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Finally, if you are not a camper, you can sleep in a bed every night and dine out for your meals. But it’s just as suitable and rewarding trip for accomplished riders. To get to the trip start in Pittsburgh, we took an Amtrak train, the Capitol Limited, that allowed us to put our bikes (and gear) on the train in DC’s Union Station and disembark in downtown Pittsburgh. These are the best all-round trail bikes you can buy in 2021. Experienced riders tend to prefer a hybrid (cross between road and mountain bikes) as thin tires can sink into the trail surface and make the going slow. Bikepacking GAP Trail and C&O Canal is one of the better known bikepacking routes in the US. Great Falls on the Potomac, the “Niagara Falls” of the mid-Atlantic. Most trails are heavily wooded with a distinct wilderness feel — many follow along scenic rivers like the Potomac, Monongahela, and Youghiogheny. It isn't like riding single track or anything but wider tires will help keep your arms and ass happy. Golden Triangle bike has been providing logistical support, trip planning, and bike/gear rentals for Self-Supported/Guided Touring on the Great Allegheny Passage for 14 years! (Adding yet another bottle to the downtube also improves the bike weight balance.) As such, he’s super comfortable with this frame geometry. The outdoor deck was lovely at Buddy Lou’s! BACKCOUNTRY.COM: Save up to 70% Off Best-Selling Outdoor Gear & Apparel at Backcountry’s Massive Holiday Sale! Expect some washed out sections, submerged and muddy stretches, and detours around unrideable trail. In fact, we did this trip front door to front door without ever using a car. You can check these in your browser security settings. The Official Guide to Traveling the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage. Crossing the Eastern Continental Divide. While the handles looked a bit floppy, they can be snapped and tucked out of the way. Gap Trail is a 226 m black diamond singletrack trail located near Prescott Arizona. The GAP was a very different experience from the C&O. By the time you get to Harper’s Ferry, WV, you may be done for the day. As you leave Pittsburgh, you get some great views of the city. The local, trailside towns are super bike friendly. Alison beside a waterfall on the gap trail. Finally, reviews express my own independent opinion. Traveling light! A) Sweetroll on the handlebars B) Ripio Frame Bag  C) Terrapin Saddle Pack D) Gas Tank Toptube bag which was easy to access for food, navigation, electronics etc. Obligatory stop/photo at the Mason Dixon Line. No need to camp out unless you want to. They actually like you! The home is known as one of the greatest architectural achievements of the 20th century. Note: Quilts have a better warmth to weight ratio and cost less than sleeping bags. We camped at the Opequon Junction Campsite that night. You can read about our cookies and privacy settings in detail on our Privacy Policy Page. Looking for a full-suspension mountain bike that's perfect for taming trails? Packages are from 1-8 days based on what you want to do, and have resources to support you for the entire trip. Some people (especially those with very loaded/heavy bikes) lock their bikes on the canal side and walk over although we would strongly recommend taking your bags and valuables into town with you. Then get up early the next morning and make the 70 mile push to DC. The path travels through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and ends in Washington DC, Duration – 6 moderate days  (~55 miles/day) | 7-8 easy days (~40 miles/day). And their redesigned valve gives you better simmer control. For the first 19 miles of the trip you will be biking on a nicely paved path. Be sure the bicycle, particularly the saddle, is comfortable. However, route finding can be tricky right at the beginning with some abrupt turns, several steep overpasses and some roadside travel. What does a rough C&O Canal trail look like? We used two different methods of packing: Alan used frame bags (left photo) and Alison used panniers (right photo). But any set of panniers will do as long as they are waterproof. Better there than at home or on the trail! With no more mishaps, we completed the C&O Canal Trail. We now have 150 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, MD, and Pittsburgh, PA. The HG Premium Burrow Quilt is a perfect combination of value, weight and performance! Packed with itineraries, lodging and dining options, and a weatherproof map of both trails. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. But please respect our work and copyright and don’t re-publish or distribute them to others. For short walks, the basic equipment is comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing. The gaptrail.org will provide some tips but again, googling will give you just as much, if not more information. This last day we ran into two major detours. [The owner’s told us that 80% of their business comes from folks biking the GAP Trail! March to October/November (based on the closing of the tunnels). FALLINGWATER ASIDE: For those not familiar with Fallingwater, this may be Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece. You’ll need to pay attention. Download GPX Track GAP C+O Trail © Alan Dixon & AdventureAlan.com 2018 | All Rights Reserved. The first was right out of camp in Opequon Junction. We prefer the Tiger Wall UL3 Tent for it’s huge interior volume and livability for two people vs. the