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Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath

Bike Tour Blueprint


Medium to Hard


335 Miles


Crushed Gravel


Luggage Transfers, Shuttling


Mid-Atlantic - Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia


5, 7, 8, 9, & 10 Days


Hotel, B&B, Camping




The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and C&O Canal Towpath combine to create one of the most unforgettable bike trails in the world. For 335 miles you'll ride car-free through forests, farmlands, historic towns, and transportation history. The gentle grade and crushed gravel surface makes biking the GAP/C&O accessible for most cyclists. It's truly the trip of a lifetime!


Our guests who purchase the GAP/CO Bike Tour Blueprint receive the following:

  • In-Depth Trail Knowledge
  • Detailed Trip Itineraries
  • Build-it Guide to Reserving Your Trip
  • Digital Route Maps with POIs


Connecting Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania to Cumberland in Maryland, the Great Allegheny Passage stretches for nearly 150 miles through the Appalachian Mountains. The Great Allegheny Passage incorporates defunct corridors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Western Maryland Railway

In Cumberland the GAP seamlessly intersects with the C&O Canal Towpath. Hugging the north bank of the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, the C&O Canal operated from 1831 to 1924. It was used for transportation between the Allegheny Mountains and urban areas of the Chesapeake Bay.

Today, both trails have an average grade of less than 1%. At the highest point of the trail, you’ll cross the Eastern Continental Divide, after which the trail drops around 1,750 feet over 20 miles before reaching Cumberland.

The C&O Canal Towpath descends around 600 feet from Cumberland to Georgetown in Washington, D.C., with the gradual change in elevation almost indiscernible . Along the C&O, occasional potholes, rocks, and mud can be expected in some sections but conditions are improving dramatically as a major trail resurfacing project is currently underway.

Our GAP/C&O itineraries are designed to give you ample time to take in the sights along the way and experience the region’s natural beauty. Take your time and explore all the trail has to offer or opt to cycle long miles each day and push your limits as you complete the 335-mile trail.

Difficulty: The Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Towpath is rated at medium to hard difficulty. The trail has little daily elevation gain (with the exception of Meyersdale-Cumberland) and the surfaces are fairly well-maintained, although the C&O Towpath can be uneven and slow in sections. Itineraries range from 20-60+ miles/day with options for a wide variety of riders.




Frank and Sue F.
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The Schoolhouse and Lindenhof B&B were spectacular. The beds in all the hotels were really, really comfy. We loved the small towns along the trail and the downhill direction of the trail. We met lovely people everywhere….midwest hospitality and friendliness. There were plenty of little towns along the way. And there were many really, really friendly bikers who were very helpful and fun. Was the trip paced to your satisfaction? Yes, very much so.
Tom and Sharon B.
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The Country Inn staff did everything they could to help us…The Hotel Bothwell and Hotel Frederick were both very accommodating and friendly….Capt Wohlt Inn, in Hermann, had Brant going out of his way to help us. He even cleaned our bikes for us. …It was fine for us older folks ( we’re 71 & 72) with no shuttle taking our luggage. Each day was very doable. Of course we had almost perfect weather. We had no issues with food our water etc. thanks to your materials. And, of course, you can’t do anything about the Missouri wind and dust.

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