The C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail
Summertime means bicycle touring time! My favorite!
Every summer, I see riders arrive in Washington, D.C. who have pedaled 330 miles, mostly on trail, all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. How did they do it, you ask? They rode the Great Allegheny Passage Trail and the C&O Canal.
In total, riders traverse 330 miles between the two trails. The Great Allegheny Passage Trail is 145 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. There, the C&O Canal picks up and takes riders on a 184.5 journey into the heart of Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Felkerino and I love to tour, but we have never ridden the C&O/Allegheny Trails in their entireties. It is on my to-do list, though! I just have a few other places to cross off first.
This weekend, as we were returning from our coffee ride, we spied a couple of riders on the C&O Trail with both front and rear panniers. Felkerino and I immediately suspected they were completing at least a C&O Canal tour and we started waving and shouted enthusiastically to them, “Where are you coming from?”
“Pittsburgh!” was the reply. So exciting!
“Congratulations on your ride!” we shouted back to them. I felt so lucky to share in a tiny part of their journey and recognize their accomplishment.
We asked them more about their tour and learned that a small group of riders had toured both trails over seven days with the Sierra Club, averaging around 45 miles per day. More details of that tour are here. It looks pretty cool.
I love encountering touring cyclists. The only thing better is being on tour myself.
Touring is such a special activity and one of my favorite things to do. It’s just you and your bike, maybe a friend or two, navigating the world together, exploring, and earning every meal you eat through a hard day of pedaling.
I. Love. It.