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Reply to Camping - DC to Pitt

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ARM from SoFla on 5/28/2019 1:10:00 PM:
My buddies and I are doing the trail again this Fall DC to Pittsburgh camping. Any suggestions on unique or special places to camp? We know about the Lock Houses and primitive camp areas. Also the scenic over look near Big Savage tunnel. Heard there is an old 19th century cemetery 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Anyone know exactly where? Thanks in advance!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 5/28/2019 3:06:19 PM:
I just finished my fourth DC to Pittsburgh trip and camped all but one night where I could not find a primitive or commercial campground within reason. At other times, I've camped all along the GAP. I'm not sure what your definition of a "special" campground might be. That said, the outfall campground near the base of the Youghiogheny River Dam is a different setting although it is a typical state park campground. The "chicken coop" at the Hancock, MD bike shop is a unique overnight location. All the hiker/biker trailside primitive campsites are essentially the same although some are better maintained than others. In general, the camp sites along the GAP are nicer in my opinion than the hiker/biker campsites along the C&O Towpath. I believe the scenic overlook you are referring to near the Big Savage Tunnel is at/near the Mason Dixon Line. I'm unaware of any campsite at that location. I believe the 19th century cemetery about 30 (probably closer to 35)miles from PIttsburgh you are referring to is just east/south of West Newton, PA. Indeed it is old but not overly interesting in my opinion. There is no campground there although there is one just a couple of miles beyond at Cedar Creek Park. There is also a campground at Dravo Cemetery about 25 miles outside Pittsburgh but nothing particularly special there either in my opinion. One of the more oddball sites along the GAP is a $2 million glass sculpture in Dunbar, PA at the end of the Sheepskin Trail branch off the GAP south of Connellsville. It was donated by Donald Trump back to the small PA town where the azure blue glass was originally made. The sculpture is in a small addition to a small Dunbar Historical Center. If you plan to go there, call ahead to see when it is open or when you would be there. In the past they have offered to open the building and show you the sculpture if you call ahead. Note the trail there is rather rough, but ridable, along some railroad right of way.

Anonymous on 6/1/2019 8:50:09 AM:
I have camped at Cedar Creek...nice location and seemed better maintained than the Hiker Biker campsites along the C&O. Also camped at Ohiopyle State Park...I would not recommend, as it is an extremely steep uphill into the park from the GAP. Not exactly what I wanted to do after a day of riding and with my bike fully loaded. Campsite we chose was ok, but required us to bring our bikes down a set of stone stairs, across a creek and then back up into the campsite...also all uphill to bathrooms/showers. If you decide to stay here, you may be better off choosing a car site, as they seemed to be closer to everything. I have read good things about Husky Haven in Rockwood, but do not have an opinion, as I have never stayed there. We camped at Evitts Creek HB right outside of Cumberland. Site was large and fairly flat. It was pretty noisy though--train tracks are a stones throw away, right across the towpath and canal. Site is located where trains sit and idle. It is also located near an airport....on the night we were there there was a helicopter flying, so it was noisy to say the least. It is close to the city making it easier for non hiker bikers to be in the area as well. Take that as you will... if we could have made it to Irons Mountain or further, I think we would have enjoyed the night better. 15 Mile Creek in Little Orleans is a great campsite...it is not free, but has beautiful views of the rivers edge and is close enough to Bills Place that you can set up camp and then go grab a bite to eat. If you get a chance, check out Pedalshift on Youtube. He has video reviews of every HB campsite on the trail.

Gary M from Charlotte on 6/1/2019 4:54:19 PM:
Yes to Husky Haven. Fair price, nice showers and nice camp sites. Yes to Pedalshift. I know of the C&O and GAP because of the Pedalshift podcast.

John from Pittsburgh on 6/2/2019 11:39:50 AM:
Thanks to Pedalshift also. His video helped me navigate the creek crossing near the Brunswick washout last summer. Probably would have ponied up and taken the shuttle had I not seen that. Saved money and time (though I did get wet feet!).

Andy from Pittsburgh on 6/3/2019 10:40:41 AM:
The old cemetery is Dravo Cemetery, there is a Boy Scout supported (public) campground right there with two Adirondack shelters and potable water. Very nice. I stayed there a couple of nights ago and probably 4 times in the past year. It is about 27 miles from the end of the trail in Pittsburgh.

Andy from Pittsburgh on 6/3/2019 5:02:26 PM:
One thing of note if you do camp at Dravo Cemetery. There is a racoon there that will take almost anything not strung up or tied down. My first night there it almost got off with someone elses first aid kit. I saw it pawing at my bags but it didn't get anything. Last weekend, the racoon made off with a gear bag with a rider's contacts. So just be ready to string up anything attractive and securely close and fix your bags to something. I was actually in one of the shelters and the racoon didn't bother us at all.