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.
 
FORUM DIGEST / ALERTS: click here to receive an emailed copy each time someone enters a Forum note, or a daily digest summarizing all Forum discussions for the day.
Display format:
Expanded (see all replies)
Contracted (starting posts and reply counts)
 

C&O and GAP Merchandise

Please support our advertisers -
they help make this website possible
Page: 1 2 3 ... 109
Train that goes to Philly from Washington D.C. and permits bikes
 - 
Anonymous from Pittsburgh on 10/01/2019 09:21 PM
Once we make the trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. on the GAP and then the C&O we would like to take a train to Philadelphia. Is there a train that will accept us and our bikes?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/01/2019 10:20 PM
I don’t have first hand knowledge but road this week with a chap from Philly who said he was taking the train with his bike to Philly from DC.

 
Roadrider on 10/02/2019 09:53 AM
There are four trains that have baggage cars that handle bikes between WAS and PHL during the week. Please go to Amtrak website and become familiar with making trial reservations for trains between WAS and PHL. Look for the bicycle and baggage symbols among the many listed trains.
You will need a reservation for yourself and the bicycle. You will have to roll your bike to the baggage car and pick it up.

Train 56 Vermonter *Recommended as it originates in WAS
Train 80 Carolinian
Train 90 Palmetto
Train 66 Northeast Regional

 
Kimo Goree from Bronx, NY on 10/03/2019 09:14 AM
Good news from Amtrak this week! The Pennsylvanian now allows bike roll on without boxing the bike. Service available at:

Pittsburgh

Altoona

Johnstown

Harrisburg

Lancaster

Philadelphia

Newark

and NY Penn.

When you book your seat you will see the Bicycle logo and you pay 20 USD.

I'll be taking the train with touring bike from NYP to Pittsburgh tomorrow and riding the ACA Chicago to NYC alternative.

Kimo Goree lgoree@gmail.com


Shepherdstown to Brunswick Resurfacing
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/01/2019 10:42 PM
I had read that one or more sections of the Towpath had been resurfaced. Yesterday in route to DC I rode from Shepherdstown to Brunswick on one of those sections. What a delight. Compared to the Towpath upriver, it was smooth and without mud and puddles. It was much like the GAP Trail albeit different color. I don’t know what aggregate material was used or what installation procedures were used but it was a very welcomed improvement. I hope more sections will be similarly improved.


Williamsport Town Access
 - 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/01/2019 10:33 PM
While the aqueduct restoration project in Williamsport is complete, I noted that the former path across the canal at the “basin” has not been returned. Instead, an elevated wooden crossover walkway with steps was built which is not bike friendly. The detour to town that was built while the restoration was underway is still there but not marked and eroded near the top. There is a canal crossover at grade a little further down river but you’d do well to get some local assistance to direct you to it from town.


Hiker Biker Campsites
 - 
Andrew from Blacksburg on 09/30/2019 08:17 PM
To those who've camped before; is there ever an issue with the hiker-biker campsites being full? I am planning a trip for mid/late October and it sounds like there may be a lot of folks on the trail around that time based on the message board, so I was concerned about the possibility of being closed out of the camps. Is that even a thing???

 
SGK from Northern Va on 10/01/2019 08:41 PM
Hi Andrew, we’ve been biking / camping the trail mid to late October for past 30+ years and seldom had to share a campsite. We prefer to camp alone so often if one site is occupied you can simply go another 5 miles or so to the next one. Usually, If the occupants are hospitable, we’ll share a campsite especially if its getting late. On the rare occasion that the occupants don’t seem too friendly we’ll simply push on to the next site. We find that most people biking the trail in October are not camping.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 10/01/2019 10:17 PM
I just finished the trip today. I had camping mates two of the three nights on the trail. However I’ve never seen a “full” camp site.


White's Ferry to Leesburg
 - 
M Derby from Atlanta GA on 09/13/2019 12:10 PM
Hello - Hoping for some insight / advice - My friend and I are riding the C&O in early October and staying at Lockhouses along the way. We really wanted to take the ferry and ride into Leesburg. I've read that while there are plans to widen Rte 15 and add bike shoulders, currently there are several spots where there is absolutely no shoulder on this 4mi stretch and that it is very dangerous? How safe / dangerous is this ride - We will have touring gear etc on bikes, and while it would be nice to ride to town for a good meal and visit, don't want to get creamed by a car to do it. Thoughts?

Thanks so much in advance!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/13/2019 07:20 PM
I've ridden that road a couple of times in route to overnight lodging. It is indeed a busy highway. If you choose to do so, hopefully you have a mirror to keep an eye on the traffic coming from behind. Also, you are well advised to make yourself as visible as possible while on the road with bright colors and blinking lights. If possible, you'd be well advised to avoid rush hours on the road. Lastly, you can avoid riding it twice if you elect to ride from Leesburg to Washington on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail rather than return back to the C&O on Rte 15 from Leesburg.

 
John from Pittsburgh, PA on 09/13/2019 08:40 PM
I second Rivnuts suggestion for W&OD Trail. A nice alternative to the mud of the C&O. It's an MUP that is really well marked. The only downside is you will miss Great Falls if you take this from Washington DC to White's Ferry. For some people that's a deal breaker (and an understandable one).

