GAP and C&O Towpath Tour

GAP and C&O Towpath Tour

10 Day Inn Bike Tour

Tour Information

Date: 05/15/25 - 05/24/25
Meet: Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 2:00pm
Tour Price: $3690
Single Upgrade: $900

We will ride the entire length of the Great Allegheny Passage and the Chesapeake & Ohio Towpath from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC. We'll cover 335 miles of vehicle-free trails in the spring when the nights are cool and the route should be lined with brilliant wildflowers. This is a bucket list ride for many cyclists. If it's not on your list, it should be - join us!

5% Discount

The first 6 women to sign up receive 5% discounts.

Moderate

Moderate

Mostly flat terrain on crushed stone. Average 48 miles per day. Moderate cycling level. More leisurely with an e-bike.

9 nights lodging, 8 breakfasts, 2 picnic or sack lunches, 7 dinners, daily snacks, van support, luggage transfer, digital maps and  GPS files, shuttle excursion to Flight 93 National Memorial, trained guides, and transportation at the end of the tour back to Pittsburgh if you've driven.

$195 for a Cannondale W Quick 3 hybrid or Cannondale Topstone 2 adventure road bike; $350 for a Gazelle T10 Ultimate low-step e-bike or Specialized Vado step-thru e-bike.

W Quick

 Topstone

Gazelle

Vado

 

Fly or take the train into Pittsburgh, PA and out of Washington, DC. Or drive and leave your car at our starting hotel and we'll provide transportation back to Pittsburgh arriving about 2:00pm on the last day of the tour.

FAQ

How do I sign up?

You can Register / Sign-up for a Tour online. Or call our office at 585-424-2124 to do it over the phone, Monday - Friday, 9:00-5:00 Eastern Time. We’ll need a Visa, MasterCard or Discover number or a check for the deposit. If you sign up within 30 days of the start of the tour, we require payment in full. Then we’ll send you a tour confirmation packet with many more details about your trip, including travel arrangements, a packing list and an optional training schedule. Most of our tours fill completely and have waiting lists, so don’t wait too long before deciding to join us!

How do I know if I can do it?

If you can ride 5 miles on your bicycle today, then you can do our tours marked as leisurely. If you can ride 10 miles on rolling terrain, then you can do our moderate tours. If you can ride at least 20 miles on rolling terrain, then you can train to be able to tackle our advanced tours. Remember that our support vehicle is always available to pick you up if you get tired. That’s what we’re there for.

If you're still concerned about being able to do it, then consider renting an e-bike. These electric-assist bicycles flatten out the hills and increase your speed. They make more challenging tours available to more cyclists.

What about electric-assist bikes (e-bikes)?

Electric-assist bikes - or e-bikes - have quiet, battery-powered motors that add power to your pedalng. They increase your speed and assist you in cycling up hills. Most e-bikes have a range of assistance, so you can choose how much of a boost you'd like. E-bikes make it easier to do all the miles in all types of terrain. We allow electric-assist bicycles on our tours if you'd like to bring your own. We also have e-bikes available for rent on most of our trips -- look for the e-bike symbol. We do not make e-bike recommendations if you're considering purchasing your own. We suggest you rent one on a tour first so you can try it!

Can I bring my own bike?

About half of our guests bring their own bicycles. Cross-country cyclists must ride their own bikes. Upon signing up for a tour, you will receive information for packing, shipping and flying with your bike.

What about the rental bikes?

We have a fleet of women-specific bicycles available for rent for $195 for most tours in the U.S. We will need your height and inseam measurement to fit you properly. You can choose a hybrid bike with straight handlebars or an adventure road bike with racing-style drop handlebars. We also have electric-assist bikes, Gazelle T10 or the Specialized Vado, available for $350 for most tours. Our rental bicycles have a phone holder, back rack, water bottle holders, and back bag.

Do most women share a room?

Yes, the majority of our guests choose to have a roommate.

What if I have to cancel a tour within the USA?

We understand that personal circumstances sometimes force women to cancel their travel plans. Therefore, we have tried to be as generous as possible with the following domestic tour cancellation policy for our regular tours:

  • 75+ days before tour departure: forfeit $150 of your deposit.
  • 50 - 74 days before tour departure: forfeit 25% of the complete tour price.
  • 30 - 49 days before tour departure: forfeit 65% of the complete tour price
  • 15 - 29 days before tour departure: forfeit 85% of the complete tour price.
  • 0 - 14 days before tour departure: forfeit 100% of the complete tour price.
  • No refunds are possible after the tour begins.

In addition, you may transfer $350 to another trip up to 75 days before departure. On domestic US trips (excluding Alaska,) you may also transfer 50% of the trip price, less $50 up to 30 days before departure. WomanTours will hold any “transfer funds” on account through December 31 of the following year. Any money left on account beyond this deadline will be forfeited.

Please note that our cross-country and epic tours have their own cancellation policies, depending on the tour's payment schedule. The $300 registration fee for these tours is nonrefundable and nontransferable.

"This was a fantastic trip, with truly outstanding leaders and a wonderful group of fellow cyclists. The route planning was well thought out - with just enough days that were challenging and those that were more relaxed."