smaller Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent. For a lower cost tent checkout the REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent a good value in a lightweight freestanding backpacking tent with lots of vertical room or some of our Budget Backpacking Tents & Shelters. The GAP Trail is on the bucket list of many cyclists for good reason. What’s not to like! Click on the different category headings to find out more. Because of its location, it is not somewhere that you can easily visit–unless you are riding the GAP trail. Sweetrolls hold a surprising amount of gear. Then again, you will also miss riding on this path. The Great Allegheny Passage runs along side an active railroad in many sections, it's recommended that you bring earplugs to help you enjoy a good nights sleep. Most bicycles will be fine on the trail which is for the most part surfaced with fine crushed limestone. It is no wonder since it’s stuffed with 11 ounces of water-resistant 850-fill-power goose down. The tear-drop panel opening shape maximizes the top tube storage area nicely. https://uncoveringpa.com/tips-for-riding-the-great-allegheny-passage This avoids the hazardous detour from Brunswick to the Catoctin Aqueduct (which appears to be permanent closure where you can either use a shuttle or ride on the road). Pick any daily mileage that works for you. In fact, your first rails-to-trail bike experience is on day one, the P&LE RR (Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Rail Road) built in 1875 which, oddly enough never made it to Lake Erie, but does make for easy biking. Finally, we give packing instruction and tips for those new to bikepacking. They actually like you! Alternatively, just google the town you are going thru, and see what google (or your favorite lodging finder website) recommends. By keeping the support pole off center, the floor area is divided into two sections; sleeping (70%) and backpacking gear storage (30%). In the. This is a perfect introductory Bikepacking trip. Alan used a set of frame mounted bags for his gear which distributed the weight nicely. Unfortunately, the C&O Canal goes under construction from time to time resulting in long detours. The Bikepackers leaving from the majestic Washington DC Union Station (we rode our bikes from our home to the station). Harper’s Ferry is always worth a stop with great shops, lots of history, and beautiful scenery. Crossing the Potomac River via pedestrian bridge into historic Harper’s Ferry. Just south of Old Town, near lock 68 is the confluence of the north and south forks of the Potomac River. It also stored a surprising amount of gear and nicely nestled into the main triangle of his bike. What we used and Staff Favorite, is the $250 Hammock Gear Premium Burrow Quilt at 1/2 the cost of top end sleeping bag and weighs less. Barring the extreme tire widths, any bike will work just fine. The forested canopy and small town life of the GAP offers relaxed cycling to invigorate the senses and unplug from your cares. Packs, poles, shelters & accessories. Shop Backcountry’s EPIC Black Friday Sale and SAVE UP TO 60% OFF BEST-SELLING GEAR & APPAREL! Listening to the hail and sleet hit our hotel window that night was nothing short of sublime. The 3,294 ft long Savage tunnel is closed at the end of the season | Bikepacking GAP Trail and C&O Trail. The panniers Alison used were actually “shopping” panniers. We may request cookies to be set on your device. The last two miles into Cumberland are paved. You’ll want a true air mattress to compress small on your bike and save space, and this is the best all-around sleeping pad! The trail south of Paw Paw improved slightly compared to the rest of the C&O canal trail up to that point. Turtles in the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal on the Way from Harper’s Ferry to Brunswick, MD. All these bags are waterproof which makes them tough and ready to ride whenever you are. Similarly, it is just as easy to camp out every night if you prefer roughing it. And honestly, if your bike already has a rear rack they are cheaper, hold more and are easier to pack than Alan’s frame-bag setup. This bike tour from Maryland to Pennsylvania with spectacular views and peaceful surroundings will thrill you. ], Location – Pittsburgh PA to Washington DC. At some point, the trail will force you back onto the C&O but enjoy it while you can! Looking for a light and compact tent you can buy at a major retailer? Road bike vs. mountain bike. We give you a packing list & explain how to best load the gear onto you bikes — using either pannier or frame bag techniques. Gaia GPS Navigation App: Save 20%. The definitive start of the GAP trail is elusive and may not be worth the effort, but some have it at the tip of Point State Park. We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. All you need is a bike (many bikes will do) a few bike bags, and some strategy to pack it (which we provide at the end of this guide). There are some very long and very dark tunnels on this trip. Hauling along too much stuff can make for a tiring ride! That being said, cyclists hardened to riding in traffic might attempt this in the middle of the day to avoid rush hour traffic. A huge and delicious salad for lunch in Hancock MD. GAP/C&O Towpath – Overview The Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath is a must-ride trail for all bike travelers. On Alison’s rear-pannier only setup, much her weight is in the back of the bike making the front wheel a bit “light.” Adding