, Aug 25… all the way back.. tenting… GAP and C&O.
I expect to arrive on 31 or 1st.
Maybe I’ll see one of you?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/30/2021 06:46 PM
As we get closer to 8/25, let me know your schedule leaving Pit and I’llride out of town a ways with you. I’m not leaving for the full trip to DC until 9/23.

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Buena Vista Trailhead in Buena Vista
 - 
Xx on 07/27/2021 03:02 PM
Is it safe to leave car here for six days

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/27/2021 07:07 PM
I’m not sure which of the Buena Vista parking areas you are considering or that it makes any difference. Buena Vista is a pretty calm trail side community in which I would not expect any problems in leaving a car for a few days. Of course you should take the normal prudent precautions such as removing any valuables from sight within or on the car. You’d also be well advised to inform the local police of your intentions. I believe that would be the Elizabeth Township Police at (412) 751-7325.

Perhaps Rick from Greenock can comment as well since he lives even closer to Buena Vista than I do.

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Buena Vista Trailhead in Buena Vista
 - 
Xx on 07/27/2021 03:02 PM
Is it safe to leave car here for six days

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C&O Beauty
 - 
Tfitz from Carlsbad on 07/19/2021 03:57 PM
What is the most amazing section for a cruise maybe a 15 or 20 mile for an out and back? I am interested in doing it in mid September.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/21/2021 06:31 PM
I see that none of the people local to that area have responded as yet so I'll offer my opinion having ridden the C&O a half dozen times.

I believe the most scenic venue on the C&O is the Great Falls and worth a visit if you have not already done so. I'd start at the Carderock Recreation Parking area outside DC and then ride 4 miles northwest to Great Falls. You could continue riding northwest (upriver) toward White's Ferry which unfortunately is not operating at this time and decide when to turn around and head back.

Another option is to ride the WMRT which parallels the C&O. You could start in Hancock and ride 10 miles or so upriver toward Little Orleans and back. Then pass through Hancock and continue downriver on the WMRT to Big Pool. The WMRT is paved and tree-lined most of the way which would make this trip easy and rather scenic, especially in the fall.

This is just my two cents worth. I expect those that ride the C&O much more will have some other suggestions.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 07/22/2021 09:49 AM
If you really are from Carlsbad, and will have a rental car, and are only going to ride one time, I'd suggest driving on over to someplace on the GAP like Meyersdale or Ohiopyle.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/22/2021 10:37 AM
I agree with Bill from Houston but took the title of your post literally which cited the C&O and not the GAP as well.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/22/2021 07:04 PM
I agree with Bill from Houston but took the title of your post literally which cited the C&O and not the GAP as well.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 07/27/2021 02:01 PM
Rivnuts is correct as always, and I do apologize for being non-responsive, and not suggesting a section of C&O.

But what I really meant is, even if you are staying in Washington, D.C., I'd suggest driving to Meyersdale or Ohiopyle and riding a piece of the GAP rather than riding any part of the C&O. And most especially if it has rained any time in the past three days.

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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!!

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Lost Northface Rain parka
 - 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 07/27/2021 07:55 AM
Apparently didn't secure well enough for the bumpy trail.
Probably a few miles west of Little Orleans. Please let me know if you found it -- it would be worth postage to have it returned!
Msg here or wnybubba@gmail.com

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First time touring
 - 
Zed on 07/25/2021 10:37 AM
I am new to touring, but generally in pretty good cardiovascular shape (run/bike & swim). As my first experience in touring, I want to attempt (next week) either the GAP section or the C&O section, in preparation for a GAP+C&O in the fall. What do people recommend?

In general, which one is the more "scenic" trail?

Thanks,

Z

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/25/2021 12:07 PM
In my opinion the GAP is more scenic over its entire length and better suited for a first time tourer.

 
GSK from Springfield Virginia on 07/25/2021 01:04 PM
I might suggest the C&O canal, simply because if you can handle the canal the GAP will be a breeze. Also, a lot depends on whether your camping or not: There are way more camping options on the canal allowing you to be more flexible with your mileage each day. Both are very scenic.

 
Zed on 07/25/2021 02:18 PM
Thank you Rivnuts and GSK. I will be camping, and would like to practice depending as little as possible on "trail towns" but will be good to have those as a backup on a first trip in case of a total mechanical failure. Not sure which has more of those along the path.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/25/2021 07:13 PM
See the responses to a recent forum post.wherein all the camping areas along both the C&O and the GAP were listed.

 
Sarge P from Sarasota, Fl. on 07/25/2021 07:45 PM
Zed,
I just completed the GAP and C&O trip a couple of weeks ago - my first tour as well. I felt the GAP was the more pleasant ride as the trail is very-well maintained, with enough stops along the way to resupply. There are some fantastic vistas on the GAP as well. The C&O was a bit more challenge for me as the night before I left Cumberland, a terrific storm blasted the trail - downed trees and standing water and slippery mud all the way to Hancock. Now, if you want an adventure, then ride the C&O. Much of it is 'way out there'. It can be very primitive for long stretches - not seeing anyone for miles and miles, hours and hours - just yourself, your thoughts, and the local wildlife. Either way you choose, I'm sure you will enjoy the journey. I certainly did.

