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Fall in Ohiopyle
Fall in Ohiopyle, PA on the GAP
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Fifteen Mile Creek construction - access to Little Orleans?
 -  + With the construction at Fifteen Mile Creek, is there access from the C&O Canal towpath to Little Orleans and Bill's Place? The detour map on the NPS site seems to indicate NO access with the detour...
Discussion started 05/26/2024 12:26 PM by Straus Guide 80 - 3 replies (last reply by Straus Guide 80 at 05/29/2024 12:21 AM)
Straus Guide 80 from Thornton, CO on 05/26/2024 12:26 PM
With the construction at Fifteen Mile Creek, is there access from the C&O Canal towpath to Little Orleans and Bill's Place?

The detour map on the NPS site seems to indicate NO access with the detour being on the campground / boat ramp side of the canal.

I'm going back after many years and can't miss L.Orleans.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/26/2024 06:29 PM
For what it’s worth, the following C&O Detour Information website states the following in and around 15-Mile Creek. No mention of closures in that area. There were no issues there last fall but I trust recent travellers through that area can provide an accurate and current account of the situation there, if any.

Polly Pond (MP 134.3)

Towpath Detour, The bridge across Polly Pond Creek is closed. All cyclists and pedestrians will be detoured to the Western Maryland Rail Trail between Lock 55 (mile 134.1) and Lock 56 (mile 136.2).

Fifteenmile Creek (MP 140.9)

Open, Campground.
Open, Parking lot.
Open, Boat ramp.

If you are specifically interested at stopping at Billl’s Place even though Bill himself is no longer there you’d do well to call ahead and make sure it’s open on the day you plan to be there.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/27/2024 12:21 PM
On Bills Place Facebook page there is a picture post from 2 days ago that exclaims “The Bridge is Open Woohoo!”

Perhaps that is some insight into your question.

 
Straus Guide 80 from Thornton, CO on 05/29/2024 12:21 AM
Thanks Rivnuts! I looked at the N.P. website before I wrote that request. It changed the next day to "Open". Perhaps I'll ask about other detours and they'll open, too. :-)

I'm moving my start day from Cumberland up a day to Sunday 6/23 in hope that Bill's Place will be open and Jack Schoenadel will be there since it looks like it's usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays even in the summer.


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Fifteen Mile Creek construction - access to Little Orleans?
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Which Camps have Hot Showers on the GAP & C&O
 -  + Planning on riding from Pittsburgh (leaving Wed 05-22-24) towards DC (arrival on Sunday 05-26-24). Which campsites have Hot Showers?
Discussion started 04/20/2024 05:01 PM by Dany - 3 replies (last reply by Andy at 05/24/2024 09:25 AM)
Dany from West Bloomfield Township, MI on 04/20/2024 05:01 PM
Planning on riding from Pittsburgh (leaving Wed 05-22-24) towards DC (arrival on Sunday 05-26-24).
Which campsites have Hot Showers?


 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/20/2024 08:38 PM
The following campgrounds have hot showers:

Gap Trail Campground - West Newton, PA
Uniontown KOA - Connellsville, PA
Outflow Campground - Confluence, PA
Ohiopyle State Park - Ohiopyle, PA
Maple Festival Campground - Meyersdale, PA
Frostburg Trail Inn - Frostburg, MD
Cumberland YMCA - Cumberland, MD
C&O Bicycle - Hancock, MD
Brunswick Family Campground - Brunswick, MD

These are all pay-to-stay outdoor camping facilities. I'm unaware of any free campgrounds with hot showers. The campgrounds themselves and other amenities vary from site to site.

Other forum contributors may know of others in case I missed them.





 
Crazy Hiker on 05/19/2024 10:19 AM
I can only speak for the C&O since I've never been on the GAP.

None of the free hiker/biker campsites on the C&O have any type of shower facilities, and none of the drive-in sites along the towpath have showers either. The only amenities these sites have are water pumps, port o potty, table, and fire ring.

Only choice to clean up a bit is using the available water pump, or some of the places Rivnuts suggested. Note that at a lot of the sites, you have to pump the handle for a while before water comes out.

