GAP trail

Great Allegheny Passage

Recently we’ve been doing a bunch of Rails to Trails type cycling.  With the birth of our first child, our cycling changed from primarily single-track mountain biking to more “touring” centric in order to facilitate the use of a bike trailer.  We utilize the Chariot CX.  (More to follow on the trailer in a gear specific review of it)  Needless to say, we take it everywhere. 

Our family has really been spending some time on these Rails to Trails for the specific reason of use of the Chariot, ability to get out in the woods and the lack of vehicle traffic versus road rides.  This trip takes us to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail in Pennsylvania.  The GAP trail specifically starts in Cumberland Maryland and ends at Pittsburg Pennsylvania.  When connected with the C&O trail, you could ride from downtown DC to Pittsburg PA (300 + miles) on two track dirt roads.  This 300 mile trip is on our mind for a potential family adventure in the Spring. 
The GAP trail offers very few reasonably priced shuttle services, forcing us to do multiple out and back trips over the weekend.  On this trip, we utilized our Salsa Vaya and Surly Cross Check, easily covering the trail at an average of about 14 MPH. 
The first day we started in Myersdale and biked to Rockwood and back.  We went out approximately 12 miles and ended up biking back as it started to get dark (luckily we had brought some nice bike lights with us). 
We then moved on to Rockwood town and crashed in the Urban Adveture Van (UAV) at the trailhead. The town offered a hostel and a campground on the trail named Husky Haven Campground.  We woke in the morning to some mild cloud cover and reasonable temperatures.  Rolling out around 9 AM we covered approximately 29 miles to the town of Ohiopyle where we hit the local bike store and ordered a pizza at Fox’s Pizza Den.  The pizza was awesome (most of the restaurants and ice cream joints are closed during the winter months) and was exactly what we needed for the return ride.  During the return we were subject to a few sprinkles turning into a serious down pour while we loaded up making us very thankful for the awning on the UAV. 
One of the only limiting factors we face camping out of the van is the lack of shower on board.  So after a solid day of riding we decided to look for a place to get cleaned up.  Luckily we called Husky Haven Campground who had showers for rent.  The facility catered to Appalachian Trail hikers and GAP riders/hikers.  They have very nice shower facilities, a bike cleaning/maintenance area and an Internet café. 
This trail has many more miles for us to explore with the real possibility of linking it with the C&O trail for an epic gravel grinder trip.