Summer Adventures Part 2: GAP Bike Trail – A tour that we highly suggest

Summer Adventures Part 2: GAP Bike Trail – A tour that we highly suggest

Posted by Steve Ewing on Feb 12th 2018

Tips for cycling the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP)

Here at Aero Tech Designs, we are big fans of rail to trails. Road riding around here can be rather dangerous. Low shoulders and high speed limits do not make for the safest riding experience. However, we are lucky that there are dozens of converted rail-trails, all just begging to be ridden.

The one we want to tell you about today is called the GAP trail (Greater Allegheny Passage). The GAP trail is a 150 mile trail that will take you from downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland Md. If you combine in two other trails that connect to the GAP, you can create a 355 mile rail-trail tour that will literally take you from our location in Coraopolis, PA to Washington D.C.

To do this, first you would get on the Montour Trail. Mile marker 0 is located less than a mile from our old factory location. This will take you on a 46 mile ride to Clairton Pa. That is where you can meet the GAP trail.

Once you ride the GAP approximately 150 miles, you will meet the C&O Canal Towpath. This 185 mile trail will lead you into Washington D.C.

Most people who do this trip usually plan to ride between 5 and 7 days. It’s definitely a trip that has a lot of beautiful scenery and amazing little towns that you can stop by, so bring your camera. The more time you can dedicate to this trip the better. The towns along the way offer places to eat and bed and breakfasts to sleep in. There are also many camping spots along that way if that is what you prefer.

A few years ago, the trail organizers created an Airport Connector. This connector allows out-of-towners to fly into Pittsburgh International airport, put their bikes together, and take off on this amazing bike touring ride. It’s about a 6 mile ride to the Montour Trail.

If you are looking for your next bike tour adventure, we highly suggest checking this ride out. There is a lot of information available on the GAP’s website.

Happy Riding

Key Things to Know

Climate Stats:
  • Rainiest time of year: March, April, May
  • Least rainiest time of year: June, July, August, September, October
  • Average Spring High Temp: 76°F
  • Average Summer High Temp: 85°F
  • Expect cold temps and snow from late November through February
GAP Trail Key Towns (mile marker listed Cumberland,MD (0) to Pittsburgh, PA (150)
  • Cumberland, MD - 0
  • Frostburg, MD - 15
  • Meyersdale, MD - 32
  • Rockwood, PA - 43
  • Confluence, PA - 60
  • Ohiopyle, PA - 72
  • Connellsville, PA - 88
  • West Newton, PA - 114
  • Boston, PA - 128
  • McKeesport, PA - 132
  • Homestead/Waterfront, PA - 140
  • South Side PGH, 146
  • Downtown PGH, 150
GAP Trail Camping
  • Cumberland
  • Meyersdale
  • Confluence
  • Dunbar
  • Connellsville
  • Smithton
  • West Newton
Towns With Bike Shops  on the GAP Trail
  • Cumberland
  • Confluence
  • Ohiopyle
  • Connellsville
  • Pittsburgh
Check the GAP Trail Alerts here before you leave for your trip.  This will tell you if there are any known issues on the trail before you get there. 
C&O Trail Key Towns
  • Washington D.C
  • Great Falls
  • Leesburg
  • Brunswick
  • Harpers Ferry
  • Shepherdstown
  • Williamsport
  • Hancock
  • Little Orleans
  • Paw Paw
  • Cumberland

Camping Towns on the C&O Bike Trail

  • Brunswick
  • Harpers Ferry
  • Antietam Creek
  • Williamsport
  • McCoys Ferry
  • Hancock
  • Little Orleans
  • Paw Paw
  • Oldtown
  • Spring Gap
  • Cumberland

Information on camping on the C&O

C&O Trail Bike Shop Towns
  • Washington D.C.
  • Leesburg
  • Brunswick
  • Harpers Ferry
  • Shepherdstown
  • Williamsport
  • Hancock
  • Cumberland
About the C&O Canal Trail

Please note that the trail surface of the C&O is a little more rough than the typical crushed limestone that make up most rail trails.  If it's going be rainy, the trail will be muddy, and it may be best to leave the carbon fiber wheels at home.  A cross style bike with 32-36mm tires will work just fine. 

Know What to Wear

The time of year you decide to ride the trail will determine what's appropriate to bring.  If you're going in the spring time and baselayer, warmers, windproof vest/jacket, and rain gear could all be very useful.  Early spring can still have some very cold nights, so take that into consideration when you're selecting gear and deciding where to stay. Moving into summer, sun protection becomes a concern.  Our long sleeve cool jersey, made from coolmax fabric, offers SPF 40 protection, and the fabric is so lightweight and breath-able that you won't over heat.  If you go with short sleeves, don't forget the sun block.  Sweat bands and skull caps can be very useful to keep sweat from dripping into your eyes all day.  Remember that it is hot with high humidity in July and August. If you plan accordingly this trip will be an amazing adventure that you'll never forget.