When I lived in Cumberland in the 90s and early 2000s, I biked the trail from Cumberland to the Paw Paw Tunnel every couple weeks, and the only pump that never worked for me was at the Potomac Forks site. It's been years since I've been there, so it's possible it could be working now. But always have back-up water with you in case a site doesn't have a functioning water pump.

Enjoy the ride!

 
Andy from Pittsburgh on 05/24/2024 09:25 AM
Fort Frederick State Park (downstream from Hancock) has outdoor showers (rinse off station) at one of the buildings across from the fort. Not heated, but may be nice to access if you are staying at one of the nearby hiker-biker campgrounds.


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Quality Inn Spring Mills - Martinsburg North in Williamsport
 -  + Is the Quality inn Spring Mill an easy ride off trail?
Discussion started 05/18/2024 06:44 PM by Chicken Little - 2 replies (last reply by Rivnuts at 05/19/2024 12:04 PM)
Chicken Little from Albuquerque on 05/18/2024 06:44 PM
Is the Quality inn Spring Mill an easy ride off trail?

 
Ray (webmaster) on 05/19/2024 11:46 AM
I'm glad you asked about that! I haven't been there, but looking at the map I'm pretty sure it's not easy to get to on bike.

We check our listings against Google, based on proximity to the trail. And in fact the Quality Inn Spring Mills is not far from the trail - but it's on the wrong side of the Potomac River. You would have to go way out of your way to get to a river crossing and the backtrack to the hotel.

I am dropping that business from the listings, because it's not practical for cyclists. Like I said, Google can tell us that a business is close to the trail, but in this case Google didn't understand the geographic barrier of the river.

Hopefully you can find something good from the many lodging options on the Williamsport side of the river.

Happy trails....

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/19/2024 12:04 PM
The easiest way to Martinsburg is by Amtrak. As Ray noted, getting there by bike from the C&O Towpath is not easy.


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shuttle
 -  + looking for suggested shuttle services. Planning to park in Cumberland and need to shuttle to DC to start
Discussion started 03/17/2024 11:42 AM by AWOL921 - 7 replies (last reply by Rivnuts at 05/17/2024 04:49 AM)
AWOL921 on 03/17/2024 11:42 AM
looking for suggested shuttle services. Planning to park in Cumberland and need to shuttle to DC to start

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 03/17/2024 04:50 PM
You might try Wheelzup Bike Shop in Cumberland and 2 Wheels Escape in Hagerstown.

You might want to consider Amtrak with their bike roll-on service. Just don’t wait to long to make such a train reservation to insure you can get the necessary bike reservation as well.

 
Barry from Hershey,PA on 03/18/2024 08:32 AM
The C&O Bike Shop in Hancock, MD also offers shuttle service to DC, Pittsburgh and all points in between. We have used them several times.

 
JJ -WHEELS from DC Area on 04/04/2024 12:22 PM
The Wheelzup place in Cumberland has a summer group shuttle that is highly reduced to $90/ person to Pitt, if there are 5 or more. I think just on Wednesdays. Norm rate is $365 or so

No such discount at C&O Bike Shop in Hancock.
$380 for 1-2 ppl & bikes.

 
AWOL921 on 05/04/2024 01:06 PM
shuttle cost are extremely high, looking to rent a car in Cumberland and dropping it off at Reagan international airport (DCA) hearing its a 5 mile ride to start of the trail. is this do able ??

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/04/2024 07:52 PM
It is quite doable. From Reagan Airport, you can ride the Mt. Vernon bike trail north then crossing eastward across the Potomac River via the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Once across the bridge you’ll pickup the Rock Creek Trail or on to Virginia Avenue to the Thompson Boat/Rowing center behind which is Mile Post 0 and the origin of the C&O Towpath.

You can follow these trails using Google Maps. Expand it as necessary to see the details supplemented by closeups using satellite view to see the land marks in route.

