Campsites to avoid? -
Paul A on 03/06/2011 08:38 PM
I'll be starting a hike of the C+O Canal path and the GAP later this month and I'm wondering if there are any campsites I should plan to avoid due to vandalism or the locals using it as a party spot. Anybody know anything like that?
Dianne on 03/07/2011 12:57 PM
I don't know anything about vandalism or party spots, but the area around Brunswick is very noisy. We stayed at the Brunswick Family CG without realizing there is heavy train traffic and most annoying of all the trains add cars here, so it it extremely noisy even throughout the entire night. I would try to avoid having to camp in this area. Have an awesome trip!
Paul A on 03/08/2011 06:37 PM
Thanks Dianne, I'll make note of that. Anybody else?
Steve from Gaithersburg on 03/15/2011 03:58 PM
I don't have personal experience, but I've been told the NPS campground at Little Orleans can get a little rowdy on the weekends.
Paul A on 03/15/2011 09:07 PM
Thanks for the tip. I'll make another note to myself.
wayne from Williamsburg, VA on 03/18/2011 08:44 AM
I had a problem with some real rowdies at Spring Gap a few years ago. In general, my experience is the farther away from a road your campsite is, the better things are (that doesn't apply to train noise however!).
Paul A on 03/19/2011 09:47 PM
Rick Hancock from Grafton, Va on 03/27/2011 06:04 AM
I've biked/hiked the area for years with little or no problem. Campsites that are close to major towns I tend to avoid (I'm talking about a mile or less from a road crossing)as young people sometimes use them as party spots. At times I've run into groups that have the "I own this campsite" mentality, If it's late and I've had a long day I just setup camp off to the side. Several sites east of Cumberland are noisy all night with train activity once you get past Old Town it's not too bad. The bike shop at Hancock has bunks and outdoor hot showers and don't forget Weaver's Restaurant. Have a good trip.
Randy on 04/11/2011 01:11 PM
Just wanted to add a comment to the Little Orleans post. This area can get a little noisy at night. There is a Biker's Bar called Bill's Place just up the road. The drinking and 'merry making" tends to drift into the NPS campsite. In fact they tend to use the campground for overlow parking. The "merry-making" went on until 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning, then you heard the roar of the Harleys. Nothing happened but I felt very unsafe. Didn't sleep well at all. In general, don't camp near road junctures.
Z from Oxford, Ohio on 04/18/2011 06:09 AM
Avoid the first site out of Cumberland. The trains hitching and slamming sound like bombs going off, and it goes all night long.
Paul A on 04/29/2011 12:43 AM
"Avoid the first site out of Cumberland. The trains hitching and slamming sound like bombs going off, and it goes all night long."
I did wind up making camp there and I didn't get hardly any sleep due to the noise.
Lock #10 in Bethesda -
Steve Taylor from Bethesda on 04/27/2011 10:51 PM
what is the big concrete structure going up beside the canal just south of the 495 beltway bridge?
Paw Paw -
Mike from Fishers, IN on 06/10/2010 07:44 PM
I'm biking the towpath the week of July 12 and need a place to stay. I called Grandmas and for some reason they gave me the number to Heritage House. I thought they were 2 different places. Is there anywhere else to stay in Paw Paw or someone in the outlying area that shuttles cyclists?
Dave J. from Imperial, PA on 06/14/2010 08:21 PM
As far a I know, Grandma's Country Inn and the Heritage Trail B&B are both owned by the same person (Grandma). Either place would be nice. Grandma's Country Inn has a small public restaurant on the first floor and that is where you eat breakfast. It stays open until 8:00PM each day. At least it used to. There is also a convenience store/gas station next to these two places. There is no other place to stay in the PawPaw area.
Gritty Hack from Lansdale, Pa on 06/18/2010 03:50 PM
We stayed at Grandma's in early June 2009 and the ownership had just changed hands to a young couple. We still enjoyed our stay.
