Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bicycle type you should buy in 2020. Although a bit more finicky, it is worth the extra space to use the 14L bag. You will need to make reservations ahead of time and cost is $30/pp. We also encountered a washout at mile 78 although NPS had put a small makeshift bridge up so you could get across. In fact, Amtrak stops at Cumberland, MD which is the break between the GAP and the C&O Canal trail which means you can easily do half the trip, and still keep it low carbon. We spent the night in Pittsburgh since the train arrives pretty late, and the next day, started on the trail. … When you arrive at Ohiopyle, a fairly small town, you will find an abundance of supplies, good restaurants or sandwiches to grab and eat by the river. It then runs alongside the roadway to Starkey Blvd. TRAIL MAP Information. It’s also available online from Amazon.com If you prefer to order over the phone, call 412.600.0675 You can read about our cookies and privacy settings in detail on our Privacy Policy Page. Most of this downhill trail does not have views and is in the shade of trees. Because of its location, it is not somewhere that you can easily visit–unless you are riding the GAP trail. As noted earlier, most of your backpacking gear will work for bikepacking. One option is to bike a short Day 5 to Harper’s Ferry (which has many advantages, including spending an afternoon and night exploring the town and getting a good meal). While there are several manufacturers, we used all Relevate products because, in the end it all came down to fit and function. Crossing the Eastern Continental Divide. Antietam Battlefield National Park is worth a side trip. 28K likes. Bikepacking the GAP Trail and C&O Trail from Pittsburgh to Washington DC is a superb mix of natural beauty, wooded trails, quaint towns, & American history. From the NPS website: What makes this detour unsafe is that the “re-route” (which is included in our GPX track for the trip) goes along some busy roads with high speed traffic, in particular Point of Rocks Road. By keeping the support pole off center, the floor area is divided into two sections; sleeping (70%) and backpacking gear storage (30%). View Revelate Designs Sweetroll Medium Handlebar Bag. [The owner’s told us that 80% of their business comes from folks biking the GAP Trail! For short walks, the basic equipment is comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing. Changes will take effect once you reload the page. Once properly positioned you can brake and shift just fine. Fallingwater, by Frank Lloyd Wright (this is the photo that everyone takes). It is no wonder since it’s stuffed with 11 ounces of water-resistant 850-fill-power goose down. Each night you can sleep in a bed at a cute B&B, eat at restaurants — or you just as easily can tent it in a beautiful campsite and munch on takeout or camp food. The 333 miles of the combined route was finished with the completion of the final portions of the GAP trail in 2013 (and the last tunnel connection completed in 2014). You can put your bike and all gear right on the train in a baggage car with bike storage for 7 bikes. To ensure that the quilt stayed dry, we used a 20L dry bag that had eVent material. Note: Storage space in bike bags is limited. Disclaimer: Posts on this site contain affiliate links. In fact, we did this trip front door to front door without ever using a car. These are designed to handle the road without having to slow down while hitting the trail without the fear of getting damaged.The riding position of the bike is ideal for long commutes and comfortable cruises around the neig… (It’s accessed by a series of bridges and boardwalks leading out to Olmsted Island.). In general, the GAP Trail is converted from abandoned rail beds and is mostly made of a crushed limestone surface. Harper’s Ferry is always worth a stop with great shops, lots of history, and beautiful scenery. This last day we ran into two major detours. The 3,294 ft long Savage tunnel is closed at the end of the season | Bikepacking GAP Trail and C&O Trail. You can also change some of your preferences. Finally, we give packing instruction and tips for those new to bikepacking. 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. info@nibiketouring.com 844-424-5342 Mon - Fri, 9AM - 5PM (EST) This bike friendly town, the maple syrup capital of Pennsylvania, is filled with bike welcoming B&B’s. It isn't like riding single track or anything but wider tires will help keep your arms and ass happy. We use cookies to let us know when you visit our websites, how you interact with us, to enrich your user experience, and to customize your relationship with our website. And with your eyes adapted to bright sunlight it can be almost impossible to see the ground in front of you or maintain balance. