Water level at Brunswick washout -
Tom from Pittsburgh on 04/03/2019 09:42 AM
The National Weather Service has a water level flood gage on the Potomac River at Little Falls, results of which can be seen online.
The current water level is shown to be 4.4 ft. which is pretty low and nowhere near flood stage.
Does anyone know if we can reliably predict the water level at the creek at the Brunswick culvert washout by looking at this information online? This might allow us to have a good idea if that creek is safely crossable before physically looking at it.
Being that they are only about 45 miles apart, it seems there may be some correlation between water levels at each location. I am trying to avoid a situation where I get there and the water level is too high to cross and I am tempted to do something stupid either by crossing in dangerous water or even more stupid (and unlawful), playing chicken with the trains.
John from Pittsburgh on 04/03/2019 08:17 PM
No way of really telling that I’m aware of. You could email the staff at the Canal HQ? The rangers are likely just going to suggest that you take a shuttle I would guess (being on the safe side) but they might know the water level.
The day we were there (and crossed the creek) the water was low. We had to take all of our bags off the bikes, carry the bikes over the creek, then go back across the creek to collect our bags, go back over, then reassemble. Also know that the rocks are really slippery so I went slowly, step by step, rock to rock. It was a lot of work to get everything across but we made it. We lucked out because it was relatively dry compared to the rest of the season last year. Money saved as we were determined to not take the shuttle.
David Anderson on 04/08/2019 10:37 AM
Check out google maps for a detour on the VA side. I am starting in Cumberland next Thursday and my plan is to try and ask any riders coming from D.C. how bad the washout was. If bad, I plan to detour via RT 287 bridge and back roads to the RT 15 bridge at Point of Rocks.
Willy from Alexandria VA on 04/19/2019 07:37 AM
As long as you are on Rt287 coming out of Brunswick, why not continue on 287 for 14 miles and pick up the Washington and Old Dominion Trail outside of Purcelville,VA.
Then ride the WOD to DC.
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/19/2019 09:13 AM
Wildly: How is the ride on Rt 287 to the WOD with a loaded bike? Is there a wide shoulder? How about traffic? I've not ridden the northern end of the WOD and was considering doing so in the next few weeks in route to DC. Is there any place to pitch a tent around Purcelville or Leesburg?
Kate from Frederick, MD on 05/08/2019 12:05 AM
I biked up to the washout last week and levels were low.
However, we just had a ton of rain this week. So it won't be fun to get across now - the river was significantly higher when I was on the trail today. At least a foot and half higher than it was last week.
Also, I would recommend not biking on route 15 if you can avoid it. It is a very dangerous highway.
If you can get a ride from Brunswick to Lander Road, I would recommend that instead - you'd be much safer. And it's only a few miles that you'd not be doing.
Be safe everyone and hope to see some of you out there!
Amtrak Capitol Limited Roll on Service -
Big Guy from Pittsburgh on 05/06/2019 04:40 PM
Hi I am a big guy so I have a large bike and want to take it on the train to DC then ride back. Will the Capital Limited handle a 29ER with 2.0 tires? How high is the ceiling in these trains. I am 6'5"? Thanks
Zen-B on 05/06/2019 05:42 PM
Amtrack says 2” or narrower tires. I am 6’5” and did the trip last year. Took my 60 cm Disc Trucker and had plenty of room. Left my ECR at home because of the 3” tires.
Big Guy from Pittsburgh on 05/07/2019 09:23 AM
Thanks Zen-B. The height of the bicycle is what I am very concerned about. With the extra large frame I have and 29" wheels it is 74" long. Your Disc Trucker has 26' wheel so that is 6" shorter. I can let out some air of the tire to make it fit the 2.0 for tire width, but how high are the ceilings. This the only bike I have so will this work or what can I do to make this work. (anyone know for sure).
Kubotaki from Traverse City, Mi on 05/07/2019 02:46 PM
I took a 29er large frame on last fall and 2.3 wide tires. No problems.
Big Guy from Pittsburgh on 05/07/2019 05:49 PM
Thanks Kubotaki, That's exactly what I needed to hear.
Crystal City to the C&O Trail -
KBLS on 04/26/2019 11:41 AM
We plan to stay in Crystal City, VA before starting our C&O GAP ride. I am looking for the best/safest way to get to the C&O trail-head. I am not familiar with the area and hope someone has some good advice.
Gary M from Charlotte, NC on 04/26/2019 05:31 PM
It has been a few years but as I remember...
Mt. Vernon Trail
14th Street Bridge
Rock Creek Trail
KBLS from Missouri on 04/29/2019 02:22 PM
Thanks, I was not sure of the safest bridges to ride across. I was looking up further at the Arlington Memorial Bridge, so I am glad I asked.
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 04/29/2019 07:13 PM
I've ridden across both the Theodore Roosevelt and Francis Scott Key Bridges to get from the Mount Vernon trail to the DC side of the Potomac River in route to/from the C&O Canal Trail. Both have sidewalks across those bridges to avoid having to ride "on street". That said, there is some street riding to do once you get across the bridges.
Mark from Kernersville NC on 05/03/2019 03:56 PM
I was just there. If you go over Arlington bridge, then pick up the rock creek trail to the left. Turn into the marina/water front and follow the the walkway next to Potomac. Then follow signs for crescent trail. C&O is parallel to the right. It’s confusing right there because of construction. Maps look like you can get on the C&O there after waterfront, but you can only get to crescent trail.
