Eastern USA, Trip Reports » McKeesport PA to White’s Ferry MD


Video of the trip and written report below


Completed this trip last year and am just now getting around to writing a report on it. I started from McKeesport, PA and ended at Whites Ferry, MD. I used the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal to get from point A to B. Total trip length was approximately 280mi over 2.5 days. The entire trip was on dedicated rail trail/double track and went up and over the Eastern Continental Divide.  This was the first time riding the GAP trail and I must say..cant get a much nicer trail than this…

GAP just after the divide crossing


GAP Trail

The maps made available are also very informative

The trip started off with a 4am revelry and a 6 hour drive from Virginia up to PA. Thankfully I had a friend that was willing to drive me and my gear up to the drop-off point. During this trip, the GAP trail was not completed from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. They are currently laying trail down for the final few miles to make a complete point to point trail from Pittsburgh to D.C (I plan to ride it this spring). I started the day around 11am and made it to Confluence, about 72 miles.

Breakfast at Sister’s Diner across the river from the campsite was a great way to start the morning!

There is tons to see along the GAP. Many bridges and tunnels and small trail towns. However, not as much camping and water resupplies as the C&O. GAP is also far busier than the C&O and its hard to get a sense of solitude for most of the trail.

Lots of these vistas

I arrived in Myersdale before noon for a quick pitstop and ice cream before the last few miles to the top of the divide. They have a really cool museum inside. If you have time you should check it out for a bit of history of the old rail road system.

The rig taking a rest in Myersdale

Another 8 miles down the trail I reached the heights point in the trip and was rewarded with a downhill journey all the way home to White’s Ferry..

My faithful mule that got me to the top

Just following the Divide crossing was a series of tunnels that felt as though I was traveling into the mines of Moria. I forgot to whip out the camera in the Big Savage Tunnel (which is 3300 feet long I should add). I did however stop just after exiting to take this shot…

A bit further and I cross from PA to MD as signaled by the Mason Dixon Line!

Along this final section of the GAP you parallel the Western Maryland Scenic Rail Road. I sadly did not see the train in service that day but I enjoyed the scenes anyway!

I finally reached the end of the GAP trail in Cumberland, MD and had a late lunch in town at a restaurant that I cant remember other than it was the best meal I had all trip (due to having nothing but cliff bars all day)

Riding into Cumberland, MD

The remainder of the trip was spent trucking as fast as I could go to stay ahead of a major storm that was chasing me down. It was paused for a few minutes when I crashed out just before the PawPaw tunnel on the C&O canal. That tumble took the pep out of my step and out of the aero bars for awhile. Luckily no permanent damage as I was miles from help in either direction and had not seen a soul in over an hour. There was also no cell signal :-/.

Crash before PawPaw

That about sums up the trip. Long days on the bike but a great way to shake down gear in a relatively controlled environment with help and supplies readily available. I plan to do an out and back trip this year from DC to Pitt’s as a final preparation for the Divide in June 2014!

Comments (8)

NickMarch 11th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Great report! I hope to ride the GAP and C&O next month with a setup similar to yours.

AdamMarch 11th, 2013 at 5:43 pm

How did you attach the bottle cages to your fork? Did you add eyelets or do they clamp on? Thanks.

novariderMarch 12th, 2013 at 6:19 am

On this particular setup I used a combination of front and rear reflector brackets to create two mounting points for the cages to attach. The trick is to find ones that are articulating and have a screw point to adjust the pitch. I upgraded the front end to an 80mm suspension over the winter and now use hose clamps and tubes until I can find something better.

JRAMarch 13th, 2013 at 10:43 am

Cool trip!
Thanks for sharing.

VinceMay 7th, 2013 at 6:44 am

Nice report! I’ve ridden the gapcando in pieces every three years or so since 2003. I am looking forward to my trip this year since it will be the first tip to tip trip on the trail. I just hope they have the sandcastle stretch complete by the time i start in less than two weeks.

EricJuly 8th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Awesome stuff…thanks so much for posting.
Do you have a gpx file?
if not, where can I find the route?


LongtrailaheadAugust 31st, 2013 at 5:46 am

Good stuff. I’m looking into doing this entire route very shortly, having just finished my own travels on the grand/cdt route. Best of luck in 2014

ShaneApril 1st, 2014 at 6:03 am

I am riding the divide in 2014! I live in Charles Town, WV and ride out in the GWNF. Nice write up.


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