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GAP Trail and C&O Canal Trail Bike Tour

  • Pittsburgh skyline
  • Great Falls near Washington DC
  • Eastern Continental Divide
  • GAP trail across roads
  • Trillium flowers
  • Harper's Ferry
  • C&O Canal Towpath trail
  • Capitol building Washington DC at sunset
DURATION
7 Day(s)
DAILY BIKING
13 to 65 miles
TRIP DIFFICULTY
2-Easier to Intermediate
STARTING FROM
$2895
SINGLES ADD FROM
$700

Trip Overview

Join us for a seven-day bike tour through three states along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath. These two historic trails connect the forks of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the tidewater of the Potomac in Washington D.C, with 335 miles of scenic, car-free, and nearly level riding. Though the grade is friendly, the miles are high.

The 150 mile-long GAP Trail follows an abandoned railroad through tunnels and across viaducts through the Allegheny Mountains. In Cumberland, the trail joins the 185 mile-long trail C&O Canal Towpath. Meandering along the Potomac River, the towpath, which has 74 lifts to adjust for the 605 foot change in elevation, was constructed to make the river more navigable. The route is rich with history ranging from canal and railroad transportation to the Civil War.

If you're ready to ride up to 50 to 60 miles a day on dirt and crushed-gravel paths, and you are yearning to meet the challenge of the full adventure from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC, this tour is for you.

Itinerary

From start to finish, check out the route.

DAY 1 - Arrival Day
Distance: 22 miles | Terrain: Easier | Hampton Inn West Homestead
The trip begins with an 1pm pickup at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Pittsburgh Airport, followed by a shuttle to nearby Homestead. The group will review the trip plan after arriving in Homestead and have a bike fitting, followed by a ride into Pittsburgh. We’ll follow the GAP trail to Point State Park, which sits at the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers. Known as “The City of Bridges,” Pittsburgh is the city with the most bridges in the world -- even more than Venice! So enjoy the many steel bridges you’ll see as you begin the ride. We’ll turn around at this start of the GAP trail and ride back out to Homestead for the first night’s lodging and group dinner.
DAY 2 - West Newton and Connellsville
Distance: 55 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Comfort Inn & Suites
The riding of the GAP trail begins in earnest today, heading out of the city, through the suburbs and into the country. Stop for lunch in West Newtown, with its quaint storefronts. You’ll end your ride in Connellsville, once lucrative in coal mining and coke production; more than 40,000 beehive shaped coke ovens used to light up the evening sky. Dinner will be at 6:30 PM.
DAY 3 - Falls City
Distance: 58 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate| Yoder's Guesthouse
In the first 26 miles from Connellsville to Confluence, you will ride along the Youghiogheny River. The river has cut its way through the mountain ridge, forming the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania. Enjoy the beautiful Yough River Gorge Overlook before reaching Ohiopyle. Famous for its white water rafting, Ohiopyle, also known as “Falls City,” is where George Washington was famously forced to turn back because waterfalls made the river unnavigable. Enjoy the tunnels and bridges through Pinkerton Neck. At Garrett, you’ll pass through farmlands and wind farms. Just before ending today’s ride in Meyersdale, the highest town on our journey, you’ll ride on the Salisbury Viaduct, a 100-foot high steel trestle that runs for more than 1,900 feet through the valley. We’ll have dinner tonight in Meyersdale.
DAY 4 - Wrap up the GAP
Distance: 33 miles | Terrain: Easier | Fairfield Inn & Suites
Though today is our last day of riding along the GAP trail, you won’t be disappointed -- there’s a line-up of one awesome sight right after the next! Shortly into your ride, you’ll come across the 910-foot-long Keystone Viaduct. After a few more miles of pedaling, you’ll come to the Eastern Continental Divide. At 2,392 feet, the divide marks the boundary between the watershed of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Less than two miles later, you’ll ride through Big Savage Tunnel, the longest tunnel on the trip. The last twenty miles descend gently alongside the Maryland Scenic Railroad line. You’ll ride through Mason Dixon Park, honoring the two gentlemen who surveyed the land and created the famous Mason-Dixon Line. Enjoy lunch in Frostburg, a popular college town, before riding past Helmstetter’s Curve and Bone Cave. You’ll end the day in the attractive and vibrant city of Cumberland, where the GAP and C&O trails combine. Tonight’s dinner will be on your own in Cumberland.
DAY 5 - Paw Paw Tunnel
Distance: 60 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | The Country Inn of Berkeley Springs
Today you’ll begin your journey along the C&O Canal Towpath. You’ll see many aqueducts and locks, each with their own story to tell. You’ll come across the 0.6-mile-long Paw Paw Tunnel, one of the world’s longest canal tunnels. The canal company opted to tunnel through 3,118 feet of the mountain rather than construct five miles of canal along the winding river. You’ll end the day in Hancock. We will enjoy dinner tonight at Buddy Lou’s Eats, Drinks, & Antiques.
DAY 6 - Harpers Ferry
Distance: 65 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Light Horse Inn and The Ledge House B&B
You’ll see more aqueducts and locks today. Consider stopping at the Fort Frederick State Park to learn about the fort and its role in the French and Indian War of 1754-1763 as well as the Civil War. A little while later, cross the footbridge to Harpers Ferry. Deemed a National Historic Park, Harpers Ferry is the site of Brown’s Raid of the Federal Armory, which was the trigger that sparked the Civil War. Settling into Harpers Ferry, you’ll have opportunities to hike trails and battlefields. Enjoy dinner as a group tonight in the lovely Harpers Ferry Barn.
DAY 7 - Departure Day
Distance: 61 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate
Pedal along the C&O Canal Towpath. Visit Great Falls, one of the most spectacular natural features in the Washington DC area, with its cascading rapids and dramatic waterfalls. At Widewater, see the nearly 500-foot wide log wall that was built to dam up water for navigation and to carry the towpath. Enjoy the final miles into the Washington DC area where we will say our goodbyes.

