5 Books to Read Before Bike Touring from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C

Mile Marker 0 on Great Allegheny Passage

5 Books to Read Before Bike Touring from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C

If you’re looking for a truly memorable bike touring experience, look no further than the expansive and historic 335 Mile Non-Motorized route between Pittsburgh and Washington D.C! These 330+ miles of dedicated bike trail are actually two connected bike trails – the Great Allegheny Passage (or GAP) trail and the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath.


GAP + C&O = the best rails-to-trails biking experience!


The GAP Trail is a long-abandoned railway that transported coal and timber for Western Pennsylvania’s thriving steel industry. Today, the tracks may have disappeared, but the GAP stand’s as one of the finest achievements in America’s growing Rails-to-Trails network. Cyclists from all over the world have biking the GAP Trail on their bucket list. This amazing rail trail now spans from the city of Pittsburgh down to Cumberland, Maryland, for 150 miles of uninterrupted riding.


George Washington sure would have loved to have the C&O Canal!


The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, on the other hand, is an old canal towpath that runs nearly 184 miles following the Potomac River. From 1831 to 1924, the C&O Canal was the lifeline for the communities that sprung up along it’s route. Canal boats floated lumber, grain and other products to market, and were towed by ropes harnessed to mules that walked the dirt path that paralleled the canal, what is now the multi-use trail that cyclists and hikers love. Unlike the GAP trail’s crushed limestone surface, the C&O Canal Towpath has stretches of dirt road and other sections leveled with crushed gravel.

Bike Touring from Pittsburgh to D.C. is a cyclists dream!


Come experience the Natural and American History along the GAP Trail and C&O Canal the best way possible, by bike touring from Pittsburgh to D.C.
There are lots of resources out there chronicling the history of both trails, and the trail towns along their routes, but here are a few books to get you started.

Wilderness Voyageurs’ Top 5 Picks


  1. Meet You in Hell – story of Andrew Carnegie & Frick
  2. The Youghiogheny, an Appalachian River by Tim Palmer
  3. The Grand Idea: George Washington’s Potomac and the Race to the West
  4. Stemwinders of the Laurel Highlands The Logging Railroads of South-Western Pennsylvania
  5. The Whiskey Rebellion – George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty

Meet You in Hell book Les Standiford    Youghiogheny Appalachian River book Tim Palmer    The Grand Idea book Joel Achenbach    Stemwinders in the Laurel Highlands     The Whiskey Rebellion book William Hogeland

Wilderness Voyageurs Bike Tours Logo

Wilderness Voyageurs operates Inn-to-Inn Bicycle Vacations

If you want to experience the sights, sounds, culture and geography of a place, what better way than from the saddle of a bike?

All Wilderness Voyageurs tours are fully supported with a SAG vehicle and include beautiful routes through stunning landscapes, excellent food and accommodations, top rate equipment, dedicated and enthusiastic guides.

Give our wonderful reservation staff a call to book your next bike tour vacation. (800) 272 – 4141