Cathy from Farmington, New Mexico on 02/10/2011 10:25 AM
I have called both Heritage House and Grandmas in Paw Paw and the phones are disconnected. Does anybody know if this is just for the winter or have they both closed?
Ginnis from Rochester, MI on 04/27/2011 08:45 AM
oh dear. I had planned to stay in Paw Paw in June as well... Sad if true that they closed.
Hiking from DC to Sharpsburg 2nd weekend of May -
RichZ from Traveling teacher on 04/25/2011 05:36 PM
Email me if you're interested in joining. Thanks, Rich firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Weiss from Chickamauga, GA on 04/21/2011 03:34 PM
I noticed that the YMCA's camping is not listed. Have they stopped doing that? We stayed there last year. It was $10.00 per person and included access to their pool, gym, showers, and vending machines in the lobby. Just asking.
earliest and best month -
smitty from virginia beach on 01/22/2011 05:50 PM
Will ride from Cumberland to DC in 2011. Wonder what month is the earliest I can ride (without misery) and which month is the preferred time frame?
smitty on 01/22/2011 05:56 PM
Initial posting should have stated: Will ride from McKeesport to DC in 2011. What is the earliest month and the best recommended month to do so.
Anonymous from Camden, nc on 01/23/2011 08:05 AM
Hey Smitty. Check out the Tour de Canal in September. I'm planning on adding the GAP to it and do the entire length the week of Sept 6ish thry 11th. Interested?
smitty from vb on 01/30/2011 06:28 AM
As things materialize looks like June is falling into place for me. What are your thoughts on bikes to use? Can I use a road bike? Would I regret it? As things go I am in the area for a different road event and can make this trail ride happen if I use my road bike.
Anonymous from Camden, NC on 02/02/2011 09:42 PM
Smitty, I have ridden the C&O portion and you must use a hybrid or mtn bike. NO road bikes allowed. I believe it would be the same for the GAP portion.
TQ from DE on 03/05/2011 07:19 AM
Since you will experience all conditions of the trail, late spring, early summer on thru summer is my recommendation. Parts of the tow path are in good shape and portions are pretty bad to bad. Would recommend familarizing the rails to trails that parrallels sections. Often we switch back and forth cause the tow path is bad. Bad meaning high grass, soft/muddy or all three. Then portions are solid with good gravel and well maintained. It's a great ride.
Randy on 04/11/2011 02:50 PM
Definitely don't ride in April. Lots of Spring storms roll through the area. Wait until mid to late May, June would be better. Use a Mountain Bike, the surface is very rough in many places. Bring a spare inner tube. I've seen lots of poor souls with flats. Some of the rocks on the trail have sharp surfaces. Road Bike - don't even consider it. Happy trails!
John from Bardstown, Ky on 04/18/2011 06:03 AM
I did it last year on a hardtail mt bike and it was ok. Get smoother tread tires, don't ride with the knobbies. If possible get a fork without shocks.
July 2011 tour from DC to Pittsburgh -
foxdhmtbike from windber, pa on 04/16/2011 12:57 AM
I am planning a trip starting on July 30, 2011 to August 6, 2011. If you're interested in joining please feel free to contact me. email@example.com
Little Orleans Parking Area -
Randy from Elizabethtown, PA on 10/06/2010 09:38 AM
Planning a day trip. Where is parking available near the C&O Canal near the Little Orleans area? I'm looking at the Google Satellite image and I don't see much. It could be obscured by trees. There's supposed to be a Camp Site right off the trail. Is the Parking relatively secure. Can you park near Bill's Place? Thanks.
Dwayne from Elktoj MD on 11/15/2010 01:07 PM
You can park in the park down by the ricer.
keith from orrville, oh on 12/27/2010 08:10 PM
There is virtually nothing in Little Orleans except Bill's. It is a restaurant/bar/grocery. You can park there. It is 1/10 mile or less to the towpath. (There also is a comercial campground a mile away and the Little Orleans Lodge also about a mile away. It has overnight housing.)
