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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

First time touring

Zed on 7/25/2021 10:37:43 AM:
I am new to touring, but generally in pretty good cardiovascular shape (run/bike & swim). As my first experience in touring, I want to attempt (next week) either the GAP section or the C&O section, in preparation for a GAP+C&O in the fall. What do people recommend? In general, which one is the more "scenic" trail? Thanks, Z

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 7/25/2021 12:07:27 PM:
In my opinion the GAP is more scenic over its entire length and better suited for a first time tourer.

 
GSK from Springfield Virginia on 7/25/2021 1:04:25 PM:
I might suggest the C&O canal, simply because if you can handle the canal the GAP will be a breeze. Also, a lot depends on whether your camping or not: There are way more camping options on the canal allowing you to be more flexible with your mileage each day. Both are very scenic.

 
Zed on 7/25/2021 2:18:32 PM:
Thank you Rivnuts and GSK. I will be camping, and would like to practice depending as little as possible on "trail towns" but will be good to have those as a backup on a first trip in case of a total mechanical failure. Not sure which has more of those along the path.

 
Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 7/25/2021 7:13:28 PM:
See the responses to a recent forum post.wherein all the camping areas along both the C&O and the GAP were listed.

 
Sarge P from Sarasota, Fl. on 7/25/2021 7:45:38 PM:
Zed, I just completed the GAP and C&O trip a couple of weeks ago - my first tour as well. I felt the GAP was the more pleasant ride as the trail is very-well maintained, with enough stops along the way to resupply. There are some fantastic vistas on the GAP as well. The C&O was a bit more challenge for me as the night before I left Cumberland, a terrific storm blasted the trail - downed trees and standing water and slippery mud all the way to Hancock. Now, if you want an adventure, then ride the C&O. Much of it is 'way out there'. It can be very primitive for long stretches - not seeing anyone for miles and miles, hours and hours - just yourself, your thoughts, and the local wildlife. Either way you choose, I'm sure you will enjoy the journey. I certainly did.