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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Type of bike required
cc from Washington DC on 06/04/2023 03:57 PM
I only have a mountain bike, and am considering doing the DC - Harper's Ferry ride with my pre teen son, who also has a mountain bike. Assuming we stayed in a lockhouse/motel 1-2 nights, is it realistic to do 30 miles/day with additional panniers on mountain bikes? We easily do 25 mile rides now on them, so it would be a little bit to work up to, but I'm thinking the mountain bikes could be useful on the trail. We would pack light and only be bringing minimal clothing/layers and snacks. Ideally we'd do it in the fall, but would be it be crazy to do this in late October/early November? Many thanks in advance

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Tagged: Canal Mile 0

Mud on Paw Paw detour
Terry from Baltimore on 05/22/2023 02:35 PM
Be advised: After rain, the DC side of the Paw Paw Tunnel detour can have SERIOUS mud. We were there Sat, May 6. No shuttle down because there was no work that day. Must have rained the previous day or 2. Real, sloppy mud on DC side. Not "muddy". Thick, sloppy mud. No thought of riding at all for much of that slope.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 06/03/2023 07:51 PM
Today, a rider approaching Pittsburgh from DC told me that the contractor's shuttle on the downriver side of the Tunnel Bypass has been discontinued. They said the contractor's work at the top of the Tunnel Bypass is complete and thus he no longer operates the shuttle even though the trail itself is still closed.

They used Dan, the owner of the hostel in Paw Paw, to shuttle them around the closed section of the trail.

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Lodging in DC
Fuse from Fletcher on 06/03/2023 10:47 AM
I would like recommendations for safe and Economical lodging in or near DC.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 06/03/2023 04:00 PM
Not really anything economical like a traditional hotel in the DC area. The cheapest after taxes might be $125.

If you’re comfortable sharing a room with others, there are a few hostels in DC that might meet your needs.


Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 06/03/2023 07:44 PM
I recently stayed overnight at an Airbnb private room for one at a house about 5 miles from Union Station. It was in 16th Street Heights section of DC. It was one of the lowest price overnight locations I could find. The host was quite pleasant and the room was clean and private. There was a recently remodeled bathroom dedicated for my use. Not a lot to do in the neighborhood but fine if you are simply looking to clean up and rest.

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D J from Asheville on 05/31/2023 07:52 AM
Any lodging suggestions near whites ferry, MD off the C&O

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/31/2023 03:56 PM
Nothing near Whites Ferry. Leesburg, VA used to be an easy ferry/bike ride over but the ferry is closed due to a land dispute and now there is no easy way over. You could call the hotels and ask if they will shuttle/come get you at US Rt. 15 (likely a fee). If you’re brave and have the legs for it, you could cross on your bike at US Rt. 15 but that’s like 12-13 miles to get to Leesburg. I’ve never ridden it but I understand it’s not the safest bridge or route (others in this forum might chime in with their experiences).

Otherwise try Brunswick, MD.

Good luck,

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/31/2023 07:31 PM
I have ridden portions of US Route 15 both north and south of State Rt 665. The latter was in route to hotels in Leesburg or to the WOD Trail before the ferry shutdown operations. While rideable, those sections are not for the faint of heart given the amount and speed of traffic.

I did briefly research Airbnb to see if there were any options, say, in Poolsville but none jumped out at me.

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Yost's Antiques & Bicycles in Berkeley Springs
Anonymous on 05/31/2023 04:19 PM
Visited on Monday, May 29, 2023. The store is a fire hazard, you can barely walk through it. I think the prices are too high. The owner was very disrespectful. He had a grabber tool that he reached out to my breast. He was very flirtatious and crude. Upon leaving the store, he told my best friend..."thanks for letting me enjoy looking at your warm body".

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Pittsburgh to DC in 3 days??
Rob Lazorchak from Point of rocks Maryland on 05/29/2023 07:01 AM
My buddy and I are going to ride from Pittsburgh to DC in 3 days.
But wanted to check in to see if others had done it in 3 days or what the normal timeframe is to complete the ride

Picturing Pitt to frostburg
Frostburg to Hancock
Hancock to dc.

But it sounds like Cumberland area will be a bit slower than the rest of the ride.

Thanks for the feedback.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/29/2023 07:50 AM
Three days! Three consecutive centuries +. Quite ambitious for us mere mortals who typically take 5 to 7 days. Good luck. Let us know how you fared.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/29/2023 09:15 AM
Wow, I’m always amazed humans can go so far, so fast! Me? That would take me 5-6 days.

