GAP/C&O Canal Towpath

Blueprint

The Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath is a must-ride trail for all bike travelers. Our Bike Tour Blueprint provides all the tools you'd ever need to piece together your own bike tour on one of North America's most popular trails.

aqueduct on the GAPCO

Surface

Off-Road, Crushed Gravel and Dirt

Distance

330+ miles total

What’s Included

  • Comprehensive Trail Knowledge
  • Reservation Guide
  • Detailed Itineraries
  • Digital Mapping and Voice Navigation

GAP/C&O Canal Towpath

$90.00

The Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath is a must-ride trail for all bike travelers. Our Bike Tour Blueprint provides all the tools you’d ever need to piece together your own bike tour on one of North America’s most popular trails.

45-minute call with NIBT founder Sara Petyk to answer any questions on the GAP, planning a bike tour, or any other cycling topics

Category:

Available Trail Services

Hotels Available
Available

Campsites
Available

Shuttling Services
Available

Luggage Transfer
Available

Bike Rentals
Available

Suggested Itineraries

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle (75 miles)
Day 2 – Ohiopyle to Cumberland (75 miles)
Day 3 – Cumberland to Hancock (60 miles)
Day 4 – Hancock to Shepherdstown (51.5 miles)
Day 5 – Shepherdstown to DC (73.5 miles)

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Perryopolis (45 miles)
Day 2 – Perryopolis to Confluence (42 miles)
Day 3 – Confluence to Cumberland (63 miles)
Day 4 – Cumberland to Little Orleans (43 miles)
Day 5 – Little Orleans to Williamsport (41 miles)
Day 6 – Williamsport to Brunswick (45 miles)
Day 7 – Brunswick to DC (55 miles)

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Perryopolis (45 miles)
Day 2 – Perryopolis to Confluence (42 miles)
Day 3 – Confluence to Cumberland (63 miles)
Day 4 – Cumberland to Little Orleans (43 miles)
Day 5 – Little Orleans to Williamsport(41 miles)
Day 6 – Williamsport to Shepherdstown (27 miles)
Day 7 – Shepherdstown to Brunswick (18 miles)
Day 8 – Brunswick to DC (55 miles)

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to West Newton (34 miles)
Day 2 – West Newton to Ohiopyle (42 miles)
Day 3 – Ohiopyle to Meyersdale (42 miles)
Day 4 – Meyersdale to Cumberland (32 miles)
Day 5 – Cumberland to Little Orleans (43 miles)
Day 6 – Little Orleans to Williamsport(41 miles)
Day 7 – Williamsport to Shepherdstown (27 miles)
Day 8 – Shepherdstown to Brunswick (18 miles)
Day 9 – Brunswick to DC (55 miles)

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to West Newton (34 miles)
Day 2 – West Newton to Ohiopyle (42 miles)
Day 3 – Ohiopyle to Confluence (11 miles)
Day 4 – Confluence to Meyersdale (31 miles)
Day 5 – Meyersdale to Cumberland (32 miles)
Day 6 – Cumberland to Little Orleans (43 miles)
Day 7 – Little Orleans to Williamsport(41 miles)
Day 8 – Williamsport to Shepherdstown (27 miles)
Day 9 – Shepherdstown to Brunswick (18 miles)
Day 10 – Brunswick to DC (55 miles)

Camping on the GAP is possible at established campgrounds only, and some require reservations. Camping on the C&O is available at hiker-biker sites every 8-10 miles along the trail.

5Day Pittsburgh to DC
Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle/Confluence (approx. 80-90 mi)
Day 2 – Ohiopyle/Confluence to Cumberland (approx. 60-70 mi)
Day 3 – Cumberland to Hancock (approx. 60 mi)
Day 4 – Hancock to Brunswick (approx. 60 mi)
Day 5 – Brunswick to DC (approx. 60 mi)

7Day Pittsburgh to DC

Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Connellsville (approx. 60 mi)
Day 2 – Connellsville to Rockwood (approx. 50 mi)
Day 3 – Rockwood to Cumberland (approx. 40 mi)
Day 4 – Cumberland to Fifteenmile Creek Area (approx. 45 mi)
Day 5 – Fifteenmile Creek Area to Williamsport area (approx. 40 mi)
Day 6 – Williamsport area to Brunswick (approx. 50 mi)
Day 7 – Brunswick to DC (approx. 50 mi)

9Day Pittsburgh to DC
Day 1 – Pittsburgh to Cedar Creek/Roundbottom (approx. 40-50 mi)
Day 2 – Cedar Creek/Roundbottom to Ohiopyle (approx. 30-40 mi)
Day 3 – Ohiopyle to Rockwood (approx. 30 mi)
Day 4 – Rockwood to Cumberland (approx. 40 mi)
Day 5 – Cumberland to Paw Paw area (approx. 30 mi)
Day 6 – Paw Paw area to Hancock (approx. 30 mi)
Day 7 – Hancock to Sharpsburg area (approx. 50 mi)
Day 8 – Sharpsburg area to Brunswick (approx. 20 mi)
Day 9 – Brunswick to DC (approx. 50 mi)

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Riding the GAP/C&O Canal Towpath

The Great Allegheny Passage is best ridden between May and October.

Spring on the GAP is a wonderful way to restart your cycling season. April and the start of May can have periods of rain followed by periods of gorgeous spring sunshine.

Summer is ideal for riders who love the long days, sunny and dry weather. Long sunny days allow for full days of biking, side trips, and socializing.

September and October is peak season on the trail.

The Great Allegheny Passage is a well-maintained crushed gravel trail which is comfortable for most riders on most types of bikes.

The C&O Canal Towpath is maintained by the National Park Service as more of a dirt trail/road, although improvements to the trail surface have been underway for the past several years. That said, riders will find the western end of the C&O from Cumberland to Little Orleans (where the Western Maryland Rail Trail can be accessed) to be bumpy and sometimes muddy and rutted.

The GAP passes through rural SW Pennsylvania with small towns about every 10-20 miles which offer food, bathrooms, and bike services. There are also relatively frequent trailheads with port-a-johns along the length of the trail.

The C&O Towpath is a linear park and as such the NPS maintains hiker-biker campgrounds with port-a-johns and water pumps (these are sometimes capped) every 8-10 miles. There are also several larger towns accessed from the C&O which offer more variety of restaurants and lodgings than you can find along the GAP.

Cell coverage is fairly strong on the entire trail, particularly Verizon. Wifi can be limited, although most B&Bs and hotels will offer the service. *There is no wifi and limited cell service in Ohiople and Paw Paw.

Bike and ebike rental is available in Pittsburgh. Rental bikes can be shuttled back with you to the shop or dropped off in DC for an added fee.

 

Have a question about this trip?

Our professional team members are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our tours. Please reach out to them for trail tips and to plan your next adventure.

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