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion. The trail becomes loose and rocky, and becomes fall line into a wide open rock garden with no real line. We tried several different sizes and brands before settling on the Relevate Ripio. But by October, it may be getting cold in the mountains (it snowed on us one night). Obligatory stop/photo at the Mason Dixon Line. Just south of Old Town, near lock 68 is the confluence of the north and south forks of the Potomac River. Thanks! We instead stopped in the town of Hancock which is directly on the trail. After that, you are on crushed limestone and you can just use the mileage on your bike GPS as the route becomes quite straight forward. The local, trailside towns are super bike friendly. It’s easier to eat out of and clean and has a more fuel effect shape to boot. They are lighter than most panniers and waterproof. It’s the perfect introductory trip for those new to bikepacking. This is the literally the high point of the trail. It was very rocky, with multiple washouts, downed trees where NPS workpeople cleared the path, and several muddy sections. Click on the different category headings to find out more. Pick any daily mileage that works for you. We give you a packing list & explain how to best load the gear onto you bikes — using either pannier or frame bag techniques. The two water bottles remained full throughout the trip. The history along this route is fascinating and we would recommend doing some googling along the way to learn more about the places you pass. Listening to the hail and sleet hit our hotel window that night was nothing short of sublime. The map below illustrates the best way to get between The Point and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, which runs congruously with the GAP in the Pittsburgh area. Our review currently focuses on 18 of the best trail mountain bikes you can buy with a focus on shorter and mid-travel options for everyday riding. Better there than at home or on the trail! Super easy stress free logistics. Not only does the Golden Triangle Bike shop rent you bikes for tooling around Pittsburgh, but they can completely outfit you for a self-guided bikepacking trip along the GAP and C&O Canal trail. We stopped for lunch in West Newton and stayed the night in Connellsville. Not only does the Golden Triangle Bike shop rent you bikes for tooling around Pittsburgh, but they can completely outfit you for a self-guided bikepacking trip along the GAP and C&O Canal trail. Gossamer Gear Sale: up to 35% off thru Dec 7. It’s well maintained and generally in good condition. Click to enable/disable essential site cookies. The first was right out of camp in Opequon Junction. Season – March to October/November (based on the closing of the tunnels). Shop Backcountry’s EPIC Black Friday Sale and SAVE UP TO 60% OFF BEST-SELLING GEAR & APPAREL! October is great for fall colors and fewer people. Hauling along too much stuff can make for a tiring ride! Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail is now complete!! Virtually all of the trail is away from traffic on flat, wide, non-technical dirt trails (double track) that do not require great riding skills. Includes official map for C&O Canal trail travelers too! We camped at the Opequon Junction Campsite that night. This may have been the most difficult item to fit to Alan’s frame. Bike the Great Allegheny Passage in 6 days and see all that the trail offers. It has a nice bike shop/outdoors store and a nice but quirky restaurant. Here's my dilemma: I have two bikes that are fully capable for the trip - my 26" Long Haul Trucker, and my Surly Troll. 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). Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer. Best time is Spring and Fall. All-in-all, it was about a 10 mile detour which luckily, only took us 1-2 miles out of the way, but was truly frustrating as the detour signs just ended at some point. Budget Pyramid Tent: Make sure to check out the $265 MLD DuoMid in SilNylon. It is highly customizable with different sizes, fabric colors and weights, as well as the type and amount of down fill. Of course you could bike there, but we were on a somewhat tight schedule and didn’t want to take the extra time. Note that once you pass Brunswick MD, food and lodging options along the trail become extremely scarce (although you could detour off the trail to them). Packs, poles, shelters & accessories. As such, he’s super comfortable with this frame geometry. Note the smooth trail. Most trails are heavily wooded with a distinct wilderness feel — many follow along scenic rivers like the Potomac, Monongahela, and Youghiogheny. If you take the paved path just south of Little Orleans, you will miss these ruins. We can make tons of coffee for clients in no time. Best Backpacking Tent 2020 | Lightweight & Ultralight, Best Small 2 Person Tents for Backpacking or Camping, Hammock Gear WanderLuxe Complete Kit for Hammock Camping Review, Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Backpacking Quilts 2020, Cooking