The only thing that might slow you down is the surface. It’s great for riding of course but other than the first 18 or so miles out of Pittsburgh, it’s a crushed limestone surface on the GAP and mostly dirt paths on the C&O. They don’t roll as fast as asphalt. And if the C&O gets wet or it rained two days prior, you will encounter lots of puddles and mud.

Let us know how you got on and good luck!

man910 from DC on 05/29/2023 02:05 PM
I have a friend who does this regularly because he can't or doesn't want to take time off, so he does it during 3-day weekends. He's not a speedster or anything, but he rides into the night. He once had a flat, but had an issue with his pump that took him over an hour to repair. His bike lights ran out of juice, and it was so dark that he had to use his cell phone flashlight. The problem with that was it kept turning off when he went over bumps because to turn off the flashlight on his cell phone, you shake it. LOL He ended up riding until 2AM. He's been trying to get me to do it, but it doesn't sound enjoyable.

Rob Lazorchak from Point of rocks Maryland on 05/30/2023 06:30 AM
Thanks for the feedback. In my head I’m starting to think more like 4 days and hope the weather is nice and the gear works great so we can try to make it in 3. Super excited to finally do this ride after years of talking about doing it.

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Comments on Lodging on C&O
Terry from Baltimore on 05/20/2023 10:42 PM
We biked the C&O May 5-9, to complete our 2022 PGH to DC tour that was cut short by 2 funerals.
Some comments on lodging:
PawPaw, WV: Bikepath B&B is the place for hospitality. Dan is a great host. Full of information and ready to help anyone. He is available for shuttles at a reasonable price, which is important as long as the Paw Paw tunnel is closed.
Williamsport: Bay Farm B&B: Up an easy hill. A little confusing finding the garage, etc, but a very nice place with very nice rooms. Large and varied supply of food for breakfast, but nothing hot except the coffee. No person on site. Pricy (we paid $180 + tax).
Harpers Ferry: Towns Inn. Nice rooms. Not fancy. VERY helpful and accommodating. Let us keep our property there while touring the town after checkout time. But you have to carry loaded bike up those stairs on the MD side.
Brunswick: Travelodge is the only place I can find. Up a significant hill no matter how you do it. We used 9th Ave (via 10 Ave) - a long hill that someone in better shape might peddle, but was a push up most of it for us. Road back to town on 2nd Ave. One hill was so steep it was scary to go down. Wanted to use Gum Spring Rd, but missed the turn. Travelodge itself looks new and was very nice to stay. Adele's TexMex Restaurant is right next door and is THE place for dinner.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/22/2023 10:25 AM
Good info regarding lodging. Thanks.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/22/2023 10:27 AM
I forgot to ask. Did Dan in Paw Paw have any insight as to when the trail at the tunnel exit might reopen?

Terry from Baltimore on 05/29/2023 02:20 PM
I believe he understood September to be the current prediction, but he was going by the Natl Park Svc forecast, which he is familiar with as a NPS volunteer.

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McKeesport Loop Paved
Rick from Greenock, PA on 05/14/2023 10:36 PM
The six mile loop that follows the GAP from Boston to The 15th St Bridge in Liberty Borough, then along the other side of Yough back to Boston is a favorite local ride for us. A 1.5 mile stretch along the McKeesport side has been paved with new asphalt in the last week or so. Very nice job and less bone rattling. Check out Puzzlers bar and grill for lunch or dinner right off the trail with bike parking.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/17/2023 11:16 PM
That’s great news. I’ve been avoiding that side until it was repaired.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/24/2023 06:20 PM
I rode the McKeesport Loop today and the newly repaved section is quite nice. The paving work was well done and quite smooth until it reaches the unaffected part of the loop which is the original pavement and a little rough in spots.

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Lawlessness inside DC Union Station
John Walker from Little Orleans on 04/26/2023 05:01 PM
As previously posted, my Niece completed the towpath last Monday. While waiting to catch Amtrak's Capital Limited at Union Station, she had to fend off two separate attempts by vagrants to seal her bicycle. Again, no visible Amtrak/Metro DC Police presence. It was fortunate that she was able to fend off the attackers without the use of physical force. It used to be relatively safe to patronize Union Station in Washington DC but it appears that it too has degraded into utter lawlessness so cyclist beware. Travel in groups and don't leave anything unattended.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/26/2023 07:00 PM
Just what I needed to hear as I leave for DC via train in a few days. I've been contemplating getting some pepper spray for stray dogs during my later ride through rural countryside but I guess I could use it at the train station and other places as well, if necessary.