 
Book Club from Lehighton, PA on 05/16/2024 08:55 AM
Hello
Checking out this thread to get info. Great stuff. My group(the Book Club) just finished the Cumberland to Sharpsburg portion of theC&O. Great time! We like to finish our ride at our vehicle. Left cars in Sharpsburg & shuttled to Cumberland(we used wheels-up shuttle-wonderful!) Now I’m planning the next trip for fall. Sharpsburg to DC.
My question: how hard is it to pick up the Mt Vernon Trail N from the airport parking lot?
I think this would be a great add on portion to our trip & also solves the parking issue.
Thanks for any input.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/17/2024 04:49 AM
The Mt. Vernon Trail is adjacent to the airport’s West Entrance Road. The hardest part is just getting out of the airport itself.


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Amtrak
 -  + Hi everyone, I was going to drive down to Cumberland and take the Amtrak to D.C. and ride back on the C & O all 184.5 miles but was thinking of biking from Cumberland to D.C. then take the Amtrak ...
Discussion started 05/10/2024 04:38 PM by ez-does-it - 5 replies (last reply by ez-does-it at 05/11/2024 09:45 AM)
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 05/10/2024 04:38 PM
Hi everyone,
I was going to drive down to Cumberland and take the Amtrak to D.C. and ride back on the C & O all 184.5 miles but was thinking of biking from Cumberland to D.C. then take the Amtrak back to Cumberland where my car will be parked can anyone here give any suggestions for either direction ?
And is any direction any better then the other ?Thank you for your time.

Ez-Does-It

 
Recreational Rider from Cleveland, OH on 05/10/2024 05:23 PM
In 2018, a friend of mine and I took the Amtrak from Cumberland to D.C. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn right on the trail in Cumberland the night before so we could leave our car. The station isn’t far from the hotel. We chose to bike from D.C. to Cumberland so we could get away from D.C. and not have to worry so much about the car. That was before all of the things that are happening now. We had planned out where we were staying along the way back. We camped the first night and then biked to Shepardstown, WV and stayed at the The Mecklenburg Inn, which is above the bar. It wasn’t busy at that time and it was a good stay. The owner was very nice. We biked to Hancock the next day. The B&B we stayed at right on the trail in Hancock is no longer open. The next day we went back into Cumberland.

I don’t know if one way is better than another. One thing to really consider is getting off of the C&O when you can pick up the Western Maryland Rail Trail. It makes the ride so much more enjoyable because the C&O can be rough riding. https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/wmrt.aspx

When we finished, we stayed right back at the Fairfield Inn right on the trail. It was a great way to finish being able to stay right there.

Be sure to book Amtrack early so you can check to make sure they have bike space available.

 
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 05/10/2024 06:33 PM
Thank. you so much that's just what I was thinking to do .
stay the night at the fire field Inn then on to d.C. then back to Cumberland and the holtel.

 
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 05/10/2024 06:36 PM
Sorry meant to say the Fairfield Inn and D.C.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 05/11/2024 06:52 AM
I’ll offer a couple of additional thoughts. The ability to park for free in Cumberland is noteworthy. In addition to parking at the Fairfield if you stay there (and likely even if you don’t, I.e. “stealth parking”), you can park in the municipal lot under the bridge near Canal Place as well for free.

Secondly, by parking in Cumberland, training to DC and riding back to Cumberland removes any time costraints since there is no need to reach Cumberland on any particular day or at any particular time allowing more flexibility to your itinerary or the ability to adjust it mid-ride without the possiblility of forfeiting the cost of your train ticket.

Lastly, by riding back to Cumberland, you face the least maintained part of the Towpath at the end of your trip. Thus, if you encounter inclement weather prior to or during your ride, the muddiest portion of the trip will be at the end. Note, there has been a bike wash station at the Fairfield Inn in the past that would allow you clean off your bike and gear before loading them back in/on your car.

And lastly, lastly, by training to DC first, you can avoid an expensive overnight in DC. The train arrives in DC in the early afternoon which offers you the opportunity to immediately begin your ride and get out onto the Towpath for your first overnight. The Swains Lock H/B campsite and those beyond are readily achievable after your early afternoon arrival in DC. Note that the Swains Lock H/B campsite can be crowded on tha weekend when the local residents go there to camp given its proximity to and accessibility from the city.