Also, don't forget the Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) before and after Hancock, MD. Look for the map online as it will have the switch off points so you can connect back to and from the WMRT/C&O. 28 miles of paved goodness.

 
Willy from Alexandria VA on 09/14/2019 10:35 AM
Just crossed Whites Ferry coming back from my Alexandria to Pittsburgh and back trip just last Tuesday.

Whites Ferry Road doesn't have any shoulder, but little traffic if not at rush hour(~1 mile).

Route 15 has a wide shoulder (~5ft) while traffic passes you at 50 mph until the turn off to business 15 from 15 bypass (~2 limes).

Then its minimal to 2ft shoulder the next mile into Leesburg (but at least the speed limit is posted at 25-35 mph).

I find this section from Whites Ferry to Leesburg and the connection to the WOD trail as less dangerous than my commute through DC and Arlington 5 days a week.

 
M Derby from Atlanta on 09/20/2019 03:22 PM
Thanks folks!!


C&O from Cumberland to DC
 - 
Adventure Seekers from Fredericksburg VA on 09/12/2019 08:48 PM
My Friend and I are making the trip on the C&O. We do little day trips, but have never done something like this. Seeking recommendations on hotels versus camping, packing food versus restaurants, packing essentials, daily mileage expectations. We are planning this for the end of the month.

 
KBLS on 09/13/2019 04:31 PM
Those are all great questions to ask and research. Three of us will be riding the C&O and the GAP at the end of the month too. It will be our first time. We are in our 60's but ride quite a bit. We decided to camp every other day and spending the off nights in inexpensive motels. We plan on eating at restaurants along the way but will keep snacks and one meal with us as a precaution. You never know what might happen along the way.

We bike packed the KATY Trail, here in Missouri a couple of years ago and went between 50-70 per day. My advice is to ride at a comfortable pace and enjoy the trip. You can always find packing lists on line but I found www.pedalshift.net very helpful.

Items to not forget are food, plenty of water, bike repair tools, pump, patch kit, spare tube(s) and the ability to do minor repairs.

I love riding these types of trails and Ray (webmaster) provides an excellent forum/website for us trail riders.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 09/13/2019 07:09 PM
Having ridden the C&O a few times, here are some thoughts for consideration:

* For your first trip on the C&O, I would suggest that you avail yourself of hotels or B&B's especially if the weather predictions are not favorable. While there are several free hiker/biker campsites along the towpath, they are primitive. If camping, the pay state parks along the way are arguably more hospitable. Having ridden the trail once, you'll have a greater understanding of the trip to choose what you'd like to do for the next time you do it.
* Unless you want to carry a lot of food, you'll find enough cities along the route to find meals as you go. You may want to pick up an extra meal, when stopping to avoid making numerous stops or having to travel some distance off the trail to get food.
* The previous respondent's packing recommendations are spot on. I would add to look at the weather forecast to determine if some cooler weather clothing would be desirable for early morning riding or overnight camping.
* The most common daily mileage is around 50 miles. Without any climbing and more riding hours during the day, you can do more miles to shorten the duration of your trip.
* Lastly, take a little time to read about the history and points of interests along the trail before departing to better enjoy the trip and its history.

 
John from Pittsburgh, PA on 09/13/2019 08:46 PM
Pick up the "Trail Guide" book for $10 from the Great Allegheny Passage store:
https://gaptrailstore.org/collections/trailguide/products/trailguide-15th-edition

This book has everything you will need to prepare for your trip. It also comes with a water proof map in the back.

 
SGK from Northern Va on 09/14/2019 07:22 AM
We’ve been biking the canal every October for last 30+ years and have always camped , but I think it depends a lot on whether you really enjoy camping (we do). Camping gives you real flexibility as to how far you want to go each day as there are campsites every 5 to 10 miles with few exceptions. We used to bike 50+ miles each day but now average closer to 30 so we can really enjoy our trip, it all depends on how much time you have (we allow ourselves a week, 2 weeks if we start in Pittsburgh). The nicer the weather the slower we go, and we like to set up camp early to enjoy the evenings by a campfire. We feel it’s a good idea to eat when you can, taking advantage of most every food stop along the way, but we do carry snacks and a few freeze dried dinners just in case.

 
JK on 09/14/2019 11:11 AM
I ridden from Cumberland to DC twice over the past few yers. I stayed at the following hotels, which both were satisfactory:
Hancock - Super 8
Harpers Ferry - Econo Lodge

As for food stops, Liberty Gas Station in Paw Paw, WV, Bills Place in Little Orleans (although I have heard it may have closed), Desert Rose in Williamsport (EXCELLENT and VERY biker friendly), and Whites Ferry Grill in Whites Ferry (but I think it closes for the season on 31 October, then re-opens in April). Plus several places in Hancock, Shepardstown, Harpers Ferry, and Brunswick.

Enjoy!


 
Willy from Alexandria VA on 09/14/2019 01:25 PM
Hello
Bills Place is closed on Tuesdays (I think), but I was there twice in the last two weeks.

