People often ask, "How do I get to the start?" or
"How to I get back when I finish?". You could try to convince a friend or relative to give
you a lift, but that will use up a lot of favors! (It's a nearly five hour
round trip drive). Here are some other ideals:
There are some shuttle services between the trailheads. However, be forewarned!
These services are often reliable, but not always. My experience is that these services typically
start off very well, but eventually begin to fade (i.e. stop answering phone calls, miss pickups, charge more than advertised price).
To avoid problems, be sure to confirm price ahead of time (in writing). Expect to pay a deposit, but avoid pre-payment in full.
Also, please keep me advised of BOTH positive and negative experiences. You may also check with the
National Park Service for other options.
- Freedom Trail Riders
has been offering shuttle services since 2000. I understand that they have remained quite reliable.
These groups offer full service bike tour packages in the Potomac Valley. Note that they may contract with
one of the shuttle companies listed above.
- Get Out & Go Tours LLC
offers fully supported bike tours featuring indoor lodging and return transportation
along the C&O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage trail.
Located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, they also offer local bike rentals for extended business travelers to Washington.
- Mountainside Bike Tours offers
tour packages along the Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage trail.
For groups of 2 to 20.
- River Riders in Harpers Ferry, WV offers several
bike rental tour packages. They also offer
other services such as river rafting, kayak tours, and summer camps.
|Hertz Rental Car Locations|
|Wayne's Citgo Station
322 South Centre Street
301 722 2522
|901 11th St. NW
202 628 6174
Car Rental is probably the best option.
Hertz offers one-way rentals for around $100, depending on the car size.
The Cumberland location is less than a mile from the trailhead. The DC
Location is a bit over a mile, across the downtown area. An optional pickup
point is Reagan National Airport, which is reached by way of a very pleasant
five mile bike ride on the paved Mount Vernon Trail
Another great idea is to rent a one-way U-haul
or Budget truck. U-haul rental sites are located
within easy biking distance of the trail heads (Cumberland, MD and Arlington, VA).
This will cost about $150-$250 for a small truck. Best rates will probably be for mid-week rentals.
If you go this route, be sure to reserve well in advance.
Great News! After literally decades of prodding, Amtrak
now offers walk-on bicycle service on the daily Capitol Limited!
This train services several stops along the Towpath and Great Alleghany Passage, but had previously only accepted pre-boxed bicycles
at select stations. The new service allows you to load and secure your own bike on the train from any station along the route between
Washington and Chicago, including stops at Harpers Ferry, Cumberland, Connellsville, and Pittsburgh. Special bicycle racks are provisioned
inside the baggage car to hold up to eight bicycles. Reservations are required to use this service, and it will cost an extra $20 per bicycle
on top of your regular train ticket. Only normal sized bikes are permitted, so unfortunately no tandems. It is also worth noting that
bagged folding bikes (ex Bike Friday)
are considered to be normal luggage and can be hand carried on the train without paying the extra $20.
The only downside to this service is that the Capitol Limited runs just once per day and may not have convenient times all travelers.
Westbound trains leave Washington, DCís Union Station around 4:00 pm each day, stopping in Cumberland around 7:15 pm and Pittsburgh
just before Midnight. Eastbound trains leave Pittsburgh around 5:15 am, with stops in Cumberland around 9:30 am and Washington at 1:00 pm
(verify latest schedule with Amtrak).