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Dravo Landing / Queen Aliquippa Campsite in Buena Vista
 - 
Tanya boyer from Kantner pa on 07/23/2021 02:04 PM
Is Draco campground open for tent camping

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/23/2021 07:51 PM
Yes

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/24/2021 04:40 AM
Yes

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Camping at Locks and other places
 - 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc NY on 07/15/2021 08:57 AM
I'm wondering if camping is allowed at Locks (or Lockhouses) along the C&O. Do you have to camp at the designated camping area or is it allowed in other places. In planning, I was looking at a couple places that looked like they would be great -- one with parking.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/16/2021 09:09 PM
As you no doubt know, you can make reservations at and stay overnight in selected lock houses. However, I’m not aware that you are permitted nor have I seen outdoor camping at any of the lock houses. For information, most do not have toilet facilities or water.

To confirm their rules about camping there I would suggest you contact the National Park Service. I doubt it is permitted but there is no harm in asking.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/17/2021 10:43 AM
Additionally I found a list of public, private and commercial camping locatons along the C&O and GAP at:

https://gaptrail.org/before-you-go/camping/

That list contains the following camping locations:

Mile Marker Campground Name Campground Type
C&O Mile 11.5 Marsden Tract Public, but Limited to Civic and Scout Groups
C&O Mile 16.6 Swains Lock Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 26.1 Horsepen Branch Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 30.5 Chisel Branch Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 34.4 Turtle Run Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 38.2 Marble Quarry Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 42.5 Indian Flats Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 47.6 Calico Rocks Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 50.3 Bald Eagle Island Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 54.0 Brunswick Family Campground Commercial
C&O Mile 62.9 Huckleberry Hill Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 69.4 Antietam Creek Public
C&O Mile 75.2 Killiansburg Cave Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 79.2 Horseshoe Bend Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 82.7 Big Woods Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 90.9 Opequon Junction Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 95.2 Cumberland Valley Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 101.2 Jordan Junction Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 110.0 North Mountain Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 110.4 McCoys Ferry Public
C&O Mile 116.0 Licking Creek Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 120.6 Little Pool Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 126.0 White Rock Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 129.9 Leopards Mill Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 133.6 Cacapon Junction Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 139.2 Indigo Neck Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 140.9 Fifteen Mile Creek Public
C&O Mile 141.0 Little Orleans Campground Commercial
C&O Mile 144.5 Devil’s Alley Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 149.4 Stickpile Hill Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 154.1 Sorrel Ridge Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 156.0 Paw Paw Tunnel Public
C&O Mile 157.4 Purslane Run Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 162.1 Town Creek Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 164.8 Potomac Forks Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 169.1 Pigmans Ferry Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 173.3 Spring Gap Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 175.3 Irons Mountain Hiker-Biker
C&O Mile 180.1 Evitts Creek Hiker-Biker
GAP Mile 0.0 Cumberland YMCA Commercial
GAP Mile 15.5 Trail Inn Lodging and Campground Commercial
GAP Mile 31.9 Maple Festival Park Primitive Campground Commercial
GAP Mile 43.8 Husky Haven Campground and Guesthouse Commercial
GAP Mile 61.4 Youghiogheny Dam Outflow Campground Public
GAP Mile 61.4 Paddler’s Lane Campground Commercial
GAP Mile 72.6 Kentuck Public
GAP Mile 89.4 Connellsville Hiker-Biker Hiker-Biker
GAP Mile 92.0 KOA at River’s Edge Commercial
GAP Mile 99.6 Roundbottom Hiker-Biker Hiker-Biker
GAP Mile 110.2 Cedar Creek Hiker-Biker Hiker-Biker
GAP Mile 110.3 Cedar Creek Park Public
GAP MIle 114.1 GAP Trail Campground Commercial
GAP Mile 122.6 Dravo Hiker-Biker Hiker-Biker

Of note there are no lockhouses listed as campsites.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc NY on 07/22/2021 08:15 PM
@Rivnuts -- Thanks much appreciated. Not exactly the same at the Erie Canalway where we pretty much depend on being able to campout at most locks. Looking around on Google Maps (surprisingly the C&O is all there) several of the areas and grassy areas near parking lots look to be decent places to camp. Also the difference from the Erie is that the hiker/biker camps are not near towns. NP -- just makes planning more important.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/22/2021 09:15 PM
I didn't realize you could camp at the locks along the Erie Canalway. That opens up a lot of flexibility in trip planning across that trail. Since many of the locks there are still in operation, the areas around them are generally very well maintained. Thanks for that info.

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Western Maryland Trail
 - 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc NY on 07/15/2021 09:05 AM
I'm a bit confused here... if I understand correctly, it is wise to take the WMT rather than staying on the C&O. Looking at the map it appears that there aren't very many places to get to and from the C&O once you have made the WMT commitment. I'm looking at an overnight at Little Pool and see that I should be able to get back to the C&O in Hancock, but I'd have to back-track to get back to the WMT in the AM. It just doesn't appear that there are any places to re-connect between the two trails. Am I correct here? [I'll add to this question that I'm assuming that there are not places along the WMT to camp. Is that correct?]