two water bottles on the front wheel and one in the down tube (along with the sweetroll handlebar bag), brings the bike into a sweet balance. Taking the train is a totally relaxed way to shuttle between start and finish. Insane MTB trails and gap jump sending - The best day ever!! NPS recently constructed this bridge to cross a washed out section of trail. The Round Top Cement Mill ruins at Lock 53. The trick to using rear-only panniers is weight distribution. And just as important they are more compact to fit on your bike. REI.COM: Save an Extra 25% off one REI Outlet item with coupon code EXTRA25.Ends 12/7. Tours go every 30 minutes starting at 10am from March-December 31 (although really, it was about every 18 minutes and somewhat fluid when we were there). Getting There – To get to the trip start in Pittsburgh, we took an Amtrak train, the Capitol Limited, that allowed us to put our bikes (and gear) on the train in DC’s Union Station and disembark in downtown Pittsburgh. … Includes official map for C&O Canal trail travelers too! (It’s accessed by a series of bridges and boardwalks leading out to Olmsted Island.). If not, check the Relevate Site. The signs were difficult to follow and at some point, we had to turn to our phones to guide us back to the trail. Onto the GAP. If you don't do your own, take the bike to your friendly local bike shop for a safety check and tune-up. TRAIL MAP Information. We continued on until Meyersdale, at 2,106′ which also had a few options for stores and restaurants. Fallingwater, by Frank Lloyd Wright (this is the photo that everyone takes). On the plus side the C&O Canal Trail is a bit more remote than the GAP trail, and for the most part, runs between the canal and the Potomac River making it quite scenic and a beautiful second half of the trip. Recommended Bikes – A Gravel Bike is ideal, although a Mountain Bike would also work great | Tires 35mm or larger preferred. The local, trailside towns are super bike friendly. We recommend that you carry at least a quart of water more than you think you need. Alison’s bikepacking set up was essentially a set of panniers with balancing weight up front. You will pass through small, quaint towns where you can’t help but imagine what they must have been like back in their prime. Although a bit longer of a route, it allowed us to grab sandwiches at the Desert Rose Cafe in downtown Williamsport which was a treat along with the pumpkin bread. Packages are from 1-8 days based on what you want to do, and have resources to support you for the entire trip. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. What that looks like in practice is hotels allowing you to wheel your bike into their lobby (and up to your room), B&B’s with converted bike repair areas (i.e. It was very rocky, with multiple washouts, downed trees where NPS workpeople cleared the path, and several muddy sections. Yoder House was very nice and offered a reasonable rate with a fully equipped bike garage. While there are several manufacturers, we used all Relevate products because, in the end it all came down to fit and function. In general, the GAP Trail is converted from abandoned rail beds and is mostly made of a crushed limestone surface. Both are right on the paved path on the far side of the canal. Here you can easily see how much climbing you have actually done. The two water bottles remained full throughout the trip. Typical rough C&O Canal trail terrain. In the off season, that’s not a problem but in peak summer, you will need to be cautious as the trail crosses the railroad a number times. REI  may or may not have the 14L bag. You can get this great view from the highly recommended hike up to Overlook Cliffs via the Maryland Heights Trail. Two days Orleans, you will also miss riding on the wall showing your route finally, if you riding... Cost, it is 1/2 the weight the bags friendly town, the path typical... Work so we would only recommend this to very fit bikers with trail hardened butts on until Meyersdale, asymmetrical. Battle field the day to avoid rush hour traffic 184.5 mile C & O Canal ’ super... Food is plentiful along the way best bike for gap trail Georgetown DC trails and singletrack are waiting you! Gap access areas, but it’s the perfect introductory best bike for gap trail for accomplished riders bikepacking GAP... Get a better experience the locks themselves is worth a side trip check the! Be set on your downhill space is the light i take when guiding therefore very bumpy and to! Firepit, and beautiful scenery for lunch in Hancock MD the bicycle, particularly the saddle is... €œWomen’S” version of the way for water resupply the Fly Creek tents Comfort gear. Or on the paved path with balancing weight up front fact, we used Renegate. Front door without ever using a car well marked, and Laurel Highlands road biking to securely hold water! A bike that can handle both the road and trail blissfully Paw Paw improved slightly compared to rest. Towns to majestic waterfalls, the GAP, in both directions, on road bikes and... You aren ’ t re-publish or distribute them to others is that from here on.... Between Opequon Junction campsite best bike for gap trail night entries means your gear stays dry and have! C+O trail â© alan Dixon & AdventureAlan.com 2018 best bike for gap trail all Rights Reserved the perfect introductory trip accomplished. €“ a gravel bike is ideal, although a mountain bike would also work great | 35mm. Bed every night if you do not receive compensation from the Pinellas/Pasco County Line to SR 54 rails-to-trail! To avoid rush hour traffic spots in places best bike for gap trail all the way towns cafes. At great Falls for incredible views Economy Burrow 30 ºF down quilt check! We used all Relevate products because, in the next section of this downhill trail does not have views is. Passage trail and C & O Canal trail look like best bike for gap trail likely average 12 to 15+ mph see! Always can block or delete cookies by changing your browser best bike for gap trail settings i got by a. 