Was the other incident at the MP0 marker behind Thompson's Boathouse?

John Walker from Little Orleans, MD on 04/26/2023 08:35 PM
Yes, she was trying to get to Mike Marker Zero at the boat house landed when she was attacked.

FYI, be very careful about defending yourself. The criminals are being set free while law abiding citizens are being prosecuted for the crime of self defense. Go figure.

Wayne L from Penetanguishene Canada on 05/14/2023 10:10 AM
My wife and I are planning to ride from DC to Pittsburg in June. We are planning a day outing in Washington the day before we start. I wanted to start at Mile Marker 0 but after reading about the homeless problems and lawlessness in that area I am seriously considering not starting there. Maybe more police presence would solve this problem.

JM from OBX on 05/14/2023 09:56 PM
I think you’ll be fine in that area. Yes, DC has crime issues just like any other large metropolitan area, but they tend to be random and not specific to Georgetown. Don’t let anecdotal stories interfere with your plans. Use good judgment and be aware of your surroundings, and enjoy your ride up to Pittsburgh.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 05/15/2023 12:03 PM
The most dangerous thing at Mile 0 is making sure to steer clear of the rowing crew members when they’re hauling their boats between the dock and the Thompson Boat House! I’ve never seen homeless there on my many GAP/C&O trips there. This is not to say that no homeless person has ever ventured down there but this is not a regular homeless location.

As JM says, use the same judgement you would in any large city.

Enjoy the pre ride around the city, it’s a great cycling city, and enjoy your GAP/C&O trip!


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/17/2023 11:14 PM
I travelled through DC’s Union Station a week ago and did not encounter or see any issues inside the station. However, I was more vigilant than in the past and carried some pepper spray for the first time based on the earlier post.

Wayne L from Penetanguishene Canada on 05/21/2023 09:52 AM
Thanks for the info. I’ve never had a problem cycling in the US and I don’t expect that to change.

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Paw Paw Tunnel Bypass Trail Shuttle Initiated
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/26/2022 10:29 PM
Tne NPS C&O website is now reporting that the contractor-supplied shuttle around the Paw Paw Tunnel Bypass Trail has now been initiated. That website had previously been reporting that that shuttle would be initiated by late September.

More information about the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass can be found at that website.

Wayne67 from Penetanguishene Canada on 09/27/2022 10:11 AM
Just wondering how long the tunnel will be closed. Planning a trip next June 2023

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 09/27/2022 05:02 PM
The NPS C&O website states that construction is anticipated to be complete by the end of the 2022/2023 winter. If so, your trip next June should find the Tunnel and it’s downriver exit open to ride through. Just keep an eye on that website and/or this forum for updates.

JDH from DC on 09/28/2022 11:06 AM
Just a heads up that the shuttle, which is a supped-up golf cart, has front and rear 'arm' bike racks (the type that go under your bike's top tube). I took it on 9/26 and my bike had a bag going under the top tube, so I had to throw it in the truck bed of the shuttle... luckily I was the only biker taking it up (towards Cumberland). I would imagine heavy ebikes might not be supported either. Hopefully they learn quickly and switch out the racks for 'support' styles that go under the bike's wheels (like on buses). Otherwise, it seemed to be a well-run operation.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 09/28/2022 12:41 PM

Thanks for that information as I am leaving to ride back to Pgh from DC next week with a full frame bag.among others. I may have to pack differently unless we hear they have indeed changed their rack style. What route did they take?

JDH from DC on 09/28/2022 12:52 PM

With a full frame bag, I think worse case scenario is that you just take it off when you get there. The shuttle supposedly only runs Mon-Friday 9-5 while operations are ongoing, and you aren't allowed to go on your own, as there is no shoulder to get past the dump trucks. So if you plan on getting there on the weekend or outside those hours, you can just lug your bike like others have done for months. I also wouldn't be surprised if they have come up with a work around, as many bikes would have been stymied by those racks. There is also a private shuttle that I am sure was mentioned on some other post you can coordinate with. Hope that helps.

man910 from DC on 05/09/2023 02:58 PM
I'll be doing this ride from Pittsburgh to DC. For those that have taken this shuttle, how long does it take? I know it supposedly runs every 30 minutes, but how long does it take once you're on the shuttle?

