Author Topic: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US  (Read 4426 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mark Manley

Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« on: February 04, 2023, 01:39:23 am »
I am heading to Baltimore in the spring to visit a friend and make a trip down the GAP and C and O canal and am considering making it a longer circular route taking in part of the Atlantic Coast route, Northern Tier and Underground Railroad route to get me to Pittsburgh.
I estimate that this would be around 1,800 miles and I would allow at least a month to complete the trip and my first question is what would be the best month in terms of both weather and availability of campsites to do it? My options are May or June.
Second question do the ACA maps show campsites along the route? It sounds like the GAP and C and O canal where I would finish my trip will be the easy part with plenty of drop in first come first serve sites along the way, is this the case?
Any other thoughts or pearls of wisdom about this trip would be welcome, I am an experienced cycle tourist with a suitable bike and kit and plenty of experience of travelling in the US but usually by motorcycle so this would be something of a first in a way.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2023, 12:19:04 pm »
(1) June
(2) Yes

Offline ray b

Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2023, 11:26:36 pm »
Even if you're coming from the south of England, you might find the lower altitudes at the latitude of Baltimore a bit warm. I usually look at the average night time temps. June might be a bit warm for you, and I have to note that the traffic will be up in the metro areas once school is out at the beginning of June.

I love maps. You might download the ACA phone app and see if you like the way maps and info are displayed. Info includes up to date contactci info for food and lodging.

And although this is the wrong forum, I'll mention the Rever Pro maps with the Butler overlay of rated roads and trails as a must on your next motorized two wheeled adventure in the states.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 497
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2023, 02:08:41 pm »
The GAP does not have Hiker/Biker campsites every 5 to 10 miles like the C&O. However, it does have a few "free" spots like Cedar Creek near West Newton,  Roundbottom in Vanderbilt, and the shelters in Connellsville. There are also private campgrounds you can use like Husky Haven in Rockwood. The YMCA in Cumberland also offers camping. Bring ear plugs since there is a very active rail line across the river from most of these campsites. Trains are required to blow their whistle three times at each road crossing and towns can have multiple crossings. Check this site for good info https://bikecando.com/

We just rode the C&O and GAP in 2022 starting from D.C. at Mile 0 on the C&O May 15th. The week before had torrential rains and flooding and the bridge over to Harper's Ferry was actually closed due to a barge breaking loose. I would say late May or early June is the best spring time. D.C. is known for HOT and HUMID summers.

Depending on the time you have, and the mileage you want to do, there is also the Eire Canal Trial between Buffalo, NY and Albany, NY which would link you to the Empire State Trail back to NYC. There are some trails and bike routes that could probably get you from Pittsburgh to Buffalo. New York State Bike Route 517 would get you there - Google Maps shows it as 251 miles with 2,900' of climbing. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Pittsburgh,+PA/Buffalo/@41.6589051,-80.8755307,291606m/am=t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x8834f16f48068503:0x8df915a15aa21b34!2m2!1d-79.9958864!2d40.4406248!1m5!1m1!1s0x89d3126152dfe5a1:0x982304a5181f8171!2m2!1d-78.8783689!2d42.8864468!3e1!5m1!1e3 We did the Erie Canal 2 years ago and it is not on my list of favorite trails. Most of the trees were clear cut along the trail and there is very little shade, plus the trail is no where near as scenic and the C&O and the GAP.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2023, 02:13:48 pm by HikeBikeCook »
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2023, 07:12:53 pm »
Thank you to those who have taken time to reply there is some helpful advice there, I did not know about schools starting their holiday so early and am thinking the second half of May and the first half of June would be the best time to do this ride.

Out of interest how is wild camping looked upon along the Erie Canal, is it legal or illegal but tolerated if done discreetly or absolutely no?

How is The Hudson River Valley Greenway? It looks like a nice route up to Albany to start the Erie Canal, I am considering doing this route anti-clockwise so I finish with what I believe is a steady downhill into Washington, is there any reason not to do in that direction?

The heat is not too much of a problem for me, I have just finished cycling sea to sea across Southern India and it is pretty warm here.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2023, 08:23:10 pm by Mark Manley »

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 497
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2023, 12:57:53 pm »
Some people have wild camped along the Erie. Although I do not recall seeing any designated sites, aside from the locks, I do not recall seeing too many posted "no camping" areas. Potable water may be an issue since the area is fairly developed and there are no "mountain streams" to source water from and the canal water is not something you would want to drink, even if you boiled it for a week :D. Some towns have water spigots along the trail so you could pack water in to camp. We rode during COVID so a lot of services were closed and some public water was turned off.

You can camp at many of the locks. I think stealth camping would work fine if you setup late and packed up early and camped on weekdays versus weekends. We camped mostly in private campgrounds and opted for a few hotel nights to get out of the 90 degree heat in August and the afternoon and evening thunder showers. Bring bug repellant. The mosquitos were horrible, the worst that we have even encountered on any bike trip.

As far as downhill to DC goes, that works on the C&O but the GAP is a steady climb (very gradual) all the way from Pittsburgh to past Meyersdale when you cross the Eastern Continental divide. Once you reach that point you have about a 24 mile downhill run into Cumberland where the GAP and the C&O meet. Once on the C&O the grade is hardly noticeable in most areas. This will help in planning for the Erie and Hudson Valley https://empiretrail.ny.gov/map
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2023, 09:15:54 pm »
Some people have wild camped along the Erie. Although I do not recall seeing any designated sites, aside from the locks, I do not recall seeing too many posted "no camping" areas. Potable water may be an issue since the area is fairly developed and there are no "mountain streams" to source water from and the canal water is not something you would want to drink, even if you boiled it for a week :D. Some towns have water spigots along the trail so you could pack water in to camp. We rode during COVID so a lot of services were closed and some public water was turned off.

You can camp at many of the locks. I think stealth camping would work fine if you setup late and packed up early and camped on weekdays versus weekends. We camped mostly in private campgrounds and opted for a few hotel nights to get out of the 90 degree heat in August and the afternoon and evening thunder showers. Bring bug repellant. The mosquitos were horrible, the worst that we have even encountered on any bike trip.

As far as downhill to DC goes, that works on the C&O but the GAP is a steady climb (very gradual) all the way from Pittsburgh to past Meyersdale when you cross the Eastern Continental divide. Once you reach that point you have about a 24 mile downhill run into Cumberland where the GAP and the C&O meet. Once on the C&O the grade is hardly noticeable in most areas. This will help in planning for the Erie and Hudson Valley https://empiretrail.ny.gov/map

Good information thank you, it looks like plenty of water bottles are the order of the day, I see there are quite a few locks along it's length so if most or all have camping areas that should not be a problem.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Questions about a possible tour of the NE US
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2023, 02:07:53 pm »
Bring ear plugs since there is a very active rail line across the river from most of these campsites. Trains are required to blow their whistle three times at each road crossing and towns can have multiple crossings. Check this site for good info https://bikecando.com/

I took this video the first time I camped at Husky Haven. Wait for it, and turn up the volume for full effect. It’s the Amtrak service from D.C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eBa1j8F0dk