Author Topic: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath  (Read 2386 times)

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Offline PNWRider92

GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« on: July 29, 2018, 09:50:20 am »
Who here has done the GAP and C&O Canal Towpath?

I was thinking about doing it this October and was looking for some feedback. Which way did you go, how long did it take you, etc? Would you recommend it? Did any of you hammock camp without any problems? I'd be more interested in doing it if I could use my hammock instead of my tent.

I read somewhere that October is the driest month (and May the wettest) on the route. Cannot remember where I read that though....

I was looking to take about 10 days off of work... 1 day on each end to travel and then 8 days of the tour while taking a single day off. So it'd end up being about 50 miles/day.

Are there any other week long routes you think I should consider doing instead? I live in Colorado and want to get out of the state.

« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 09:52:19 am by PNWRider92 »
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Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline John Nettles

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2018, 10:14:20 am »
I have done both but in different segments.  The C&O you can definitely do a hammock.  You could probably do a hammock on the GAP but definitely harder as it is more "groomed" areas and commercial areas. Have you checked out the their websites?  You could check over on CrazyGuyonaBike.com and review the journals of the route also.
Best, John

Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2018, 10:23:12 am »
I have done both but in different segments.  The C&O you can definitely do a hammock.  You could probably do a hammock on the GAP but definitely harder as it is more "groomed" areas and commercial areas. Have you checked out the their websites?  You could check over on CrazyGuyonaBike.com and review the journals of the route also.
Best, John

Hey John, I assumed you'd be the first one to reply :)

I've read a little on their website and plan to send them a message after work today or tomorrow. I haven't checked out the journals on CGB but will do that later as well.

Did you enjoy both segments?

Thanks for the reply!
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline John Nettles

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 10:41:13 am »
I enjoyed both but preferred the GAP especially.  My wife joined me on the GAP so we went only about 30-40 miles per day (she doesn't ride much) and it was more CC touring.  Plus the surface was MUCH nicer.  Parts of the C&O are probably not much different than they were when they were used as a tow path, maybe even worse due to all the roots on the trail.  BTW, you can check out Weather Spark to get a good idea of the detailed weather averages for a lot of places in the world and basically anywhere in the USA and Europe.  I would think October would be cool, i.e. highs in the low 60s.  We did the GAP in mid-September and had quite a few cool days (10 degrees below the average) so be forewarned.  Weather Spark will help you with the high and low bands of the highs and lows (look at the website so that makes sense). 

Best, John

Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 07:21:56 pm »
I enjoyed both but preferred the GAP especially.  My wife joined me on the GAP so we went only about 30-40 miles per day (she doesn't ride much) and it was more CC touring.  Plus the surface was MUCH nicer.  Parts of the C&O are probably not much different than they were when they were used as a tow path, maybe even worse due to all the roots on the trail.  BTW, you can check out Weather Spark to get a good idea of the detailed weather averages for a lot of places in the world and basically anywhere in the USA and Europe.  I would think October would be cool, i.e. highs in the low 60s.  We did the GAP in mid-September and had quite a few cool days (10 degrees below the average) so be forewarned.  Weather Spark will help you with the high and low bands of the highs and lows (look at the website so that makes sense). 

Best, John

Thanks for all of the information. I spoke to the people who take care of the GAP and they said October would be a great month. The weather is nice and it's peak leaf peeping season. I purchased the book for the two trails and my tickets to Pittsburg and home from DC. Catching Amtrak from Denver on 9/28 and arriving into Pittsburg on 9/30. Will leave the same day and spend the next 8 or 9 days meandering my way to DC. Flying home on 10/10. Will be a nice leisurely ride.
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline John Nettles

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 07:31:10 pm »
Wish you a wonderful trip! 

Offline zzzz

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2018, 08:16:05 am »
I did the C & O as a quick shake out ride when I got a new bike for the Great Divide. It's a lovely ride, very low key.

The only thing I can add is to buy a bell. There are A LOT of people walking on the tow path.  Many deep in conversation or contemplation. Not just down by DC but 70-80 miles upstream. I felt like a jerk a good part of the time because there seemed like no universal good way to let them know you were coming up behind them. Say something too far away you were being annoying, too close they jump.