And where do they drop you off? Is it at the top where Tunnel Hill Trail (the bypass) intersects Tunnel Hill Rd? And how long does it take to descend?

I'm just trying to get a sense on the duration of this bypass. Without the shuttle service, NPS says it will take around 1.5-2.5hrs to do this 1.6-mile bypass on foot.


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/10/2023 05:10 AM
The shuttle is on the downriver side. It runs from the top down to where the tunnel bypass rejoins the Towpath for maybe 3/4 mile. Once you’ve boarded the shuttle it’s, perhaps 15 minutes, 30 minutes top. The time to walk up, over and back down is dependent on you level of fitness and the load on your bike. In my opinion, 1.5 to 2 hours would be a worst case scenario for an able-bodied cyclist to walk the entire detour. Others may have different experience.

man910 from DC on 05/10/2023 02:59 PM
Thanks for the information, Rivnuts!

man910 from DC on 05/13/2023 04:53 PM
Rivnuts, I saw this posting on Reddit: "Did the ride 2 weeks ago. Coming from DC they pick you up at the bottom and shuttle you to the top...then you have to push down about a mile of slightly sketchy single track. Coming from Pittsburgh you have to push up that mile of sketchy single track, then once up top they give you a ride back down the other side." Is this correct? Because on the map, I see that a road connects to the trail at the bottom at Oldtown Road and at the top at Tunnel Hill Road. So If I were riding from Pittsburgh to DC, wouldn't the shuttle take me up to the top? Or is there a temporary road that I'm not seeing on Google Maps where the shuttle runs?

man910 from DC on 05/13/2023 05:04 PM
One more question. I see that you created this route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37572392. I was planning to ride this while the other members of my party hopefully can take the shuttle up. So when you got to the top, did you walk down or bike down? It looks pretty steep, with grades maxing at 14.5%.

Andy from Pittsburgh on 05/15/2023 08:07 PM
I have not taken the shuttle but did use the the same alternate route last summer. The map you linked to, coming from Pittsburgh, is what I rode in June. It is ridable, but quite steep in spots. I then rode down the detour back to the trail. The part that I rode down, the downstream side, is where they have the shuttle because they are hauling debris from the trail up to the road.

Maybe if you don't want to push up the detour or ride up the alternate route when coming from Pittsburgh, you could get an Uber from town to the top and take the shuttle down. If I was coming from DC, after the shuttle to the top I would just ride down the alternate route back to the trail.

man910 from DC on 05/16/2023 04:29 AM
Thanks, Andy. I definitely want to ride it up. I have others that are going with me who do not want to ride it up. They will, however, have someone give them a lift to the top. So I guess that means we either walk, bike, or take the shuttle down. I agree with you. If I were coming from DC, I would definitely ride down on the road. It's less steep and smooth. So I think the reason why I may be confused is there are two paths, right? One is a hiking trail "bypass" that you can see on the map, and the other one is the construction "detour" where the shuttle service operates?

man910 from DC on 05/16/2023 06:10 PM
Never mind, Andy. I found a different post, presumably from you form last year, where it mentions that the trail was widened for the detour, so I guess they are one and the same after all.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/17/2023 11:10 PM
man910: Sorry for not replying sooner as I’ve been riding the OTET Trail. Travelling from Pgh toward DC you’re on your own getting up the hill. After you reach the top the shuttle will take you back down the other side. That downhill side is wider not as rugged as the uphill side allowing the shuttle to take you down. That downhill side has been used by the contractor’s vehicle and it’s been pretty badly torn up. Hence the shuttle.

To clarify, the uphill side has not been widened. It is narrow, rocky and rooted. If wet, it can be quite slick as well. If you can ride to the top, that would be very commendable. I’ve only seen a couple of young bucks try and I’m not sure if they made it all the way up or not.

man910 from DC on 05/20/2023 09:10 AM
No worries, Rivnuts. I'm referring to riding up to the shuttle using the route you laid out via roads. It doesn't look that steep. I hope your reference to the young bucks is via the trail.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 05/20/2023 12:51 PM
I, myself, did not lay out that alternate road route to the top nor have I ridden it. My comment about any steepness and young bucks does indeed refer to the posted tunnel bypass route itself. Of course "steep" is a relative term and function of strength and fitness of which I have but a limited amount at my age.

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