 
Willy from Alexandria,VA on 07/15/2021 11:06 AM
Hello
There are connectors between the C&O canal and the Western Maryland Rail Trail approximately every 3 or 4 miles over the 27 mile length of the WMRT.

There are no camping sites along the WMRT proper, but combined with the existing connectors between the C&O and the WMRT one can get off one trail to get to the other without riding back to Hancock from Little Pool.

The Department of Natural Resources of the State of Maryland has a nice map of the relationship between the C&O canal and the WMRT on their website.

https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/wmrt.aspx

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 07/18/2021 05:44 PM
WNYBubba: You can connect to the WMRT at Little Orleans on High Germany Rd. Either go up the road till you reach the trail or go under the little tunnel and turn left up to the WMRT parking lot right before Bills Place and connect there. You can see from this map here:
https://www.westernmarylandrailtrail.com/map-extension

Also, you can switch between trails at Pearre, Little Pool, Mile Marker Lane, and a few of the dams. The last one, Ernstville Rd., is your last chance to connect to the C&O. After you pass MM 1, be on the lookout for Ernstville Rd. It will be there in about two tenths of a mile after. Turn right and go 100 yards and go on to the dirt path that takes you to C&O. If you reach Mile 0 of the WMRT you’ve gone too far. The interchange is about at MM 0.8.

All free hiker/biker sites are on the C&O, not on the WMRT but you’re always close to an interchange to a campsite.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 07/18/2021 07:26 PM
And there are interchanges at Hancock of course!

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc NY on 07/22/2021 08:10 PM
Great info -- thanks. Leaving tomorrow for Homestead and heading east to DC. Luckily I have a friend in Arlington that I'll be able to stay with once in DC -- hopefully get there on Thursday. Train out on Monday. -bubba

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/22/2021 09:10 PM
As I live in Homestead, I'm sorry I can't welcome you to Pittsburgh and ride a few miles out of town. I'm leaving to ride in Ohio tomorrow morning. Have a great ride. The weather looks good for the next few days.

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Roundbottom Campsite in Perryopolis
 - 
Brian on 07/20/2021 10:16 AM
Are there trees here to hang a hammock?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/20/2021 12:22 PM
Yes. Google “Round Bottom Campground” and select/view Images.

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Roundbottom Campsite in Perryopolis
 - 
may ton on 07/19/2021 07:13 AM
Does this campsite has POTABLE water?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/19/2021 07:30 AM
While there is a well with a pump, there is a sign there denoting it as non-potable. That sign was added a few years ago. There is potable water on either side of Round Bottom in Whitsett and Connellsville.

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Street Address for the end of the C&O Trail
 - 
Rick from Greenock, PA on 07/17/2021 08:05 PM
Wife and I are planning to bike into DC. Can anyone tell me the street address near mile zero?

Thanks.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 07/17/2021 09:06 PM

It is behind/aside the Thompson Boat Center whose address is:

2900 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

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Parking at the trail stops parking lots
 - 
NEF from Greensburg pa on 07/16/2021 07:36 AM
Hi, does anyone know if it is permitted to park at the trail stop parking lots in the DC area for an extended period of time?

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trail condition - all 185 miles of C&O bike path
 - 
jy on 07/15/2021 11:25 AM
We would appreciate any comments/updates on the condition of any/all portions of the 185 mile C&O bike path from Georgetown to Cumberland. In other words, which portions are paved, hard packed, loose gravel, other? Thank you, Jim

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 07/15/2021 08:19 PM
Other than the 24 miles of the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) that parallels the C&O and the couple of miles of the repaired trail around Big Slackwater the balance of the C&O Towpath is crushed stone, fine gravel and hard packed earth. Of the unpaved length, there is a 40+ mile section from Shepherdstown to Edwards Ferry that has been improved with new, smooth, free draining crushed gravel in recent years. This is a good riding surface under most conditions.

If you leave the C&O and take the Capital Crescent Trail from Fletchers Boathouse on into Georgetown DC that is another 3-miles of pavement.

The 44-mile section between Cumberland and Little Orleans is generally hard packed earth (when dry) or puddles and mud (when wet).

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Lock #06 in Georgetown - Washington
 - 
JRS from Pittsburgh pa on 07/14/2021 07:41 PM
We are looking for parking in the DC area while we ride from Pittsburgh. Are we permitted to park at the trail stop parking lot for an extended period of time? If so, is there a fee at these lots?

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Tagged: Lock #06

Ruvo’s Italian Restaurant in Connellsville
 - 
Daisy on 07/13/2021 01:13 PM
My friend and I biked the GAP Trail and stopped in Connellsville and had an amazing dinner at Ruvo's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant serves family style and we shared the chicken parm. More than enough food for the both of us. We also had such an amazing waitress, Mia and chef and owner, Anthony. Would recommend this to anyone stopping in the area!

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