DC to Pittsburgh -
LinusK from Cullman, AL on 04/29/2019 02:33 PM
I am interested in doing the GAP and C&O from Pittsburgh to DC. A friend wants to go from DC to Pittsburgh. All the travel sights go the other way. Are there any pitfalls or concerns about going DC to Pittsburgh? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
dave gorman from hollidaysburg on 04/29/2019 03:31 PM
Going from Washington to Pittsburgh means that is a slight incline from Washington to Cumberland and also a bigger climb from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. Plus the end at Pittsburgh is boring and if you need interesting sights to keep you going at the end then I would prefer to end at Washington.
Stillriding from Pittsburgh on 04/29/2019 05:28 PM
OMG!!!!!What are you talking about in that the end ride in Pittsburgh is boring. Do you have bad eye site and not look around while you ride? If you ride the C&O to look at history then you will also enjoy the GAP. The trip in either direction is great. There is so much to see in Pittsburgh on the ride in. I am not going get in an argument with anybody because you have your opinion and I have mine. But be real about your comments or just add "in my opinion". :)
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 04/29/2019 07:03 PM
Go to the Forum article "East to West?" on Page 5 published earlier here that provides several good comparisons of riding for 9Pittsburgh to DC or vice versa.
Dave Gorman from Hollidaysburg, PA on 04/29/2019 07:14 PM
Gary Semroc from Greenville on 04/29/2019 07:23 PM
Are you kidding me about how "boring" it is to end at Pittsburgh? The Point fountain and views of the city are spectacular. Coming into D C on the canal you are looking at the backs of buildings amd it just ends at deck of Georgetown U
Dave Gorman from Hollidaysburg, PA on 04/29/2019 09:58 PM
Guess everyone has their preferences and apparently I am in the minority so there you go, Pittsburgh is NOT boring! So gwt off my case people.:)
Gary M from Charlotte on 04/29/2019 10:23 PM
I prefer the 3 hour uphill struggle to the Eastern Cont. Divide from Cumberland then 1.5 days Constant uphill. Done both, enjoyed both. My opinion.
DC from Dyer, IN on 04/30/2019 10:50 PM
I liked Pitt to DC. The ride from cont divide down to Cumberland is a lot of fun. Minimal effort.
Biking the GAP Trail -
Bill U from Huntingtown MD on 04/27/2019 04:40 PM
I just finished doing the GAP trail on April 24, 2019 from Frostburg to Pittsburgh and here is some current info:
Most people go from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, I chose the other way for a few reasons. Once you get past the Continental Divide around MP 23, it's mostly downhill to Pittsburgh. I'm an older biker so I got a shuttle from one of the Cumberland Bike shops up to Frostburg (MP 15), the major part of the climb to 2392 feet. I stayed at the Trailside Inn. You can camp, stay in the hostel or rent a room. The folks at the Inn offer a cheaper shuttle service and can either pick you up in Cumberland and take you up the hill or just shuttle your gear to make the climb easier.
Parking in Cumberland is easy. There's a long-term lot for free just next to the Visitor's center downtown.
Getting back was simpler. Enterprise rental car has an office in downtown Pittsburgh and Cumberland. For less than $100, you can rent an SUV one-way that easily fit my bike and gear. They have larger cars and pick-ups for more than one bike (no bike racks). The office in Pittsburgh is on 11th street and easily accessible by bike. When you reach the end of the GAP trail in Point State Park, continue around the point along the bike path/walkway and in about a half mile there's a large pedestrian ramp to the right under the David Lawrence Convention Center. Go up to Penn Avenue, take a left onto a designated bike lane and go one block to the Grant Street Transportation Center. Enterprise has on office right there. It was very easy. The office in Cumberland is a few miles from downtown. I got there after closing. After unloading gear into my car in Cumberland, I was able to drop off the rental car (they have an after hours dropbox for the keys)and take a taxi back.
Notes on camping:
Husky Haven Campground in Rockwood isn't on a lot of GAP sites but it's a great place to stay.
The Outflow campground in Confluence no longer accepts walk-ups, you have to reserve the site through recreation.gov online or by phone (877) 444-6777. The number listed on the GAP trail camping list goes to the Ranger station.
The hiker/biker campground in Connellsville is right next to town, there's lots of traffic and noise. The KOA campground about two miles north was a lot quieter and had showers.
I just passed them by, but the Roundbottom, Cedar Creek and Dravo's Landing hiker/biker sites looked like really nice places to camp.
The GAP is a great ride, enjoy!
Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 04/27/2019 08:02 PM
We crossed paths at the Pumphouse in Homestead. Glad to hear you found your way to and around the Point to get to the Enterpise office downtown. I presume you, indeed, made it there in plenty of time.
Thanks for the info about no longer taking walkins at the Confluence camping area. It wasn't that way when I last stayed.
The Rond Bottom, Cedar Creek Park and Dravo Landing camping areas are indeed nice camping areas. That said you'll hear the trains along the other side of the river throughout the night at all of them not unlike at the Husky Haven campground in Rockwood.
Bill U from Huntingtown MD on 04/29/2019 10:32 AM
Thanks to your directions I made it in plenty of time! Hope to cross paths again, Bill
Harpers Ferry Road Lot in Harpers Ferry -
Cris from Greensboro NC on 04/28/2019 02:20 PM
Is this area available for long term parking while I ride to Pittsburgh and back?