 
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 05/11/2024 09:45 AM
Thank you


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E-Bike Charging Stations
 -  + The GAP Trail website recently reported that new public E-Bike charging stations/receptacles have been installed in Cumberland and Meyersdale. See the GAP Trail website for details of their locations...
Discussion started 04/28/2024 06:30 PM by Rivnuts - 0 replies
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/28/2024 06:30 PM
The GAP Trail website recently reported that new public E-Bike charging stations/receptacles have been installed in Cumberland and Meyersdale. See the GAP Trail website for details of their locations.


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Petition to continue improving C&O Tow Path surface
 -  + The C&O Canal Trust is working to secure more funds from MD state to continue resurfacing the Tow Path: https://www.canaltrust.org/2024/04/help-us-create-a-safe-smooth-co-canal-towpath-let-your-voice-...
Discussion started 04/27/2024 01:38 PM by WKR - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/27/2024 03:45 PM)
WKR from Brunswick, MD on 04/27/2024 01:38 PM
The C&O Canal Trust is working to secure more funds from MD state to continue resurfacing the Tow Path:
https://www.canaltrust.org/2024/04/help-us-create-a-safe-smooth-co-canal-towpath-let-your-voice-be-heard-2/

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/27/2024 03:45 PM
WKR:

They may dismiss my addition to the Canal Trust’s Petition since I’m not a Maryland resident but I submitted it regardless. Thanks for aiding in taking up our cause.

Rivnuts


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late season ride?
 -  + For those familiar with weather along the C&O/GAP trail: how late in the season is it reasonable to anticipate decent weather along the trails? Am retired and living/working in Glacier this summer and...
Discussion started 04/19/2024 10:20 PM by RDM - 2 replies (last reply by RDM at 04/25/2024 09:09 PM)
RDM from Middletown, Ohio on 04/19/2024 10:20 PM
For those familiar with weather along the C&O/GAP trail: how late in the season is it reasonable to anticipate decent weather along the trails? Am retired and living/working in Glacier this summer and won't be home til Oct 15th, +/-. Is late October generally decent weather-wise?
Unrelated, but for anyone else interested, the two major concessionaires out there generally have open jobs through late May.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/20/2024 10:36 AM
Here are some objective data to consider. Of course, your decision may well be influenced by whether you plan to camp or stay indoors along the way.

Here are the monthly average high and low temperatures for September and October in towns along the GAP/C&O:

Pittsburgh: 75/55 and 64/44
Meyersdale: 73/47 and 50/29
Hancock: 78/53 and 67/40

Note the average monthly rainfalls in Pittsburgh in September and October are 3.02 and 2.17 respectively.

Comparing specific daily average high and low temperatures on and around October 15 are as follows:

Pittsburgh: 9/15 76/56, 10/1 69/49, 10/15 64/44, 11/1 59/39
Meyersdale: 9/15 73/48, 10/1 66/41, 10/15 61/36, 11/1 55/32

Subjectively and from my experiences, I believe that to have the highest probability of having an enjoyable trip is late September. Once into October, there is higher probability of having one or more days of extreme temperature range. October can be quite lovely fall travel but there is also greater chance of having some uncomfortable days. Some miserable cold days made worse by rain or even significant snowfall in the higher elevations are not unprecedented especially as October progresses.

Your decision may well rest on your preparedness and acceptance of the conditions you may encounter.

 
RDM from Middletown, Ohio on 04/25/2024 09:09 PM
Thank you for that amount and level of information! Appears that a decision to ride mid to late October may best be made within a few days, based on weather prediction. Again, thank you for the time it took to compile that data!


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Fallingwater in Ohiopyle
 -  + Why can’t you bicycle up to Fallingwater?
Discussion started 04/20/2024 11:23 PM by Bikerhall - 2 replies (last reply by Bikerhall at 04/21/2024 11:04 AM)
Bikerhall from West Virginia on 04/20/2024 11:23 PM
Why can’t you bicycle up to Fallingwater?

