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GAP C&O Tour Completed

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GAP C&O Tour Completed

Old 07-24-21, 03:59 PM
  #26  
Pratt
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My plan is to hit the GAP Southbound, in the week after Labor Day.
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Old 07-24-21, 07:19 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
My plan is to hit the GAP Southbound, in the week after Labor Day.
Great time to do it. Iíve done it three times at that time. First and third times I started in PGH the Saturday after Labor Day. The second time I did and up and back from Cumberland starting the same day to have dinner with an old friend in PGH.
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Old 07-24-21, 07:32 PM
  #28  
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Nice report, thanks!
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Old 07-25-21, 05:38 AM
  #29  
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FYI, yesterday I stopped at the C&O site at Williamsport, MD to have a picnic lunch and hike a bit. The trail there is in great shape and the sylvan tunnel thru the woods was lovely. Did not see any through cyclists but there were lots of folks around. It sure did get me thinking about touring the whole thing.
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Old 07-28-21, 08:08 PM
  #30  
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Thanks for sharing. I plan on doing that trip yet this year but probably in early October. Early October is usually the driest time of year in that area. My ride will be significantly longer than yours. My bike would not ship well so I would ride it from my home SW of Cleveland Ohio to the outskirts of DC and return along the same route. From my house its 14 miles of roads to connect to the Ohio to Erie towpath, then a gap of 17 miles and more rail trail, then a gap of 28 miles to connect to the Montour Rail Trail to just south of Pittsburg. A small 6 mile gap separates the Montour trail from the GAP trail. From my house to McKeesport is 152 miles.
My touring rig is a big fat bike with a big trailer in tow. I mostly like to camp so I end up doing trips alone. .
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Old 07-29-21, 02:24 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by KPREN View Post
Thanks for sharing. I plan on doing that trip yet this year but probably in early October. Early October is usually the driest time of year in that area. My ride will be significantly longer than yours. My bike would not ship well so I would ride it from my home SW of Cleveland Ohio to the outskirts of DC and return along the same route. From my house its 14 miles of roads to connect to the Ohio to Erie towpath, then a gap of 17 miles and more rail trail, then a gap of 28 miles to connect to the Montour Rail Trail to just south of Pittsburg. A small 6 mile gap separates the Montour trail from the GAP trail. From my house to McKeesport is 152 miles.
My touring rig is a big fat bike with a big trailer in tow. I mostly like to camp so I end up doing trips alone. .
I'll have to check the map for your routes from Pittsburgh to Erie and possibly Cleveland.

I'm interested in riding from (Wilmington DE to) Washington DC to Pittsburgh on the C&O / GAP Trail, but I'm under the impression that the parks and trails around Erie are also scenic. I wondered about Cleveland, but the events (dances) I'd be interested still seem to be shut down.
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Old 07-30-21, 07:41 AM
  #32  
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Thanks for this post. We are trying to plan a GAP ride and your info was really helpful.
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Old 07-30-21, 07:44 AM
  #33  
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Did you have reservations for the places you stayed, or find them on the fly? Where did you stay? Thanks again for your post and photos.
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Old 07-30-21, 09:23 AM
  #34  
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Detail of where we stayed in Pittsburgh relative to the Gap start and to the train station.

Hampton Inn Downtown is very convenient to both start and finish.
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Old 07-30-21, 10:13 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by MidLife50 View Post
Making sure we followed the trail properly out of downtown took us a little longer but worked out fine in the end. We met folks on the trail that missed turns, went the wrong direction or otherwise had a false start or 2. I'm a Western PA native that hasn't lived there in 40 years, but I do know my way around Pittsburgh. I think the GAP could use a few more signs, or signage that more clearly shows the way out of town.
Agreed on the signage getting out of downtown Pittsburgh onto the trail! Of course it was worse before the Mon Warf switchback opened in 2018, when you were just expected to ride on city streets to get out from the point. Supposedly they're working on a better connector to and from the point and the path down by the river, but I don't know when or if that will happen. The current super narrow sidewalk next to a highway ramp works, but is not ideal.