Carol B. Arlington, VA

Bike Tour Details

DAY 1: We’ll meet in downtown Pittsburgh at our starting hotel on the bike path along the Monongahela River. We’ll begin with a rental bike fitting at 2:00pm followed by an orientation and dinner. 0 miles.

DAY 2: After our first group breakfast, we’ll pedal our bicycles on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail to the Point State Park fountain for a group photo. The park marks the start of the mighty Ohio River formed by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. It is also the start of the Great Allegheny Passage and our epic adventure.

We’ll leave the city and start on the 150-mile rail trail through the former coal-mining and steel-making corridor. We’ll quickly cross the Monongahela River on the Hot Metal Bridge once used by freight trains to carry molten iron from the furnaces to the steel mills. Our destination for the night is the small community of West Newton, PA. 39 miles, elevation +1019’/-985’.

DAY 3: We’ll meander through history today as we cycle through the Laurel Highlands, the highest mountain range in the state. We’ll pass former coal mining towns, mines and beehive ovens. The distinctive ovens were used to turn coal into coke for the steel factories.

Toward the end of the day, we’ll reach Ohiopyle State Park, ranked among the top ten best state parks in the country. We’ll cross over the Youghiogheny River Gorge and marvel at the stunning views of the mountains all around us and the rapids below. Then we’ll overnight in Ohiopyle, PA. 43 miles, elevation +1352’/-898’.

DAY 4 : After a hearty breakfast, we’ll make sure our bike lights are in good working order. We’ll ride through several tunnels today as we prepare to cross the Eastern Continental Divide – the highest point of our tour at 2392’. Then we’ll cross the Mason-Dixon Line, enter Maryland and finish the day with a beautiful 20-mile gentle descent to the end of the GAP in Cumberland, MD. 72 miles, elevation +2741’/-3346’.

DAY 5: You can choose to visit the historic downtown of Cumberland, MD on our layover day today, or you can join our guides for an excursion to the Flight 93 National Memorial. We’ll visit the final resting place of the 40 passengers and crew, listen to the Tower of Voices and read the Wall of Names memorial that marks the debris field and honors the fallen from 9/11. 0 miles.

Day 6: We begin cycling on the Chesapeake & Ohio Towpath, better known as the C&O, and now it’s a National Historical Park. We’ll hug the banks of the Potomac River that is the border between Maryland and West Virginia. Halfway through the ride, we’ll come to the Paw Paw Tunnel. At 3,118’ long, it took 14 years and more than 6 million hand-laid bricks to complete. It was – and still is – an impressive engineering feat of the 185-mile canal! 60 miles, elevation +802’/-957’.

Day 7: By now, you’ve probably noticed the striking old stone structures along the C&O. You didn’t see them on the GAP, as it was a railroad. The families who lived in these lockhouses ran the locks on the canal for more than 60 years. Today seven of them have been lovingly restored and turned into unique places to stay.

We end our day in Shepherdstown, the oldest town in West Virginia. Many of the buildings in its Historic District date from the American Revolution. You’ll have time to explore the charming town, as you’re on your own for dinner tonight. 54 miles, elevation 769’/-813’.

Day 8: We continue to follow the river today on the C&O. Along the way, you can opt to take a short detour across the river to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It was here that abolitionist John Brown launched a raid in an attempt to free slaves. His hanging in 1859 helped focus the nation’s attention on the moral issue of slavery and begin the Civil War.

When we introduced this tour, we included a ride on White’s Ferry. However, the ferry’s operation has been under litigation since late 2020 and is still closed. It was the last of 100 operating ferries on the Potomac River, which used a wire cable to cross cars and bicycles to the other side. We will shuttle across the river from Rock Point, MD to our hotel in Leesburg, VA. 25 miles, elevation +256’/-438’.

DAY 9: We complete our epic ride by cycling into Arlington, VA today. But first, we ride over the only wooden aqueduct on the C&O, visit Riley’s Lockhouse, where Girl Scouts dressed in period clothing sometimes lead tours, and stop at the Great Falls Overlook. It offers views of the mile-long rapids and 20-foot waterfalls as the Potomac roars toward the Chesapeake Bay.

We’ll end our tour at “Mile 0” in Georgetown where a lone monument marks the eastern terminus of the C&O Canal Towpath. Our ending hotel is just across the river in Arlington where we’ll celebrate our accomplishment at our last dinner together tonight. 44 miles, +617’/-835’.

DAY 10: You’re free to take a taxi at your leisure this morning to the Reagan National Airport (DCA.) If you have time to stay longer, our ending hotel is a short walk across the Key Bridge to Washington, DC. If you need to return to Pittsburgh for your car, WomanTours will provide you with a shuttle back to your car arriving about 5:00pm. 0 miles.

Tour Highlights

  • Traffic-free cycling on bike paths
  • Ohiopyle State Park's Youghiogheny River Gorge
  • Crossing the Eastern Continental Divide
  • American Revolution and Civil War history
  • Flight 93 National Memorial
  • Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia & Maryland