When I thought about it I decided that a bell would have allowed me to give a little ring from 50 yards away and if they missed that one, then another until I got a sense they knew I was coming up on them.


pm

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2018, 11:16:26 am »
Maybe the recent C&O damage, including a giant washout, will be repaired by then:

https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2018, 05:05:54 pm »
I did the C & O as a quick shake out ride when I got a new bike for the Great Divide. It's a lovely ride, very low key.

The only thing I can add is to buy a bell. There are A LOT of people walking on the tow path.  Many deep in conversation or contemplation. Not just down by DC but 70-80 miles upstream. I felt like a jerk a good part of the time because there seemed like no universal good way to let them know you were coming up behind them. Say something too far away you were being annoying, too close they jump.

When I thought about it I decided that a bell would have allowed me to give a little ring from 50 yards away and if they missed that one, then another until I got a sense they knew I was coming up on them.


pm

I have no interest in getting a bell but I appreciate the suggestion. I live in the city and am use to dodging people on the local MUPs. I don't ride aggressively (on MUPs anyway) and slow down before I pass them if it's unsafe to do so at my normal speed.

Thank you for the heads up though!
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2018, 05:07:17 pm »
Maybe the recent C&O damage, including a giant washout, will be repaired by then:

https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

That's a lot of closures! Thanks for the link.. I sent a message to the bicycle shop listed and the GAP to see if they knew of any predicted opening date. Will print it off for now and check it again before I leave.
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline rnvanderpoel

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2018, 09:32:25 pm »
My brother and I did the GAP and C&O together a couple of years ago. We did two days for the GAP and 3 days for the C&O. Depending on direction you’re heading there’s definitely hammock camping on the C&O and along the Yough. If you can work the distances out definitely at Ohiopyle State Park. I lived for years in Maryland so be prepared for the possibility of it being pretty chilly at night and even more so hammocking in October. Enjoy the ride it’s beautiful.


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Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2018, 11:19:50 pm »
My brother and I did the GAP and C&O together a couple of years ago. We did two days for the GAP and 3 days for the C&O. Depending on direction you’re heading there’s definitely hammock camping on the C&O and along the Yough. If you can work the distances out definitely at Ohiopyle State Park. I lived for years in Maryland so be prepared for the possibility of it being pretty chilly at night and even more so hammocking in October. Enjoy the ride it’s beautiful.


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We’re going west to east.

Day 1: Pittsburgh —-> Buena Vista
Day 2: Buena Vista —-> Connellsville
Day 3: Connellsville —-> Rockwood
Day 4: Rockwood —-> Cumberland
Day 5: Cumberland—-> Paw Paw
Day 6: Paw Paw —-> Big Pool
Day 7: Big Pool —-> Harpers Ferry
Day 8: Harpers Ferry —-> Potomac
Day 9: Potomac —-> Washington DC
Day 10: Washington DC —-> Baltimore

I’m riding with a 14-year-old so only 40-50 miles a day. She can’t do much more than that. We fly home out of BWI on Day 11 so that’s why we’re biking up to Baltimore. We’ll hotel near BWI the night before.

What’s the Yough?

I prefer chilly nights over warm ones. I sleep better.
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado

Offline jbruced

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2018, 08:58:42 am »
My brother and I did the GAP and C&O together a couple of years ago. We did two days for the GAP and 3 days for the C&O. Depending on direction you’re heading there’s definitely hammock camping on the C&O and along the Yough. If you can work the distances out definitely at Ohiopyle State Park. I lived for years in Maryland so be prepared for the possibility of it being pretty chilly at night and even more so hammocking in October. Enjoy the ride it’s beautiful.


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What’s the Yough?

Youghiogheny river.

Offline PNWRider92

Re: GAP and C&O Canal Towpath
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2018, 10:55:05 am »
My brother and I did the GAP and C&O together a couple of years ago. We did two days for the GAP and 3 days for the C&O. Depending on direction you’re heading there’s definitely hammock camping on the C&O and along the Yough. If you can work the distances out definitely at Ohiopyle State Park. I lived for years in Maryland so be prepared for the possibility of it being pretty chilly at night and even more so hammocking in October. Enjoy the ride it’s beautiful.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

What’s the Yough?

Youghiogheny river.

Thanks for the clarification:)
Instagram: tyjames0604

Wisconsin --> Washington ---> Colorado