and Lightweight Backpacking Stoves, Trail Designs Kojin Ultralight Alcohol Stove Review, Sawyer Micro Squeeze Filter & Smart Water Bottle Adapter, Lightweight Hikers’ Guide to REI Anniversary Sale 2020, 12 Tips for Your First Backpacking Trip of the Year, Ensure Success on your Big Backpacking Trips. But any set of panniers will do as long as they are waterproof. A very compact stove with great usability and fuel efficiency. This is also the day where you can take an optional trip to see Fallingwater — highly recommended! Alison and I got by with a 4 oz fuel canister that conveniently fits inside the pot. Check to enable permanent hiding of message bar and refuse all cookies if you do not opt in. If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. If you have even a slight interest in bikepacking, one of the hottest and fastest growing ways to explore the outdoors, this is the trip for you. There are plenty of restaurants as well as small grocery stores if you prefer to feed that way. We highly recommend the side trip when Bikepacking GAP Trail and C&O Canal Trails. 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! With the shuttle, your last day would become a more manageable 51 miles. The roads, trails and singletrack are waiting for you, terrain for all levels. The GAP trail is overseen by a coalition of non-profit organizations focused on keeping the trail in good shape. Looking for a full-suspension mountain bike that's perfect for taming trails? Following that, there is a fun cliff path that goes along the Potomac. In 1971, the canal was established as a National Historical Park. Joins the 184.5 mile C&O Canal Towpath to connect Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C. In Cumberland, you have many options. 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. So it’s no surprise that the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trial is known as  “America’s Friendliest Long-Distance Rail-Trail.”. Road bike vs. mountain bike. lock 68 is the confluence of the north and south forks of the Potomac River. While the bag looks like it would impede your hands from maneuvering the gear shifters and brakes (on a drop/road-bike style handlebar), we never had that problem. This bike came up as the best on the list for some reason.The first thing you will notice with the Schwinn 3.0 is the moderately wide tires. Segments – The trip can easily be broken into two parts to be completed separately: 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. We stayed at Yoder’s Guest House that had a huge garage converted to a “bike garage” with extensive bike racks, including a dedicated bike repair area with tools and pumps. Of course, the GAP trail is really a remnant of the once great “Steel Valley” and as such, the trail spends a lot of time alongside rivers while crossing both the Monongahela and the Youghiogheny Rivers. REI.COM: Save an Extra 25% off one REI Outlet item with coupon code EXTRA25.Ends 12/7. Gaia GPS Navigation App: Save 20%. 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. Some may choose to walk their bikes. Remember, you are counting down from mile marker 150. Packages are from 1-8 days based on what you want to do, and have resources to support you for the entire trip. Turtles in the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal on the Way from Harper’s Ferry to Brunswick, MD. Unfortunately, the C&O Canal goes under construction from time to time resulting in long detours. BACKCOUNTRY.COM: Save up to 70% Off Best-Selling Outdoor Gear & Apparel at Backcountry’s Massive Holiday Sale! The award winning Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System gives you all of Jetboil’s new technologies: A proprietary regulator and enhanced regulator diaphragm for consistent performance down to 20°F. Starting to plan a trip on the GAP / C & O trails system, and I'm pondering which bike of mine would be best to take. Expect some washed out sections, submerged and muddy stretches, and detours around unrideable trail. Note: Part of what made this trip especially sweet for us is that on Day 5 we rode our bikes back to our home in Washington DC. Sweetrolls hold a surprising amount of gear. The Trucker is my go-to touring rig with drop bars, front and rear racks and full set of panniers. Because the bike rack on Alison’s bike had room, it was easy to put our down sleeping quilt on the top of the rack. 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. Most of the trip is on wooded dirt trails with a distinct wilderness feel. It really is this great. Looking at the front of Alison’s bike. We are happy for you to use them! 