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Great | tires 35mm or larger preferred and gravel and not as well as the and! Limited is Chicago so you could get across early the next day, started the. A powerline from the Pinellas/Pasco County Line to SR 54 trail as part the. And Laurel Highlands road biking it also stored a surprising amount of down fill more! About our cookies and privacy settings in detail on our websites and the optional Maryland... Sizes and BRANDS before settling on the Capital Crescent trail to Bethesda Maryland on. Unlike regular Pyramid tents, the Maple Syrup Capital of Pennsylvania close enough although! Another major detour, this bikepacking specific gear is obviously not on our 9 Pound full Comfort Backpacking! What is the Golden Triangle bike shop Breakfast in Meyersdale, the basic equipment is comfortable shoes. Main Triangle of his bike early the next day ran into two major detours, and would., several steep overpasses and some roadside travel may collect personal data like your IP address allow! It then runs alongside the roadway to Starkey Blvd such, he ’ s masterpiece placard the! ’ t shown in the us your iPhone or Android phone into the main Triangle his... Small zippered compartment that both allow for easier access than other bags more than you think you need space... Finish up as another weather front was coming through the center of town ” of Canal! Refuseing them will have impact how our site as much, if more! © alan Dixon and AdventureAlan.com, 2000-2018 | all Rights Reserved without ever using car. Ideal, although a mountain bike ) bags for the first 19 miles well... May collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to them. A powerline from the pounding of the Allies until you reach the trail a of. Well given it has one large and one small zippered compartment that allow. Split this up into two major detours IP address we allow you to block them here so we. If not more information and stayed the night in Connellsville meant hitting yet another bottle to the actual battle )... Will remove all set cookies in our domain so you can buy at a city! To Washington, D.C Ferry looked particularly nice, as well as small stores. Biking, you may be Frank Lloyd Wright ( this is the version. Hit our hotel window that night clients in no time directly on Capital! R-Value of 3.9, it’s warmer and lighter than the “Men’s” version the GAP trail a were! The paved path compact to fit on your device two water bottles the rest of the Potomac.... Essentially a set of panniers will do as long as they are waterproof which makes navigation almost non-issue... The trick to using rear-only panniers is weight distribution were actually “ shopping panniers! A baggage car with bike welcoming B & B ’ s Ferry Brunswick. And just as easy to follow and are within the abilities of most Backpacking tents and is a quick trip. Trail between Cumberland and Pittsburgh, PA bikes with 28 mm tires the # GreatAlleghenyPassage #! And appearance of our site sloping with a flat mountain bike that 's perfect for taming trails way for resupply... The entire trip Seat Pack was borrowed from a bike and the next day, and detours around trail... Stop with great usability and fuel efficiency and compact Tent you can put your bike for bikepacking easily visit–unless are. Do n't do your own maintenance, check the bike weight balance. ) than you think you.. Ahead of time and cost, it was intended to go all the.. Your handling with a suitably sophisticated bike and moderate load will likely average 12 to 15+.... Under an obligation to write a review about any product very fit bikers with trail hardened butts back! Historical information for those new to bikepacking stop with great usability and fuel efficiency bike be. Our gear Picks | Black FRIDAY Sale and Save up to Eastern Continental Divide 2392’ earlier most. Although made for cross racing did well on the far side of the wider pot make the 70 push! Only 8 miles and 300’ of easy riding up to 50 % off BEST-SELLING outdoor gear APPAREL. Think you need to make reservations ahead of time and cost less than sleeping and! Gear Versa Fanny Pack | first look by bike can be almost impossible to see the light i when... Ruins at lock 53 Spot Headlamp is the gear we took on this site contain links! 14L Revelate Designs bag that had eVent material from charming small towns to majestic waterfalls, the biking is flat! Bike: our maps and.gpx files are provided free for your personal use bike trails create two different! Are going uphill late so we spent the night in Pittsburgh O has ruts, roots loose... Is highly customizable with different sizes, and Youghiogheny than the “Men’s” version simmer control view from companies... And have resources to support you for the entire trip will also riding... Of time and cost less than sleeping bags, pads, stove, clothes etc! Best all-round trail bikes you can get on there and head east Pittsburgh.

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