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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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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Scuby from Altoona, PA on 05/15/2012 07:43 PM
I just rode The GAP from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and had a Great Time. Would like to plan another Ride when the Rhododendrons are in Bloom. Can anyone give me an approximate time frame so I can make plans? Thanks

lenny on 05/15/2012 08:04 PM
Do you mean Mountain Laurel?

Anonymous on 05/16/2012 04:31 AM
Some people on the Ride said there were both Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. I would like to plan a ride when they are in bloom. Thanks

lenny on 05/16/2012 07:20 PM
rhododendron blooms now. Mountain Laurel blooms the month of June.

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Bill's Place in Little Orleans
milo3 from durham, nc on 05/15/2012 07:42 PM
just went there for a pizza and beer! great! bridge from appel rd was washed out this morning but you can still get across... thanks Bill!

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Tagged: Bill's Place

Weekend Warrior
BG from Conowingo,Md. on 05/04/2012 07:38 AM
Just finished my first weekend Solo camping trip on the C&O. I camped at Fifteen Mile Creek at Little Orleans. I shared the whole campgrounds with only two other camp sites in use. One group of three friendly kayakers who gratiously invited me to join them for the obligatory beer at Bill's Place.I biked up to the Paw Paw tunnel and back and it was a beautiful ride, many Bald Eagles and Wood ducks, spring flowers.This visit really makes one appreciate the NPS and I'm grateful we have this place kept available for us all.Everyone I met on the trail felt likewise.Enjoy BG

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lenny on 04/29/2012 01:49 PM
Are there any updates on the connection between Pittsburgh and the waterfront?????

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Big Slackwater Repair Project - Update
Randy on 04/24/2012 01:01 PM
Big Slackwater Repairs
C&O Canal National Historical Park
Updated: April 2, 2012

Restoration of the C&O Canal Towpath at Big Slackwater is ongoing. Installation of the pier footings, the concrete columns on top of the footings, and the skirt wall panels continues. These concrete elements, along with the double tee panels, form the eight (8) elevated walkways which will be located along the river within the limits of the project.

Additionally, the contractor is continuing reconstruction of the historic towpath in areas directly adjacent to the elevated walkways. Masons also are continuing to rebuild the historic stone wall along the river. Off site, the production of concrete skirt wall panels and deck panels is ongoing, and the contractor continues to receive these pieces to the site. Work on the elevated walkways, the towpath, and the stone masonry is expected to continue in the coming weeks.

By this summer we will no longer need to detour the 5 miles on public roads. :)

lenny on 04/25/2012 04:07 AM
Great News. Now if they could connect Pittsburgh.

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C&O trail
Nora from Nashville on 04/18/2012 12:11 PM
We are riding the C&O and the GAP next week. Rain is in the forecast. Does anyone know how likely it is that the trail will be muddy to the point that it will be difficult to ride?

speedster on 04/19/2012 03:32 PM
Not that likely. It's been an unusually dry spring, for starters, so the ground isn't overly saturated to begin with. I rode a section of the trail last weekend after a heavy rain Sat. evening, without any sort of problem.

Furthermore, there is a stoney base layer pretty much everywhere I've traversed along the trail route. Big washouts and puddles shouldn't be a factor.

Obviously, bring raingear to keep yourself dry if rain is a possibility. Other than that, get out there and enjoy it!

Nora Balint from Nora Balint on 04/20/2012 05:31 PM
Thank you, speedster! That is comforting. Have a good weekend!

lenny on 04/21/2012 04:29 AM
the GAP will be fine in the rain because of the ballast base and chip top. but the C&O is a notorious mud hole in places after a rain.I've done the C&O twice and it rained one day each time and the track was puddled

vabiker23518 from williamsburg va on 04/23/2012 01:32 PM
Wow...looking at all that snow in and around the GAP...hope you're not out in it!

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lenny on 04/22/2012 07:31 PM
Megan have you done the ride yet?

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Joe from Buffalo, NY on 04/18/2012 10:25 PM
Riding Cumberland to Gtown next week. My touring bike has 28 mm Vittoria Randonneur tires (road touring). Ok? Or would a 32 mm cyclocross tire (Maxxis Raze) with a file tread work better? I am an experienced cyclocrosser racer with strong legs.

speedster on 04/19/2012 03:44 PM
IMO, either will be fine.

I personally use road-oriented, tour tires, with basic treading on them, but nothing elaborate is required.

If its absolutely pouring rain and getting soppy and soft, the slightly wider, heavy-treaded cyclocross would make out better, but honestly, people waste too much energy on here worrying about tire choice, if I'm to speak frankly about this issue.

The C&O is a very run of the mill trail surface and not some trials/downhill mountain bike course. That said, I wouldn't necessarily advise doing it with a narrow, untreaded race slick either..so just use common sense and you'll be fine.

lenny on 04/19/2012 07:16 PM
Put the bigger tougher tire on. You will push the road tire to its limit. I have pushed better tires than your 28 andhad some failures. I dontg think I am as strong as you either. the C&o can get ugly tough, surface wise.

