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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

Have a water plan, or bring a filter

Brian from Lexington KY on 9/29/2021 2:52:48 PM:
I rode from Cumberland to DC last week (Sept. 20-24th, 2021), and much to our group’s dismay, we found that many of the water pumps were not working. A lot of them had the handles removed, but even several of the ones with handles were not pumping water. Fortunately, we all brought filters because we had to pull straight from the Potomac when we found ourselves in a pinch. I’m not sure if it’s pandemic-related (not enough staffing for maintaining the pumps), but it’s something to keep in mind. I remember doing the C&O back in 2014 and nearly every pump worked. I’m glad I didn’t put my confidence in that prior experience!

 
Lammetrack from Monona, WI on 10/5/2021 5:59:29 PM:
We rode the C&O west to east on September 15-17. We also found many pumps not working. We did bring a water filter for an emergency, but did not have to use it. We were not camping, so we decided to each carry enough food and water to get us our 60 miles or so for the day. That worked out fine for us in the warm, but not hot weather. There are not many places to stop and get refreshments between Cumberland and Hancock (at least we didn't fine them) so be prepared.

 
FungoMoonstar from Lutz on 10/19/2021 1:15:59 PM:
I rode it last week and found all pumps working at C & O site . They do take some finesse to get them pumping, and it is potable!

 
AndrewM99 from Powell, Ohio on 10/25/2021 4:28:21 PM:
Rode the GAP and C&O the week of October 9th - 16th. A volunteer trail guide we met up with near PawPaw, indicated each County is responsible for testing the wells. If there is ANY contamination, the County removes the pump handle and treats the well with iodine. FYI - Hope this helps!

 
Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 10/25/2021 7:53:58 PM:
I just returned to Pittsburgh last night from riding/camping along the GAP and C&O Towpath to DC. A number of pump handles have been removed and some of the pumps with handles take a long time to prime and get water, if any. In short, top off or get water when you can along the Towpath if you are relying on water at hiker/biker sites.