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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

What book/map to bring with you?

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ams from Brooklyn, NY on 3/22/2012 4:39:09 PM:
Hi all. I'm planning on riding the full GAP/C&O from Pitts to DC next month.

To those who've done it before, what maps or trail guide did you bring with you while riding (or wish you had)?

I know there's an official GAP/CO trail book from ATA. Is that something to bring in my handlebar bag, or more of planning reference to be used before hand?

I want to be sure I bring the right map(s) so I'm not stuck relying on my phone/google maps if by chance I get lost or have to make a detour. Thanks for any advice!

lenny on 3/23/2012 5:31:23 AM:
this site contains everything you need

ams from Brooklyn, NY on 3/23/2012 10:34:40 AM:
Yes, but 'this site' is not something one can conveniently take on your bike with you...

Randy on 3/23/2012 12:22:26 PM:
There is a one page map of the C&O Canal you can download and print out which can be found on the Park Service website. But it's not a real detailed map. The best guide is to print out the Mileage Chart found on this page, which gives you a mile-by-mile description of what's there. Be advised the C&O is very remote in spots, especially west of Hancock, MD. I have not done the GAP Trail yet. Take a couple of spare inner tubes for your trip. Mountain Bike or Hybrid Tires work best.

lenny on 3/23/2012 4:02:26 PM:
i printed what i needed, and laminated it. IT DOES HAVE EVERYTHING. just stay on the trail. it is easy to follow. i have done it many times.the first time was easy

starvingmusician from Ligonier, PA on 3/30/2012 1:25:01 PM:
I buy a current TrailBook once a year. I don't really need it, but the $10 goes toward the Allegheny Trail Alliance. It does contain a nice, nearly indestructable map of both the Passage and the C&O, useful trail info and a ton of advertisements for trail services, hotels, restaurants and such. Originally geared toward the GAP, C&O info and advertisers were added in the past couple of years.

A favorite of mine for the C&O is "184 Mile of Adventure - Hikers Guide to the C&O Canal". It is a 50 pg. paperback booklet format. General to very detailed historic information about the canal structures, pinpointed to tenth miles. Some suggestions for off-trail sightseeing, too, and geared toward those without cars.

Mike High wrote an exceptional book entitled "The C&O Canal Companion". I love re-reading it. If you are into history, it's a must, but it is also a great guide book.

Last, but not least, is Bill Metzger's "The Great Allegheny Passage Companion". Written in 2003 - when the trail ended in Meyersdale, PA, it is now out of print and difficult to find. I understand Bill may be updating and reprinting this work. I hope so. I'll be first in line to buy a revised edition.

I don't drag my favorites out nearly as often as I did years ago. Perhaps I should. In thumbing through them for a few minutes, I've become reacquainted with a couple of old friends...


ams from Brooklyn, NY on 4/4/2012 4:31:54 PM:
Great, thank you! Trip is fast approaching. I'll post a ride report when I'm done.