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/21/2024 10:24 AM
It’s not that you can’t, it’s whether you’re comfortable riding two lane roads that can have fast moving cars and climbing a fair bit. PA 381, aka Mill Run Road, will get you there but you’ll have a 1.75 mile climb averaging 5.75% with some sections at or over 10% returning from Fallingwater.

 
Bikerhall from West Virginia on 04/21/2024 11:04 AM
Thank you.
It’s just that some sources said “you can’t” bicycle to Fallingwater without explanation.
Now we all know!


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LODGING ABOUT 30 MILES SOUTH EAST OF HARPER
 -  + I've been looking at the trip planner for biking from Harper's Ferry to Georgetown. The listing shows lodging in Leesburg at about 30 miles-perfect! Except, when I called the hotel said that the ferr...
Discussion started 04/20/2024 08:56 PM by MANDIE - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/21/2024 10:05 AM)
MANDIE from JACKSON, WY on 04/20/2024 08:56 PM
I've been looking at the trip planner for biking from Harper's Ferry to Georgetown. The listing shows lodging in Leesburg at about 30 miles-perfect! Except, when I called the hotel said that the ferry is now closed so the Leesburg hotel is on Virginia side of river & I'll be on Maryland side. Any suggestion for lodging about 1/2 way between Harper's Ferry & Georgetown on the Maryland side? Also, food would be good too.

The guide page needs to be updated!
Thanks!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/21/2024 10:05 AM
The only available lodging near the trail closer to Georgetown than Harper’s Ferry is in Brunswick as far as I know and it’s only a few miles on down the trail from Harpers Ferry. While the hotels in Leesburg were off the trail, the shutdown of Whites Ferry has virtually made the inaccessible for bikers. Ugh!



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Maple Festival Park Campground in Meyersdale - Open in April?
 -  + Has anyone cammped at the Maple Festival Park Campground in April? The website says they don't open for camping until May.
Discussion started 04/19/2024 07:35 PM by Tony C - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/19/2024 08:43 PM)
Tony C from Indianapolis on 04/19/2024 07:35 PM
Has anyone cammped at the Maple Festival Park Campground in April? The website says they don't open for camping until May.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/19/2024 08:43 PM
I’ve stayed there a number of times although not in April. The people there are very friendly. In particular, Susie, who meets with and registers arriving bikers is very accommodating. I’m not sure why they state they are not open until May unless that is when they normally turn the water on in the restroom/shower room after winter which would be simple to do.

I’d suggest you try to contact them/her and see if they have already opened or would be willing to do so. I’ve observed several bikers/campers headed to Cumberland from Pittsburgh who would have been interested in staying there and may have. It’s worth a call. If indeed its not going to open until May, there are three or four B&B’s in Meyersdale. While you may already know, the Husky Haven campground in Rockwood has been closed.

Rivnuts
Original Hoosier and Decatur Central grad


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closures?
 -  + I've heard there have been some closures in the past. The Paw Paw tunnel I assume is now open. But any other advisements. Rivnuts, thanks so much for some former advice. I'm still debating whether to ...
Discussion started 04/19/2024 01:47 PM by Mark S. - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/19/2024 03:40 PM)
Mark S. from Redford Twp., Mi on 04/19/2024 01:47 PM
I've heard there have been some closures in the past. The Paw Paw tunnel I assume is now open. But any other advisements. Rivnuts, thanks so much for some former advice. I'm still debating whether to do a July tour.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/19/2024 03:40 PM

See my response to the recent thread about detours on the GAP and C&O posted today.


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Hammock Camping on the C & )
 -  + Hi everyone, I will be driving down to Cumberland and leaving my car and taking the Amtrak to DC then ride back to my car. Can anyone recommend what campsites would be good to hang my hammock ? Th...
Discussion started 04/18/2024 09:33 AM by ez-does-it - 2 replies (last reply by ez-does-it at 04/19/2024 12:52 PM)
ez-does-it from Brick, N.J. on 04/18/2024 09:33 AM
Hi everyone,
I will be driving down to Cumberland and leaving my car and taking the Amtrak to DC then ride back to my car.
Can anyone recommend what campsites would be good to hang my hammock ?
Thank you for your time.

EZ

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/18/2024 09:11 PM
ez-does-it:

Love your pseudonym. Wish I had thought of it.

While I've ridden and camped the length of the C&O a number of times, I'm afraid I can't recall or segregate but a few specific campsite features since they are all quite similar. Further, I don't use a hammock such that unique experiences to do so don't come to mind. (A forgetful mind doesn't help.) I can however make a few general comments and, perhaps, others will identify specific campsites.

First, none of the hiker/biker (H/B) sites have any man-made posts or structures from which to rig a hammock. Trees are really your only option. Each of the H/B's is a grassy area created within a wooded area adjacent to the Towpath itself. Many have a few trees within the grassy camping area that you may be able to rig your hammock. If you leave the grassy area, you may also find trees in the adjacent surrounding wooded area.

If you scan the Internet you'll find some pictures of some of the campsites to make your own determination of suitability. You'll also find video clips of some of the sites in the Pedalshift YouTube channel. To find them, go to YouTube and search for "C&O Canal Campsite Reviews" and scroll through them to locate the various Pedalshift channel videos for many of the campsites. Maybe those will help.

 
ez-does-it from Brick,N.J. on 04/19/2024 12:52 PM
Thank you for your response


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Detours for the GAP & C&O trails between May 20 to 28th, 2024
 -  + I appreciate a reliable source indicating what detours will be along the GAP & C&O trails between May 20 to 28th, 2024. Thanks for everyone's help.
Discussion started 04/19/2024 10:46 AM by Dany - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/19/2024 11:22 AM)
Dany from West Bloomfield Township on 04/19/2024 10:46 AM
I appreciate a reliable source indicating what detours will be along the GAP & C&O trails between May 20 to 28th, 2024.
Thanks for everyone's help.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/19/2024 11:22 AM
At present there are no scheduled detours on the GAP during this touring season. There may be some ongoing trail resurfacing work between Smithton and Connellsville but no detour is required. You can monitor trail conditions for the GAP online at the gaptrail.org website.

As for the C&O, there are no significant detours at this time requiring lengthy on-road detours. You can monitor the trail conditions o along the C&O at the NPS.gov website. Note the “detours” currently shown there are not new or significant.

A couple of notes of caution include that the referenced websites for the GAP and C&O are not maintained in immediate real time. There can be lags in their information. Also, spring brings weather and storms that can result in detours of varying degrees. The GAP is not subject to flooding outside downtown Pittsburgh but can sustain fallen trees due to high winds. Short of major damage from tornadoes, isolated downed trees are usually cleared quickly. You may have to lift your bike over a fallen tree however if it has not been cleared. The C&O is vulnerable to flood damage in various locations where it passes near river level and can require detours of varying lengths on road. Thus, you should refer to the referenced websites above if major weather events have occurred. That said, the best and most timely trail condition information comes from fellow travelers you encounter having come from the opposite direction.



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Appreciate you thoughts on our GAP/C&O plan
 -  + Howdy from Texas, I'm in the early stages of planning for my wife and I's rookie trip down both trails. I'm a very experienced bike packer but it will be my wife's first tour so we're planning to cre...
Discussion started 04/05/2024 03:29 PM by MS - 6 replies (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/16/2024 06:30 PM)
MS from Texas on 04/05/2024 03:29 PM
Howdy from Texas,

I'm in the early stages of planning for my wife and I's rookie trip down both trails. I'm a very experienced bike packer but it will be my wife's first tour so we're planning to credit card tour the entire trip from Pittsburg to DC. She is an experienced rider though.

We haven't set a start date but we'll likely start around mid to late September (possibly into October) and plan to do it in 7 days averaging roughly 40-60 miles per day. We're not too concerned about rain/mud as we've got the gear and experience to trudge through if necessary.

Day 1 - Pittsburgh to Perryopolis (47 miles)
Day 2 - Perryopolis to Confluence (40 miles) (shuttle to Fallingwater mid-ride)
Day 3 - Confluence to Cumberland (61 miles)
Day 4 - Cumberland to Little Orleans (43 miles)
Day 5 - Little Orleans to Williamsport (41 miles) (visit Fort Frederick and/or Antietam)
Day 6 - Williamsport to Brunswick (45 miles)
Day 7 - Brunswick to DC (55 miles)

I'd appreciate any thoughts from the more experienced trail riders on our initial plan, as well as any suggestions for interesting side trips, restraints, pubs, towns, hotels or B&B's, or just anything we should try not to miss while in the area.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/05/2024 09:33 PM
Mid to late September is, in my opinion, the ideal time to make this trip. While early to mid-October is usually nice as well, there can be an occasional quite cool evening/morning along the way especially at the higher elevations on the GAP, say from Garret to the Continental Divide.

Your itinerary is fine. While your longest day is 61 miles from Confluence to Cumberland, the last 22 miles is a very easy downhill ride.

Most of your overnight towns have multiple options for overnight accommodations. I've stayed successfully at the following but I confess I have a fairly low bar for one night sleeps but I don't necessarily seek them out.

Perryopolis - The Inn at Lenora's (slightly uphill off the trail)
Cumberland - Fairfield Inn (directly on the trail)
Little Orleans - Town Hill Bed & Breakfast (Off trail with shuttle)
Williamsport - Red Roof Inn (Uphill off the trail, Elmwood Farm B&B (off trail with shuttle)
Brunswick - Travel Lodge (Uphill off)

You may want to consider the two paved parallel trails, the WMRT and the Capital Crescent Trail, if your tire of the natural surface of the C&O.


Some additional sites worth seeing or noting might include:


Pittburgh Steelers Training Facility leaving Pittsburgh
Various remnants of, and one operating, steel mill leaving Pittsburgh
The restored train stations along the way in West Newton, Meyersdale and Cumberland
The falls and rapids in Ohiopyle
The Eastern Continental Divide and the Big Savage Tunnel after Deal, PA
The Paw Paw Tunnel near Paw Paw WV
Bill's Place in Little Orleans (if open)
The college towns of Shepherdstown and Frostburg
Beans in the Belfry Cafe in Brunswick
The Great Falls near Potomac
Milepost 0 in DC (if you can find it)

I could go on and on since there are so many but I suggest that first time riders of the GAP/C&O take some time to read about the history of each of those trails to better appreciate all the towns, sites and features along the way.

If you have other or more specific questions, feel free to drop a note.

 
MS from Texas on 04/06/2024 12:14 PM
Thanks Rivnuts for your comments.

Interestingly, I already have the Inn @ Lenora's on my list of places to try to stay.

After doing some more research last night and this morning, should we be concerned that we may be getting to Little Orleans on a day that Bill's Place is closed (early in the week)? Assuming of course that we can get a room at TownHill.

Thanks

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/06/2024 08:30 PM
Lenora's place is about as close as any from the trail. Although its been a few years since I stayed there, I assume that Lenora and her husband still operate the Inn. Both she and her husband Bob are characters and very nice. Lenora was an accomplished chef so you may want to consider having dinner there as well as the normal breakfast at the B&B.

Bill's Place is just a simple restaurant. There is no lodging there. Finding Bill's Place open these days seems rather hit or miss. Since Bill died several years, operation of the place is seemingly sporadic. If it is not open, you really haven't missed a whole lot. Bill and his personality made the place a notable landmark along the trail but it is not what it once was. If open, you can still get a sandwich and a cold drink there on your way to Hancock. However, I'd plan to have something to eat or drink with me and not rely on it being open.

Town Hill is a few miles off the trail which is not an issue with the shuttle. It used to be known for its tomato pie when its previous owner, Dave, operated the inn. He had planned to transfer the operation to his daughter. Hopefully she still offers that unusual culinary item.

