What to Bring on a Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Self-Supported Bike Tour
Your Proven Packing List for Self-Supported GAP Bicycle Touring
A fully-loaded bike, ready for a self-supported tour on the GAP.[/caption]
What to bring on your GAP trail tour is really important! If you’re planning to ride the Great Allegheny Passage, self supported, from end to end, you’ll want to pack smart and light. Hauling along too much stuff can make for a tiring ride! We have put together this tried and true, proven packing list the covers what to bring for clothing, gear and bike equipment, and what campgrounds are available along the GAP Great Allegheny Passage trail. The GAP rail-trail goes from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA.
What to Bring: Clothing for GAP Trail Touring
- Cycling clothes
- Bike gloves
- Rain jacket (and pants, if you like)
- Thermal shirt
- Camp/hotel clothes
- Camp/hotel shoes
- Extra long-sleeved shirt
- Long pants
Whatever the weather, your clothing should be synthetic, merino wool or a high-performance blend! Dress in light layers so your clothes can breathe. We get a lot of rain in Pennsylvania, so keep your camp clothes are safe from the weather in a waterproof bag. You might also want to bring an extra pair of socks.
What to Bring: Personal Items for GAP Trail Touring
- Wallet (I.D., cash, credit card)
- Cell phone (limited service along the trail)
- Water bottles/hydration pack*
- Snacks/energy bars
- Trail Guide
- Bug spray
- Toilet paper
*There are chemical toilets at the campgrounds and GAP access areas, but limited potable water. Carry at least a quart of water more than you think you need! Take advantage of towns along the way for water and food resupply.
** A headlamp comes in handy if you ride at night (the GAP isn’t lit!), and for riding through the dark tunnels along the GAP.
What to Bring: Bike Equipment & Gear for GAP Trail Touring
- Bike (!)
- Panniers or soft-sided bikepacking bags *
- Extra waterproof stuff sacks
- Rain cover for panniers
- Extra spokes
- Bike lock
- Handlebar pack
- Mini pump
- Flat kit (tube, tire levers, patch kit)
*We don’t recommend carrying more than a couple pounds in a backpack. Use bags that fit onto your bike instead. That way, the weight rests on your sturdy bicycle and not on your shoulders![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Watch this handy short video about the GAP trail surface and riding conditions.
Prepare well for your tour! We recommend bike tires at least 35mm in width, not skinny road bike tires, because the GAP trail surface is hard-packed crushed cinder most of the way with some paved sections. Rainfall will make the trail soft enough for skinny road bike tires to have to work harder to ride, whereas wider tires are more efficient and comfortable in all conditions.
Camping Gear: if you want camp along the GAP
- Tent & tarp
- Sleeping bag
- Air mattress
- Cooking kit
- Food (ultralight backpacking meals are good!)
- Water purification
- Ear plugs
- Ziplock bags (for electronics)
There are many places on the GAP trail to camp! There are 11 campgrounds in total.
Campgrounds on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail
These campgrounds are in listed in order from Mile Marker 0 all the way north to Mile Marker 122, from Cumberland Maryland to Buena Vista, PA. Each campground is linked to a page on the super useful RTC Regional Trail Corporation website with a list of what’s available at each campground. Happy bike touring on the GAP trail!
Cumberland YMCA (Cumberland – mile 0)
Maple Festival Campground (Meyersdale – mile 32)
Outflow Campground (Confluence – mile 62)
Kentuck Campground (Ohiopyle – mile 73)
Stewart’s Crossing (Connellsville – mile 89) *FREE
KOA at River’s Edge (Adelaide – mile 92)
Roundbottom Hiker-Biker campground (Roundbottom – mile 99) *FREE
Cedar Creek Park Hiker-Biker campground (Cedar Creek – mile 110) *FREE
Camp Buddtown (West Newton – mile 112)
Youghiogheny Canoe Outfitter (West Newton – mile 114)
Dravo’s Landing Campground (Buena Vista – mile 122) *FREE
Useful Related Great Allegheny Passage Rail-Trail Links
- Elevation profile for the entire GAP Trail, and the C & O Canal Towpath- find out the grades between towns from Pittsburgh PA to Cumberland MD and on to DC via the C&O Canal Towpath: https://wilderness-voyageurs.com/pittsburgh-to-dc-gap-and-co-canal-ride-elevation-profile/
- Learn what the GAP trail is like to ride from Ohiopyle, PA to Confluence, PA for first time GAP riders:
Ready to take on riding the Great Allegheny Passage Trail? Here’s your awesome reading list all about the GAP trail: https://wilderness-voyageurs.com/bike-touring-from-pittsburgh-to-d-c-reading-list/
Beyond the GAP Trail – Read about the Fascinating History of the C&O Canal Towpath here: