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 ... 105
Hanna House Bed and Breakfast in Confluence
Kathleen from Oolitic, IN on 06/29/2019 07:54 AM
My Dad and I stayed at Hanna House on our recent bike trip on the GAP and C&O. Francis is a delightful host. Her home is beautiful. She has a beautiful new room with 2 twin beds in it, perfect for this father/daughter team. Although Hanna House is not located directly on the trail is was easy to find and not a difficult ride. Francis made a delicious breakfast for us the next morning, the perfect fuel for the day ahead. I highly recommend Hanna House!!

Trail conditions
Peter Liaw from San Jose CA on 06/20/2019 05:59 AM
We just road from Cumberland to Hancock. The trail was pretty muddy and bumpy. Is it like this all the way to DC?

Richard from DC on 06/20/2019 11:57 AM
It's usually muddy until you get to Violette's Lock, which is about mile 22. From there on into DC, the towpath is compacted sand.

Peter from Dallas on 06/20/2019 12:39 PM
I did DC -> Pitt last week. The stretch between Hancock and Cumberland was definitely in the worse shape, very muddy. We did have rain the previous night, and during the day, but I think that it still would have been muddy. Conditions should be better on the other side of Hancock with variable trail conditions, some sand, some gravel, a bit of mud, and some crushed stone. The 15-20 miles N of Harpers Ferry seemed to be a bit bumpier than the rest of the trail.

Stephen from Jamestown,NC on 06/22/2019 09:15 PM
Just completed DC to Pittsburgh this past week. C&O is pretty much mud and muck. Certainly passable but be prepared to get dirty/muddy. The GAP is fine, not much mud. Several trees down on both trails too. All and all it was drier than last year but still plenty wet.

Peter Liaw from San Jose CA on 06/23/2019 07:23 AM
Thanks for your feedback. We arrived in DC Friday night. Cumberland to Hancock was definitely the worse part of the trail. There was a paved path for over 10 miles that would have saved us some rough riding through mud and mosquitoes but we but we missed it. It was not marked at all. Conditions were better from Hancock to DC.

Anonymous on 06/23/2019 02:02 PM
Do you know approximately where the over 10 miles of paved path is?

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/23/2019 05:49 PM
The paved Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) runs parallel and within sight of a portion of the C&O Towpath. It runs from about 2 miles east of Fifteen Mile Creek (Little Orleans) to 11 miles southeast of Hancock for a total of about 28 miles. It was formerly only about 22 miles (11 miles on either side of Hancock) but has been extended to the west to within a couple of miles of Fifteen Mile Creek. You need to be watchful while traveling on the Towpath to find the new ramp that takes you up to the WMRT.

Pittsburgh bike shop near the trail
Bike traveller from Austin, Texas on 06/22/2019 09:02 PM
I’m flying into Pittsburgh next month to bike the trail to DC. My plan is to ship my bike to a Pittsburgh bike shop that can take the bike back out of the shipping box and reassemble it. Anyone know of a Pittsburgh bike shop near trail?

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/22/2019 09:19 PM
Thick Bikes in the South Side of Pittsbugh is just a few blocks from the bike trail on the south side of the Monongahela River that joins the formal GAP trail at the Hot Metal Bridge about a mile up river. You can Google them to get contact and location info.

Dave Gorman from Hollidaysburg, PA on 06/23/2019 12:10 AM
Not necessarily a bike shop but REI is one block from a portion if the trail and can help you out. If you are not a member and like doing bikepacking, etc they are the best and many of their members (and you will be able to figure out which ones quickly) do this outdoor "stuff".

please help planning
nadiv from wilmington, DE on 06/22/2019 07:21 PM
My wife and I planning 3 days biking during the July 4th weekend.
We are not not novice bikers but not very strong either, so doing the entire C O canal is too ambitious for us.
So please advise: should we start at Cumberland and end in Harpers Feryy, or, start at Little Orleans and end in DC?
I understand the trail from Cumberland to Little Orleans is more bumpy and muddy. On the other end, Harpers Ferry to DC is a long stretch.

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/22/2019 08:00 PM
Based on what you stated, I would be inclined to start in Liitle Orleans and go to DC. A large portion of the first day could be on the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) making for a rather easy first day. Aside from that, I think that the Little Orleans to DC portion of the C&O is nicer with more sights than the Cumberland to Harper's Ferry portion.

nadiv from wilmington, DE on 06/22/2019 08:44 PM
I guess the Harpers to DC will not be too long?
And what about the washout?

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/22/2019 09:11 PM
Regarding the "washout" near Brunswick, there is a recent report, including photos, of a temporary creek crossing at that location which would allow passage unless the river level is high backing up into the creek.

On the trail from Cumberland on Friday 21st
Anai from washington on 06/19/2019 12:37 AM
I'm going to do the C&O trail starting this Friday in Cumberland around 1 pm
Any advise on where to sleep
Being safe
What to carry with me on the bike
Thank you

Anonymous on 06/19/2019 10:33 AM
Well with these few questions it does not sound like you are ready or did any homework for this trail (trip) ride. This is not just a short ride. Do your homework first then come prepared with specific questions not general ones that would plan your entire trip. And your leaving in two days. Good luck with that.

dave gorman from hollidaysburg on 06/19/2019 10:49 AM
I agree, while I am not quite as skeptical as the other individual who posted a comment, I agree that this trip is not a trip to be taken lightly and you want to keep your suffering down to a minimum so as to enjoy the trip and not curse the day when you thought this was a good idea. There is a boatload of info on line and a bikeshop in Cumberland so read up and spend some money to allow you to enjoy the trip.

L. Alvarado from Chevy Chase on 06/20/2019 07:57 AM
Anai - I just finished a four day trip from DC-to-Pittsburgh. Day 1 was spent in at the Jordan Junction site. Found that to be a good site.

But, if you haven't been training, I would recommend a more leisurely pace and enjoy!

REI has a great bike packing checklist here: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bikepacking.html

There are many variables, but certain truths carry:

- Make sure your bike is in good working order.
- Try to minimize carrying things on your back (use your bike as a trusty mule)
- Hydrate (lots of potable water pumps along the C&O)
- Use the buddy system

Happy to share more experiences

Paw Paw Tunnel Campground in Paw Paw
MH from Kensington on 06/14/2019 03:54 PM
Where does a main road intersect with it come near Paw Paw mile 157 on towpath? Meeting a driver.

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/19/2019 02:18 PM
The closest "main highway" at Paw Paw is Rt 9/51. This highway travels over the bridge over the Potomac River well above the Towpath. The highway itself does not directly intersect the Towpath. However, you can ride a bike down from the bridge to the Towpath. If you actually want to reach the Towpath by directly by car, you can do so in Oldtown where Rt. 51 does directly cross/intersect with the towpath. There is a parking area adjacent to the Towpath there.

Access from Virginia side
Jason B from Seattle on 06/16/2019 03:20 PM
I'm planning to do a retreat outside Charles Town, WV in the very late summer. I noticed references to C&O when I was considering biking from Dulles. I'm wondering if anyone has found a good way to cross the Potomac east of Point of Rocks - by bike. I've generally found east coast biking unsafe because of the highway speeds on most roads, and would love to get on the trail as soon as possible after leaving the airport. Alternately, I see a dotted line on the map, on the Virginia side of the river - is there perhaps a trail that I can pick up and take to Point of Rocks?

Thanks in advance!!

bob kennelly from McLean on 06/16/2019 11:06 PM
From Dulles you can almost immediately get on the WOD trail and take that to White's Ferry near Leesburg VA and take the Ferry across the Potomac right onto the C&O trail

Richard from DC on 06/17/2019 10:01 AM
Indeed, you can take the W&OD trail from Dulles to Leesburg and then get down to the ferry. That requires you to go about a mile on a high speed highway, but it has a wide shoulder. The problem is that once you get on the Maryland side, you still will encounter the washout at Brunswick. I don't think that's been repaired. You can see the postings on that. Some riders claim to have taken highways from Leesburg to Harpers Ferry. I haven't bike any of those roads, but my general impression of rural Virginia roads is that they are dangerous for bikers.

Western Maryland Rail Trail Extension?
John from Pittsburgh on 06/10/2019 06:10 PM
Last season when I rode from Pit to DC, you would exit the C&O at mile 136.3 and a small connector path would put you at the western terminus of the WMRT, Mile 22.5 (Pearre). I saw them building an extension going north but it wasn't yet paved and no signage existed.

I just saw the official map and it looks like it goes out to about 28.5 miles in total, a six mile extension. According to map, it says the first interconnect would be approximately Mile 141 of the C&O which would put you just shy of WMRT Mile 28.

Can anyone confirm if the new interconnect exists? If so, how's the new trail?

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 06/10/2019 06:52 PM
I’m having difficulty correlating your C&O trail mileage mark with my recent observation. During my ride from DC to Pittsburgh 3 weeks ago, It appeared that the WMRT has been extended to within a couple of miles of Little Orleans/Fifteen Mile Creek. There was a new ramp down to the C&O. However I did not ride that far on the WMRT itself so I can’t comment on its level of completion or condition beyond its former end toward Little Orleans.

John from Pittsburgh on 06/11/2019 04:24 PM
Riv, that’s the one. Last year, the first entry to the WMRT was at Pearre. Now it looks like a new entry is up near Fifteen Mile Creek to connect to the new extended part of WMRT. Yay, six more miles of paved goodness!

H/B Availability
Anonymous on 06/10/2019 11:46 PM
Two of us will be traveling Pittsburgh to DC by bike midweek during the last week of June. Plan on camping each night. Anyone have issues with H/B availability during that time?

Kathleen from Oolitic, IN on 06/09/2019 08:13 PM
MY dad and I stayed at Adele's Bed and Breakfast on May 23,2019. Christine and Dan were wonderful hosts. Breakfast was great too!! You can find them on facebook: Adele's Bed & Breakfast

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/10/2019 04:48 AM
What outer did you take to get from the GAP Trail across the river to Smithton and Adele's?

Weird guy
Anonymous on 06/10/2019 06:27 PM
At mile 30.5. Very strange guy here saying all this stuff about religion. About to see if we can get someone from the C&O on the line but who knows. Does anyone know who this guy is and if he is a safety hazard? Will do all the necessary things but wanted to ask here and let ppl be aware

C and O trai conditions for biking
Vaughn Greene from Chapel Hill on 06/09/2019 04:09 PM
I am considering riding from Point o Rocks to Cumberland over three days. I rode from DC to Point of Rocks in October and it was complete mud. I was constantly having to make sure I didn't slip in it. According to the 'almanacs' June is the wettest month. Should I assume the same amount of mud?
Also is the GAP a more 'finished road surface or does it have a similar mud/dirt condition? Thanks!

Henry fonvielle from Alexandria, va on 06/09/2019 04:20 PM
The gap trail is incredible. It is ‘crush and run’ gravel which is very smooth. We just finished riding from Cumberland to Pittsburg. Very different surface than the dirt of the tow path. I highly recommend it.

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 06/09/2019 07:41 PM
I Believe that the C&O from DC to Point of Rocks is the best part of the C&O with any recent wet weather. In my opinion the trail gets muddier the further north you travel toward Cumberland. Given the tree cover over the trail, there are sections that seem to never dry out even in late summer and fall. Of course you can avoid a portion of the Towpath itself by taking the paved WMRT on either side of Hancock. That said I believe the miles from Spring Gap to Cumberland are the last to dry out if at all.

Robertapash from ?????? on 06/09/2019 03:31 PM

Page: 1 2 3 ... 105