 
KE from Oakland CA on 04/16/2024 03:54 PM
Thank you Rivnuts! Very helpful comments and suggestions. My daughter lives in DC and I am planning a similar ride also in September.
I want to ride the whole GAP trail but might consider skipping parts of the C&O (I've ridden on it before). Hard to tell if any paved roads are safe for riding. Wouldn't mind riding through Antietam Battlefield. Also Considering bailing near Brunswick and riding rte 690 to Purcellville and then onto the W&OD rail trail.
Any thoughts, warnings, or recommendations for paved roads along the C&O (besides the WMRT).

 
KE from Oakland CA on 04/16/2024 03:57 PM
To clarify: when I say "skip", I mean get off the towpath and ride roads.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 04/16/2024 06:30 PM
KE from Oakland:

There aren't any roads carrying motorized traffic on the C&O unless you get off of it such as to ride over to the Antietam Battlefield. Even the WMRT and the Capital Crescent Trail near DC, which are indeed paved, carry no motorized vehicle traffic. Similarly, there are only a few, lightly-travelled blocks outside Pittsburgh where a cyclist can encounter cars. The GAP and C&O is a very safe long distance trail.

I have taken Rt 690 north out of Purcellville and continuing on Rts, 711, 716, 719, 751, 9, 671 and 340 to Harpers Ferry on a return ride from DC to Pittsburgh via the WOD out of DC in 2019. As I recall Rt 340 was clearly the most heavily travelled and a little anxious but wasn't a long distance. The rest were 2-lane state/county roads with not a lot of traffic but some twists and turns. I have not ridden from Brunswick to Purcellville.

If only, Whites Ferry were still in operation as junping off the C&O and catching the WOD in Leesburg was very easy and straight forward albeit with a modicum of traffic on Bus Rt 15.

Not sure I answered your question. If not or have others, feel free to drop another note on this forum. Since September is my favorite time to make the full trip, perhaps we'll cross paths on the trail and, of course, beware of the walnuts!


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Appreciate you thoughts on our GAP/C&O plan
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Which direction to bike C&O?
 -  + Hey everyone - I’m heading out bikepacking the C&O in late May and still deciding which direction to go (Georgetown > Cumberland, or Cumberland > Georgetown). I’m seeing conflicting ideas online, so w...
Discussion started 04/16/2024 01:32 PM by B. - 2 replies (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/16/2024 03:34 PM)
B. on 04/16/2024 01:32 PM
Hey everyone - I’m heading out bikepacking the C&O in late May and still deciding which direction to go (Georgetown > Cumberland, or Cumberland > Georgetown). I’m seeing conflicting ideas online, so wanting to gather some more recent thoughts. Could anyone share some pros and cons? Thanks so much.

 
B. on 04/16/2024 02:16 PM
A quick follow-up: I live in DC and will be renting a UHaul / SUV one-way for transport either to or from Cumberland. I’m taking my time and making it a leisurely ride over 4 days with various stops. I’ll be staying at campsites along the way each night. Not sure if it’s better to start or end at “home in DC!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 04/16/2024 03:34 PM
This is a recurring question with no definitive answer. If it were me, I’d schedule my trip to try to incur the driest conditions on the Cumberland end upon departing/arriving there.

If you wanted to consider using Amtrak for the one-way portion of your trip, you should check to see in which direction both seats and bike reservations are available.

Otherwise, the choice of direction would be a pickem in my opinion. I’m sure others may have some other thoughts/recommendations.


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Flooding in Pittsburgh
 -  + Is the GAP open through Pittsburgh to the point? I know there's been some serious flooding, and they closed the parking wharf and the Parkway.
Discussion started 04/14/2024 01:58 PM by Rick - 1 reply (last reply by Rivnuts at 04/14/2024 05:07 PM)
Rick from Greenock on 04/14/2024 01:58 PM
Is the GAP open through Pittsburgh to the point? I know there's been some serious flooding, and they closed the parking wharf and the Parkway.

 
Rivnuts from Homesteadthe on 04/14/2024 05:07 PM
The GAP Trail toward Pgh is open and fine until you reach Smithfield Street. But the Mon Wharf is flooded along with the lower level around the Point when I rode there this morning.

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