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Gap to Cumberland 2012
Joni from Springfield, VA on 12/31/2011 03:39 PM
Planning to do first half of the GAP & C&O towpath. Plan is to ride from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. Any recommendations on best time of year. Thought about late May 2012. Planning 3 days to ride and stay in hotels. Anyone interested in joining and helping plan are welcome to touch base.

lenny on 01/04/2012 09:11 PM
have done this ride many times. late may is good time . can be done in 2 days at about 70 mile/day

Anonymous on 01/20/2012 11:57 PM
Any recommendations on where to stay between Cumberland and Pittsburgh if you did it in two days as you suggest?

robkyle from rockville, md on 02/01/2012 10:42 PM
I going to be riding the GAP/C&O at the end of May as well. I'm going to be camping - never been on a self-supported bike tour, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Dan O from Jackson,Mi on 02/03/2012 04:58 PM
I did this ride from McKeesport to Cumberland in July 2010. First night in Connelsville (45 miles) stayed at Connelsville B&B Second night in Meyersdale at Gram Gram's place. (55 miles) that left 33 miles on day three, mostly down hill :) to Cumberland. Very happy with both B&B's

lenny on 02/19/2012 09:14 AM
Checkout lodging in Confluence and Ohiopyle on this site under towns and services

Anonymous on 02/22/2012 01:28 PM
So you would suggest early summer as opposed to late summer early fall?

lenny on 02/23/2012 05:48 AM
May through September ia all good, conditions are more predictable.

Mr Purpkle Paul from Allentown PA on 02/29/2012 04:04 PM
I'm planing at least a part of that trip in Early August (not sure I'll be ready for it in May) .. I'd be interested to hear how your tip turns out ... when are you going?..I'm doing lot's of "logistics thinking and figuring" right now . . .

lenny on 03/01/2012 07:10 PM
What are you riding? How old are you, what kind of shape are you in and how many miles per day do ou plan to ride. To start with.

Linda from Oakland on 04/08/2012 09:52 PM
We just got back frompittsburg to cumb. We loved connesville b &b and a must go to Levi deal mansion in meyersdale. It is worth every penny and both are a block from the trail.

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Frogs and Flowers
Sinclair Hamilton from Hancock on 04/04/2012 01:32 PM
This is a great time of year to be riding the towpath. There are many wonderful manifestations of spring everywhere you look. The wood frogs mating in vernal pools, Woodcocks making nuptial flights at dusk, Virginia Bluebells carpeting the forest's floor, otters cavorting along the banks of the river and lots more. Sinclair - riverrunbnb.com

Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:46 PM
Amen to that!
And as long as it doesn't rain too much and cause the river to flood out of it's banks.

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Current C&O conditions for bicycling?
John Zwinck from NYC on 04/02/2012 07:28 PM
We are considering starting from Pittsburgh on the GAP this Friday, April 6. If anyone has been on the C&O quite recently and would be so kind as to write what they found there, we'd much appreciate it.

We're two somewhat experienced light touring cyclists who have also ridden part of the D&R canal towpath before (25 miles from New Brunswick to Princeton). Back then we had 23mm tires; we now have 28mm. The biggest question mark is what conditions we might find on the C&O next week.

lenny on 04/03/2012 07:31 PM
28 tires are a little small for the C&O. It is a bit rough and may be muddy this time of year. also it is at least 25-30 miles between major trailheads.Tires will be ok on thr GAP

ams from Brooklyn on 04/04/2012 04:35 PM
Ha, I guess I'm not the only NYC person heading out there this month. I'll be a little over a week behind you, leaving the 17th.

I plan to run 32mm tires.

Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:39 PM
Another New Yorker here, sort of, from Long Island. I'll be starting my end to end hike of the GAP on April 10th.

This time of year I'd expect rain and a wet trail, with all that brings.

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Parking in Whites Ferry
DC Kristi from DC on 04/04/2012 07:48 PM
I see that parking is listed in Whites Ferry, but does anyone know how to figure out where to actually park? Thanks!

lenny on 04/05/2012 04:21 AM
I may be wrong but I believe parking is to the right just before the little store, as you approach the ramp

Paul A on 04/07/2012 03:29 PM
Yep, parking is right there by the store.
And there were potra-pottis there too when I went by last year.

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What book/map to bring with you?
ams from Brooklyn, NY on 03/22/2012 04:39 PM
Hi all. I'm planning on riding the full GAP/C&O from Pitts to DC next month.

To those who've done it before, what maps or trail guide did you bring with you while riding (or wish you had)?

I know there's an official GAP/CO trail book from ATA. Is that something to bring in my handlebar bag, or more of planning reference to be used before hand?

I want to be sure I bring the right map(s) so I'm not stuck relying on my phone/google maps if by chance I get lost or have to make a detour. Thanks for any advice!

lenny on 03/23/2012 05:31 AM
this site contains everything you need

ams from Brooklyn, NY on 03/23/2012 10:34 AM
Yes, but 'this site' is not something one can conveniently take on your bike with you...