Map

Picture of GAP Trail and C&O Canal Trail Bike Tour

Dates & Pricing

Prices are per person based on double occupancy (2 people in one room). Single supplement for private room is listed at the top of this page. A deposit of $500 holds your reservation for most tours. For weekend tours, the deposit is $300.

Start End Cost Availability
May 27, 2023 Jun 02, 2023 $2895.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Sep 02, 2023 Sep 08, 2023 $2895.00 Available! Reserve Reserve

What’s Included

6 nights' lodging, 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners (you are on your own for 1 dinner). We also include detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support — plus use of a bike and helmet. Airfare is not included.

Dates & Pricing

Prices are per person based on double occupancy (2 people in one room). Single supplement for private room is listed at the top of this page. A deposit of $500 holds your reservation for most tours. For weekend tours, the deposit is $300.

Start: May 27, 2023
End: Jun 02, 2023
Cost: $2895.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Sep 02, 2023
End: Sep 08, 2023
Cost: $2895.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve

What’s Included

6 nights' lodging, 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners (you are on your own for 1 dinner). We also include detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support — plus use of a bike and helmet. Airfare is not included.

Inns

Where you stay along the way.

Hampton Inn West Homestead
Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh/Waterfront-West Homestead is located close to downtown Pittsburgh and overlooks the Monongahela River in a new waterfront development. Have fun at the Waterfront Dining and don't miss out on the area's fascinating history.
Comfort Inn
This convenient and comfortable hotel in Connellsville, PA is perfect for those who want to explore all the sights of the Laurel Highlands. It sits on the Youghiogheny River, only minutes to the center of town. Enjoy easy access to destinations like Great Allegheny Passage, Kentuck Knob, Fort Necessity National Battlefield and more. You’ll enjoy a free deluxe continental breakfast every morning with juice and coffee to jumpstart a day of activities. Their 100% smoke-free property also has an indoor heated pool, an exercise room, and a fitness center for you to enjoy on-site.
Yoder’s Guesthouse
Yoder’s Guest House is the perfect place to relax, refuel, and recognize the beauty of your journey.

Each of their 11 guest rooms has its very own private bathroom. Their continental breakfast, wireless internet access, and ADA compliance make Yoder’s an extremely accommodating and relaxing experience for everyone. In the evening, guests relax in the historic doctor's library, play board games in the dining room and appreciate the company of other friendly guests.
Fairfield Inn & Suites
A gem among Cumberland hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites is perfectly situated near I-68 and just minutes to the C&O Canal trail. Get a great night's rest in one of our comfortable rooms and enjoy thoughtful amenities like free wireless high speed internet, free local calls and large work desk. Unwind in our indoor pool or whirlpool. Join us each morning for an energizing, complimentary continental breakfast buffet.
The Country Inn of Berkely Springs
This inn is located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia in beautiful Berkeley Springs, our nation’s first spa. It offers a full-service restaurant and the Rustic Morgan Tavern, English country gardens and a gift shop. And Berkeley Springs State Park and Downtown Berkeley Springs are just outside!
Light Horse Inn and The Ledge House B&B
Built in the Crossroads of the Revolutionary War, the restored historic Light Horse Inn offers early American style. Seven gorgeous suites with views of mountain heights and small town. Built circa 1770s, the Inn takes you back to a time when George Washington could have been spotted from the windows surveying the land. On some departures guests will stay at the Ledge House B&B.

Gallery

Images from this tour. Click each to see it larger.

Pittsburgh skyline Great Falls near Washington DC Eastern Continental Divide GAP trail across roads Trillium flowers Harper's Ferry C&O Canal Towpath trail Capitol building Washington DC at sunset