 
Willy from Alexandria VA on 09/14/2019 01:34 PM
I would give a recommendation for the Hillside Hotel 19105 Keep Tryst Rd., Knoxville, Md 21758 (phone 301-660-3585).

This is on the Maryland side of Harpers Ferry. You get off the trail near mile 58 where the Application Trail leaves the towpath.

You don't have to mess with the steps on the Harpers Ferry RR bridge, But you have a steep but doable 1 mile assent to the Hillside Hotel.

Extra bonus is a nice liquor store next door and the Guide House Restaurant across the street.

 
Anonymous on 09/14/2019 08:44 PM
Camping is for sure the more flexible option, as there are hiker biker sites evenly spread out along the trail. With the flexibility comes the fact that you will be backing heavier than if you are staying in hotels along the way. Same goes with food....if you choose to pack camp/dehydrated meals, you will have to include the stove/pot as well. Totally depends on what your preferences are.

I would highly recommend taking advantage of the Canal Quarters program if you have the opportunity. We stayed in Lockhouse 10 and really enjoyed it.

My packing must haves beyond the normal items would be.....earplugs (train could be loud whether camping or staying in a hotel), water mix-ins like propel...dual purpose...replenish electrolytes and mask the iodine flavor of the well water along the trail (I personally didn't find the water poor tasting, but others in the group did), extra socks, portable USB charger (get one that is at least 10,000 mAh...mine charged my cell a few times before I had to recharge the battery).

 
BobK from McLean VA on 09/15/2019 07:30 PM
I just rode from DC to White's Ferry and the mosquitoes are incredibly bad in that stretch of the trail and i will assume that its no better further up, so i would recommend some kind of wearable mosquito netting if you're going to be camping out, ie hat with attached netting, for example this is what i ordered for my trip around October 31st to Cumberland and i'm leaving then just because of the mosquito problem:
https://www.amazon.com/Camo-Coll-Outdoor-Anti-mosquito-Protection/dp/B01HR5A5JQ/ref=sr_1_194_sspa?keywords=mosquito+netting&qid=1568589450&s=gateway&sr=8-194-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVUVXOUg1TVcxTEg3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTEwOTA4MVdOMktCVTJRUDJNSiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzM1MDYyMVBWUjA1TE02VEk1TSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0Zl9uZXh0JmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

Also if you don't have "waterproof" panniers, i found that those new "flex" trash bags work really well as they really stretch and don't puncture that easy!

Happy trails!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 09/16/2019 04:41 AM
Thanks for the heads up on the mosquitoes as I prepare to depart for DC next week and camp in route.

 
BobK from McLean VA on 09/16/2019 05:37 PM
Rivnuts, let us know how its going during your trip or if you run into anything along the way, happy traveling!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 09/16/2019 08:49 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the mosquitoes as I prepare to depart for DC next week and camp in route.


Reagan National Airport parking in Georgetown - Washington
 - 
Anonymous on 09/16/2019 09:37 AM
What is the distance from Reagan National airport Parking to the C&O start point

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 09/16/2019 03:46 PM
6.5 miles


My latest video
 - 
stillriding from Pittsburgh, PA. on 09/10/2019 04:42 PM
Just posted my latest video. A ride to Niagara Falls from the Peace Bridge. If you ever get an opportunity to do this ride don't past it up. It was great.

https://youtu.be/Tmy5Imz9fKw

Just high lite it and open the link. All my videos can be seen at Pat Stillriding on Youtube.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 09/11/2019 09:43 AM
Thanks for sharing!

I took the liberty of posting this on the Erie Canal Forum (I run that site too) because this ride is very accessible from the Buffalo end of that trail.

Looks like an awesome ride that I look forward to trying out myself someday.

 
stillriding from Pittsburgh, PA. on 09/11/2019 11:27 AM
Thanks Ray for doing that. So glad you liked the video. It is such a nice ride to do. How many websites do you run? I think you run the Mickelson Trail site also. That's a awesome trail also. Do they have a site for the Key West Trail? I am doing that in a few months.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 09/11/2019 12:51 PM
Yep, I run the BikeMickelson website, and a handful of others:

Katy Trail in Missouri
C&O / GAP in Maryland / Pennsylvania
Cowboy Trail in Nebraska
Mickelson Trail in SD
Erie Canal Trail in NY
Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails in GA/AL
I&M Canal Trail in Illinois (site under construction)

... and always open to suggestions for others.

I don't know about Key West but that sounds like a fun ride!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 09/11/2019 04:03 PM
I do the ride to Niagara Falls the day before the Erie Canal Tour sponsored by PTNY with several other riders. It's always exciting to see the Falls. Once across the Peace Bridge, the majority of the trip is on a bike trail/access road. Some of tha lake front homes are quite impressive.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 09/11/2019 09:07 PM
Ray:

If you are truly interested in creating yet another trail forum, you might want to consider the Natchez Trace. Like the C&O, it is managed by the National Park Service and is a well known and commonly ridden trail that would benefit from sharing information pertaining to that trail.

Page: 1 2 3 ... 109