Randy on 03/23/2012 12:22 PM
There is a one page map of the C&O Canal you can download and print out which can be found on the Park Service website. But it's not a real detailed map. The best guide is to print out the Mileage Chart found on this page, which gives you a mile-by-mile description of what's there. Be advised the C&O is very remote in spots, especially west of Hancock, MD. I have not done the GAP Trail yet. Take a couple of spare inner tubes for your trip. Mountain Bike or Hybrid Tires work best.

lenny on 03/23/2012 04:02 PM
i printed what i needed, and laminated it. IT DOES HAVE EVERYTHING. just stay on the trail. it is easy to follow. i have done it many times.the first time was easy

starvingmusician from Ligonier, PA on 03/30/2012 01:25 PM
I buy a current TrailBook once a year. I don't really need it, but the $10 goes toward the Allegheny Trail Alliance. It does contain a nice, nearly indestructable map of both the Passage and the C&O, useful trail info and a ton of advertisements for trail services, hotels, restaurants and such. Originally geared toward the GAP, C&O info and advertisers were added in the past couple of years.

A favorite of mine for the C&O is "184 Mile of Adventure - Hikers Guide to the C&O Canal". It is a 50 pg. paperback booklet format. General to very detailed historic information about the canal structures, pinpointed to tenth miles. Some suggestions for off-trail sightseeing, too, and geared toward those without cars.

Mike High wrote an exceptional book entitled "The C&O Canal Companion". I love re-reading it. If you are into history, it's a must, but it is also a great guide book.

Last, but not least, is Bill Metzger's "The Great Allegheny Passage Companion". Written in 2003 - when the trail ended in Meyersdale, PA, it is now out of print and difficult to find. I understand Bill may be updating and reprinting this work. I hope so. I'll be first in line to buy a revised edition.

I don't drag my favorites out nearly as often as I did years ago. Perhaps I should. In thumbing through them for a few minutes, I've become reacquainted with a couple of old friends...


ams from Brooklyn, NY on 04/04/2012 04:31 PM
Great, thank you! Trip is fast approaching. I'll post a ride report when I'm done.

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August trail traffic
Mr Purpkle Paul from Allentown PA on 03/12/2012 03:53 PM
I'm planning a trail ride from Connelsville, PA to Cumberland MD in early August (8/1 - 8/4) .. how busy will the trail be during the weekdays in August? If something were to go wrong between towns it would be nice to know if I am alone that I'm not really alone .. or won't be for very long. . .

starvingmusician from Ligonier, PA on 03/30/2012 11:55 AM
Hi Paul -
Never fear - There are alway people on the trail in the summer -- even during the weekdays! Just remember that cell phone reception is non-existent in places on the trail. Plan on carrying a spare tube, patch kit, pump (or CO2), water and a snack. Take plenty of photos, and remember that wildlife is wild. There are areas where you don't want to stray off of the trail, especially in August in the mountain brush. Most important - have fun!


Mr Purple Paul from Allentown PA on 04/01/2012 07:13 PM
Judy ...
I'm looking forward to the big trip (just have to wait out the next few months). . I may sneak down for a day out and back trip early just to try out the trail before August . .
thanks for the advice .. got my spare tube and am going to refresh myself on how to patch a tire (it's been a while since I had a blow out- so I'm due) . .

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lenny on 03/25/2012 04:18 PM
Megan, tell us about your ride when you get it done.

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Prettiest section of C&O canal?
J.A. from Va on 03/18/2012 04:18 PM
My friend and I have never biked the C&O canal but we want to this spring. We have mountain bikes and ride trails quite often. We were wondering what is the most scenic part of the C&O trail?

lenny on 03/18/2012 07:03 PM
there is no one part, you will be amazed at least once per mile

JA from VA on 03/22/2012 10:31 AM
Thanks, Lenny! Our favorite trail so far has been the Greenbrier River Trail in WV. Looking forward to riding C&O.

Randy on 03/22/2012 03:19 PM
There are spectacular views all along the C&O Canal. I think the Potomac River is a river of beauty. The water is clear! Great Falls and Harpers Ferry have incredible views. North of Hancock, MD it gets more remote with almost no developed areas. Paw Paw Tunnel (and the approach to the Tunnel) is really cool. I agree with Lenny there are incredible views up and down the trail. It's a shame but, some folks just ride the trail and never experience these views.

Randy on 03/23/2012 12:29 PM
Just wanted to mention also that you should take spare inner tubes with you on your trip. This is not a rail trail per se. The trail can be very rough in certain sections. It is packed hard dirt with natural stone, some of which can be jagged and sharp.

Anonymous on 03/23/2012 09:48 PM
Randy, thanks so much for all the helpful info! Sounds wonderful! And I can't imagine how anyone can ride the trails and not notice all the incredible beauty all around them! But I know it happens.

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