Jim on 04/11/2011 03:16 PM
There is only room to park about 5 or 6 cars near the gated entrance. You could park further down along the river, but in the Spring this could be very muddy, also I would have some concerns about security as this area is obscured from view from the main trail. Also, be careful if storms are forecasted because any river rise will cause problems for you. Bill's Place does not have a parking area per se.
Bill's Place -
Mike from Red Lion, PA on 10/07/2010 12:28 PM
Not disputing what many folks have said about Bill's Place, but I've spoken with some other people and their opinion was not favorable. He has a sign that says: "Cyclist Welcome", but that does refer to bicyclist. That's for Motorcyclist. Others have said he was very rude to them. One couple asked him about water and he referred then to a hose outside. I might stop in, just to see how I'm treated on my next ride and I'll report back.
H. Dill from Ruffs dale, Pa on 01/05/2011 07:27 PM
Stopped at Bill"s Place on thru trip from DC to Pitts. Had the Best roast beef sandwich ever, and met up with a family from England. Bill was more than hospitable posing for pics and all. I understand Bills health isn't what it used to be. Maybe the forementioned person caught him on a bad day. His family is also very personal. looking forward to getting back this summer !!!!
TOMATOMAN from MARTINSBURG WV on 01/20/2011 03:17 PM
bike trip weekend that hurricane katrina came through, wife and i were half way home @ little orleans (cumberland to williamsport).as rain started i ran into Bill's place and bought a couple disposable ponchos and Bill ran downstairs and GAVE me a couple hats to help keep poncho on. great guy, looking forward to next trip. make it point to stop @ Bill's
Paulie from Knoxville on 02/07/2011 05:43 PM
I was a little skepitcal of Bill's Place, but I needed food/drink so I stopped in. I wasnt sure how the crowd at the bar would react to me in spandex but nobody even gave me a second look. They had a good selection of gatoraid and even some power bars. I'll stop at Bill's for sure next.
Mike from Red Lion on 04/11/2011 03:05 PM
Unfortunately I can't delete my original post. The information I posted at that time was based on what others told me. My actual experience was much different. I was treated pretty well. They have a good selection of Gatorade and his water was only $1.00 per bottle. You can get other snacks there to. I think they prefer to be paid cash though.
I understand Bill has terminal cancer, so maybe on some days he is not feeling his best. I'll stop in again the next time I'm in the area. :)
Mary from Clear Spring on 03/08/2011 11:23 AM
I have heard of horseback riding on the towpath but cannot find any information on it, ie:which parts it is allowed on accessibility. For that matter I cannot find any information anywhere on the internet about bridle paths on any public lands, though I know it's done. Does anyone know where to get that information?
Randy on 04/11/2011 01:48 PM
You may find this link helpful: http://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/horsebackriding.htm
Randy on 04/11/2011 01:56 PM
Horseback riding is not allowed between Georgetown (mile 0) and Swains Lock (mile 16.6) or from Offutt Street (mile 181.8) to the canal terminus (mile 184.5). Horses are not allowed in the Paw Paw Tunnel. Riders must take the tunnel hill trail that goes over the tunnel instead. Riders may not exceed the speed of a slow trot. Riders must dismount and walk their horses across aqueducts. Horses may not cross wooden footbridges, which are not designed to carry their weight.
Your biggest challenge will be to find a place to park your horse trailer. Many parking areas can barely fit a couple cars. For your first trip I would suggest parking at Hancock, MD and then ride the C&O towards Cumberland, Md. This is a nice remote section of the trail (away from the crowds). Hancock has a couple of good sized parking areas. The one that is paved is across from the American Legion. Hancock Md is also right off the highway. Another possibility for parking your horse trailer is near Big Pool, MD and Fort Frederick. Plenty of ample parking at those locations. Also, I should mention that though your question is about the C&O, you cannot ride horses on the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail which runs parallel to the C&O.
I did try to post a web-link about horse use on the trail, but the moderator flagged it. Hope this was helpful.