Anyway, congrats on your ride, and thanks for doing such a great write-up. I'll be doing just the Pittsburgh to West Newton leg as a day trip with my sister next month, and someday I'd like to try a multiday ride!
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Old 07-30-21, 12:33 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by RobbiRobbi View Post
Agreed on the signage getting out of downtown Pittsburgh onto the trail! Of course it was worse before the Mon Warf switchback opened in 2018, when you were just expected to ride on city streets to get out from the point. Supposedly they're working on a better connector to and from the point and the path down by the river, but I don't know when or if that will happen. The current super narrow sidewalk next to a highway ramp works, but is not ideal.
Riding early mornings on the weekend, I often see folks unloading their bikes at the entrance to the Point State Park, sometimes taking their group photos at the medallion at the Point. Not to scare people about that narrow sidewalk you mentioned, but I'd say that section is no more than 500 feet long.

Depending on the timing, I've ridden straight up the Boulevard of the Allies and then turn on Smithfield to catch the Trail with very little trouble (but again, early weekend mornings). But the designated path isn't bad.
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Old 07-30-21, 12:54 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Riding early mornings on the weekend, I often see folks unloading their bikes at the entrance to the Point State Park, sometimes taking their group photos at the medallion at the Point. Not to scare people about that narrow sidewalk you mentioned, but I'd say that section is no more than 500 feet long.
You're right, and I'm not trying to discourage taking that route. I'd just welcome a nicer path for that bit if they ever get around to building one.
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Old 08-02-21, 08:59 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by RobbiRobbi View Post
You're right, and I'm not trying to discourage taking that route. I'd just welcome a nicer path for that bit if they ever get around to building one.
Well, lots of bike lane development has taken place here over the last 5 or more years. I wouldn't be surprised if more improvements are made on the GAP in the city.
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Old 08-02-21, 05:53 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Well, lots of bike lane development has taken place here over the last 5 or more years. I wouldn't be surprised if more improvements are made on the GAP in the city.
Last year I rode from one of the hotels on Smallwood to PSP. I think there were bike lanes virtually all of the way. Virtually no traffic on a Saturday morning. From PSP, I donít remember riding that sidewalk section I did in 2013. At one point I ended up riding through some former parking area under a highway close to the river. It was totally fine.
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Old 08-12-21, 02:48 PM
  #40  
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My wife and I just got back from our GAP ride. Pittsburgh to Cumberland. Thi sthread was a real inspiration. We had to plot our own weird distances as we started late in the day.
Thoughts:
The ride is easy and really worthwhile. Loved the signage about interesting history. Loved the bridges and tunnels.
Working out the logistics of car and transport was harder than the ride by far.
The free Hiker Biker campground 30 miles out of Pittsburgh is beautiful. No water, or electricity, but a clean restroom and, again, BEAUTIFUL
We stayed at the KOA and wished we hadn't. It was nice to get a shower, but the bike area is a ways from the restroom and the place is loud with RV noise.
We stayed at Husky Haven. The campground was fine, but the showers are ride away from the campground and there's no electricity. The only food was at a gas station. But weirdly they were making pizza and it wasn't bad.
Thanks for the inspiration!
I shot a zillion photos. Here's one:

Big Savage Tunnel. Not the longest on the ride, but the most visually interesting.
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Old 08-12-21, 07:37 PM
  #41  
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VERTIGO!
starring Jimmy Stewart
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Old 08-12-21, 11:16 PM
  #42  
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I did my Washington -> Pittsburgh -> Cumberland ride from July 31 to Aug 8. No flats, Schwalbe Hurricane in the front and Marathon Supreme in the back.
Originally Posted by MidLife50 View Post
The rain started coming down harder and then about 5 miles out of town we had our best ever wildlife encounter. A bear cub galloped across the trail in front of us. We were too stunned to take pictures as we were franticly ringing our bike bells to hopefully ward off Momma Bear. We never did see Momma, so that's a victory in our book.
Why do many people see bears on their first tour and I have never seen them?

Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
We stayed at the KOA and wished we hadn't. It was nice to get a shower, but the bike area is a ways from the restroom and the place is loud with RV noise.
We stayed at Husky Haven. The campground was fine, but the showers are ride away from the campground and there's no electricity. The only food was at a gas station. But weirdly they were making pizza and it wasn't bad.
KOA and Husky Haven are probably the best campgrounds in that region. In addition to showers one can do laundry there as well.
The ride from the campground to the office is very short. You can eat in Rockwood at the Mill Shoppes. They also run the Hostel on Main.

Directions from the actual Husky Haven campground to the office where the showers are.
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Old 08-13-21, 03:50 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by csport View Post
...... Husky Haven are probably the best campgrounds in that region. In addition to showers one can do laundry there as well.
The ride from the campground to the office is very short.
Yes the ride to the showers at Husky Haven is short and easy and you're going that way anyway as the fresh water supply is right where the trail crosses Rockwood Road. The showers are very good, nice facility. I needed and took a very long one. That's a pretty nice campground. The owner keeps a pretty close eye on it so its in good shape.
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Old 08-13-21, 05:32 AM
  #44  
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The Mill Shoppes are closed on Sundays, but if you continue on that same road there is a bar/restaurant around the bend. The dollar store in town doesnít have a great selection if you want to cook a meal

Agree about Husky Haven. Quite nice. You can charge devices in the bathroom if the bunk house common area is still closed due to COVID. In addition to the water source mentioned at the welcome center along the trail you can fill some gallon jugs near the showers and bring them back to camp. The owner will collect them the next day.

If you opt for the free camping/shelters in Connellsville you can buy a nice shower from the relatively new hotel just down the trail. There is also an outdoor power outlet on the old structure near the pit toilet.
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Old 08-13-21, 08:56 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
I shot a zillion photos. Here's one:

Big Savage Tunnel. Not the longest on the ride, but the most visually interesting.
Great photo!

I believe that's actually the Pinkerton Tunnel. After having been closed for decades, it was rehabbed in 2015. They had to line it with steel due to the ground and water conditions. Big Savage Tunnel is the longest tunnel on the trail at almost 3,300 ft. Pinkerton is about 850 ft. long.

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Old 08-13-21, 09:24 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I believe that's actually the Pinkerton Tunnel. After having been closed for decades, it was rehabbed in 2015. They had to line it with steel due to the ground and water conditions.
I believe you are correct. Big Savage has concrete and lighting. I first rode the GAP in 2013. I have a vague recollection of a signed detour around Pinkerton.
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Old 08-13-21, 09:55 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by csport View Post
Why do many people see bears on their first tour and I have never seen them?
I've run about 10k miles on the C&O and have only seen a bear once. He ran away from me. I was very jealous of his pace. I turned around and went the other direction.
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Old 08-13-21, 12:52 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by csport View Post
Why do many people see bears on their first tour and I have never seen them?
I saw one in MN during my first tour. I have seen six more while touring. Two in PA (one in camp), one in camp at Jenny Lake in Teton Park in WY, a lone cub in camp in NJ and two in MT. Four of those six sightings have come in the last four years. Also saw one on a day ride in NJ. Just missed seeing two others according to motorists coming the other way. Not bad for a city slicker such as myself.
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Old 08-13-21, 01:50 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I believe you are correct. Big Savage has concrete and lighting. I first rode the GAP in 2013. I have a vague recollection of a signed detour around Pinkerton.
The last time I rode that section was in 2011. Pinkerton Tunnel was definitely shuttered at that time. The top of the mountain had been cleared in preparation for daylighting the nearby active CSX railroad tunnel. The railroad daylighted three tunnels as they were too low to allow transport of double stacked containerized freight.

Pinkerton Daylighting Article

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Old 08-13-21, 02:46 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
The last time I rode that section was in 2011. Pinkerton Tunnel was definitely shuttered at that time. The top of the mountain had been cleared in preparation for daylighting the nearby active CSX railroad tunnel. The railroad daylighted three tunnels as they were too low to allow transport of double stacked containerized freight.

Pinkerton Daylighting Article
I remember that. (I work for a sub of CSX.) They were still out there working when I passed in September of 2013.

Found this earlier today. I remember those signs.

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