Author Topic: GAP & C&O Trails  (Read 8255 times)

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Offline ezdoesit

GAP & C&O Trails
« on: June 19, 2023, 01:56:56 pm »
Hello everyone,
 I am wanting to do both trails from Pittsburg to Washington D.C. My questions are where is there a safe place to leave my car should I decide to drive down to Pittsburg then take the train to D.C. and ride back?
Second, was thinking of going around the end of July, maybe August or even September am open to riding these trails either of these months and as anyone would I would like some really nice weather.
Hope this isn't asking too much. :) :D
Any help would be very appreciated this will be my first bicycle tour but have been riding for many, many years and have been riding with the bags on the bike.
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline j1of1

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2023, 02:40:40 pm »
I've done the C&O and GAP twice.  The first time I parked my car at the Grant Street Transportation Center adjacent to the Amtrak station and then took the train to DC in order to bicycle back to Pittsburgh.  Go the GAP website ... gaptrail.org to find info. There are some shuttle services available from either end of the GAP, not sure about the C&O.  Other resources for you include the excellent bikewashington.org website that covers the C&O.

Regarding when to go... are you planning on camping or hoteling/AirBnb/WarmShowers?  If the former I would suggest September when it would be cooler - and perhaps less rain (parts of the C&O are mud pits when it rains), if the latter anytime would be fine.

First tour?  Pace yourself...don't try to do mega miles.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2023, 02:47:57 pm by j1of1 »

Offline ezdoesit

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2023, 03:20:59 pm »
Thank you very much and yes I plan on camping all the way .
My concern was finds a safe and secure place for my car.
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2023, 09:16:42 am »
As I mentioned in response to your thread in another forum, September gets my vote as well. I've ridden the GAP twice starting the Saturday after Labor Day during two tours across PA.  I also did a up and back from Cumberland during that same time.  The days were not too hot, and the nights generally cool.  Fewer people.  (The first time, I was the only camper at Husky Haven, which is a usually popular place.) You'll also likely have fewer bugs.

Offline ezdoesit

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2023, 10:01:19 am »
Thank you and am going to go with doing the tour in September.
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline jamawani

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2023, 01:26:02 pm »
September is the best time to ride the C&O / GAP.
But tropical storms can hit the East Coast then - there are no 100% guarantees.

a) I've ridden the trails when is it warm and sunny and perfect.
b) I've ridden the trails when it is soaking wet and muddy and brutal.

I hope you get a).

Offline ezdoesit

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2023, 08:51:30 pm »
Thank you
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2023, 01:34:55 pm »
Just realized that Labor Day is a bit early this year (9/4). Gives you a few extra days in the month to play with if you decide to wait until after Labor Day.

I'd also look into making train reservations now.

One last thing: The Steelers' home opener is 9/10.  If you are planning to stay the night in Pittsburgh the day before, I would look into hotel rooms now. On year I started in Pittsburgh I had to change the starting date of my trip from the Sunday of the home opener to the Saturday before the game because I could not find an affordable hotel room in the city for Saturday night. (There were barely any rooms available, affordable or not.)   The fact that the game was against the one of Ohio teams may have made a difference, but I wouldn't leave it to chance if you plan to stay in town that weekend.

The Steelers also play at home at night on Monday, 9/18, against Cleveland.

Offline zzzz

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2023, 04:40:34 pm »
Hi:

I grew up near the C&O and for nostalgia's sake I rode that a couple of years ago but I turned around and rode back before I hit the Cumberland trail.

I will suggest two things:

1) If you're starting in DC, leave on a week day and get an early start. The C & O is very heavily used as a pedestrian outing, if the weather is nice there's even more people, and if its the weekend it becomes a slalom course. Of course the closer to DC you are the more crowded it becomes but it stays pretty busy until you get past Harpers Ferry.

2) I thought if I was ever to do it again I would put a bell on my bike. A lot of people walking along will be unaware you're coming behind them on a bike and are lost in their thoughts. I tried saying something to warn them I was coming from 10 yds to 40 yds behind them and there was no method I came up with that didn't regularly have some people jump out of their skin when they finally took note that I was right behind them. RING RING

Offline canalligators

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2023, 11:10:53 pm »

2) I thought if I was ever to do it again I would put a bell on my bike.


Another advantage to a bell is that it can generally be heard by a walker/runner even if they are wearing earbuds.

Offline ggwbikemt

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2023, 02:16:49 am »
As for football games in downtown Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh has home games on September 2, 9, and 23. They play in the same stadium as the Steelers which is currently called Acrisure Stadium formerly known as Heinz Field.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2023, 09:48:24 am »
As for football games in downtown Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh has home games on September 2, 9, and 23. They play in the same stadium as the Steelers which is currently called Acrisure Stadium formerly known as Heinz Field.

Didn't know that. I went to law school at Pitt, when they still played at Pitt stadium, but that was many, many moons ago.

I will keep the college schedule in mind as I now might be taking a September up and back trip.

Offline ezdoesit

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2023, 03:47:58 pm »
As for football games in downtown Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh has home games on September 2, 9, and 23. They play in the same stadium as the Steelers which is currently called Acrisure Stadium formerly known as Heinz Field.

Thank you for that information
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline Manotti

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2023, 07:52:08 pm »
We just got back from the GAP/C&O. It was fabulous but we also had really nice weather. I could see having a lot of rain would make the trails not as pleasant.....
Other intel - Husky Haven is closed. Seems like for awhile. Not sure why.  The Paw-Paw tunnel is closed. You have to hike/push your bike up and over.  It's about 400' vertical.  We have the name of a super friendly guy who will shuttle you to the top and then it's easy to walk or ride down the other side (we went Pitt to DC direction).  Costs $20.  DM me if interested. 
Agree with others. Go in September. Better chance for better weather. August can be hot and humid.
Good luck and enjoy. You'll enjoy it.  JM

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GAP & C&O Trails
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2023, 08:15:30 am »

Other intel - Husky Haven is closed. Seems like for awhile. Not sure why.
Wow! According to Facebook, it is closed permanently.  Love that place.  The first time I stayed there I was relaxing at my picnic table when a small owl pounced on a chipmuck about 10' away from me.

The Facebook post does not give a reason.