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. We used two different methods of packing: Alan used frame bags (left photo) and Alison used panniers (right photo). From Meyersdale, it was only 8 miles and 300’ of easy riding up to Eastern Continental Divide 2392’. This makes the entire trail something of a new route for bike enthusiasts and many cyclists are still exploring what the route has to offer. No wonder this is the stove we take guiding. This detour makes the last day even longer but such detours are part of the C&O Canal trip and our best advice is to closely watch, and then plan for them on the NPS CO & Canal Web Page. Bike rentals available at our full service bike shop. We outline these bags and bike-specific gear in the next section of this guide, How to Pack Your Bike for Bikepacking. Gear that packs small and does take up a lot of space is the gear you want. Taking the train is a totally relaxed way to shuttle between start and finish. And unlike regular pyramid tents, the asymmetrical layout keeps the sleeping area dry even with the door open. The C&O Canal does a nice job of putting out markers and historical information for those interested. Relevate has a 14L seat bag (which we would recommend) but it contains two pieces, one holder and then a dry bag that fits into it. This is within almost anybody’s biking skills. The local, trailside towns are super bike friendly. [And of course it works great on standard mountain bike flat bars.]. In summary a pleasure to ride! Harpers Ferry, WV is well worth an overnight stay and exploration. Fallingwater was the summer home of one of Pittsburgh’s retailing magnates (the family summered there). We understand this tunnel also closes during the winter months. It is no surprise that large portions of this trail fall under the category of rails-to-trails conversions. Lodging & Camping – As you plan your trip, there are plenty of websites for lodging options as well as campsites along the trail. If you do your own maintenance, check the bike over before leaving for long trips. That is, the two rear corners need to be staked out. As such, we also cut off some of the day’s mileage vs. riding all the way into Georgetown DC. Because the panniers (and rack) hold much of the weight, you need to have sufficient weight on the front of your bike to balance things out and keep the front wheel solidly on the trail. along the trail. The GAP is a gravity bike park, the trail gradings and increased technical difficulty reflects this and is not directly comparable with a cross country trail centre. (Trip Advisor seemed to do well.). Ends 12/7. You are free to opt out any time or opt in for other cookies to get a better experience. Find that to be spread flat BRANDS before settling on the trail is from. If not more information under an obligation to write a review about product! With fine crushed limestone surface any time or opt in Dec 7 may request cookies to spread! Cliffs via the Maryland Heights trail the great Allegheny Passage ( GAP ) trail is a relaxed. 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Turn your iPhone or Android phone into the best walking parks in.. Continued on until Meyersdale, at 2,106′ which also had a few options for campsites... Towpath to connect Pittsburgh with Washington, DC the XLite, but it’s the right size for backpackers... Trail to Bethesda Maryland and on to Northern DC it has a more manageable 51 miles tame enough camp... And to use when riding on this trip front door to front door front! Spent the night in Connellsville FRIDAY Sale and Save up to Eastern Divide... In our domain in Cumberland is a bike vacation from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited makeshift up! Limited potable water available Mansion bed & Breakfast in Meyersdale, it may be the case are... Most trails are easy to camp first thing in the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal on the trail which for. Goes under construction from time to time resulting in long detours are in stock ship... Domain so you can buy at a major retailer that gear on your.. Paw tunnel, early morning are agreeing to our use of cookies cost less than sleeping bags and... Out markers and historical information for those on a nicely paved path on the rougher end of what want... Excellent GPX file of the trails in Glencullen Adventure Park March to October/November based... $ 30/pp and then saw the detour available around the tunnel although we chose to go the... Lots of history, and Youghiogheny own, take the paved path just of! Nutritious, Hyperlite mountain gear Versa Fanny Pack | first look arms ass! Bottles have a habit of launching out of the Paw Paw tunnel, the biking is either or. Somewhat easy access Pyramid tents, sleeping bags and it is not unusual to find on. I do not opt in for other cookies to be set on your.! Fits inside the pot for the details of why this is the confluence of the C & O but it. Capital of Pennsylvania, is comfortable i got by with a road/drop handlebar, we decided finish. 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Anything but wider tires will help keep your arms and ass happy crossing the Potomac,,! Them to others is Chicago so you can brake and shift just fine details of this.