Swimming Along the GAP/C&O
I’m planning a trip from DC back to Pittsburgh and was wondering if there are any good swimming spots along the trail.
Also, does anyone know about the legality of swimming in the Potomac and Youghiogheny Rivers?
Considering white-water-rafting is offered on the Yough, and tubing is offered on the Potomac, I’d say go for it. However I’m not entirely sure so don’t take my word for it.
Can’t address the legality, but please accept my good intentions in commenting on safety. I’ve swum in many sections of both watercourses (and not been arrested). Be always mindful of flow and currents. Be careful around Ft. Frederick and other parts of the Potomac as the river bed, unlike the round smooth rocks of the Yough, has end-on slabs of some “slatey” kind of rock, and they can be keen as a straight razor, honed by particulate laden water flow. Sliced my hand and leg quite thoroughly and didn’t even notice until I climbed out and my brother asked why I was dripping blood. (Fortunately the river sharks were downstream that day.) Superglued myself back together and I was good to go, but it would have been more pleasant to have known of this hazard beforehand.
you can legally swim in what ever river you want and for the record you can legally swim naked in a national park (C&O).
Didn’t Jeff Buckley drown swimming in a river he was unfamiliar with? It sounds like it’s legal to swim in any river, but it’s obviously not always safe to do so.
I have routinely seen people swimming in the Yough at various spots. I do know that there are signs that state swimming the rapids is not allowed.
Can you please provide evidence that
swimming naked in a national park is legal?
All the campspots along the potomac are on
the water, and have near beaches. Also the
Canal has some good water, some nasty
standing water. some good bridges to jump
Not much between cumberland and confluence
from what I remember.
there is no federal statue prohibiting nudity in federal parks. however to be more clear, state and local laws may prohibit this. a quick google search brought up this.
When I did the roudn trip, I swam at Connellesvilles, ohiopyle, Yough reservoir,under the bridge east of the Pinkerton tunnel, and in the Potomac (forget exactly where). More than one of the places I swam nude.
I took a swimsuit – but I’m late-50’s and overweight, so a speedo is actually more obscene than the modesty of nudity, so it was a fairly heavy one.
The C&O, for the most part, holds no temptation for swimmers.
As far as I know, there’s no federal statute prohibiting nudity on Main Street in Baltimore either. Such laws are all at the state or local level.
So there’s nothing special about federal parks in that regard. For the C&O, check Maryland law.
Of course, your risk of being observed and arrested is likely greater if you’re nude in downtown Baltimore.
“under the bridge east of the Pinkerton tunnel”
Yeah, that’s the one I usually swim.
Smithton Beach and Ohiopyle are popular swimming spots. Cedar Park may have a no swimming rule but that dont stop me. Swimming is against rules on C and O canal. I talked to trail patrol volunteer last year at a C and O campsite. And there is 1 swimming pool next to G.A.P. trail.
“Swimming is against rules on C and O canal.”
Considering the size of the snapping turtles I saw down there, it’s understandable.
Pshaw. I didn’t see any turtles dredging it out back in the day. So they’re scofflaw squatters, too.
Back when I was a young canal dredger, back arounmd 1830, I don’t recall seeing any ‘bents in the workforce.
Turtles vs. 19th Century recumbents. Clearly this needs it’s own thread.
It’s not exactly swimming, but if you’ve never been to the natural waterslides in Ohiopyle along Meadow Run (about a mile south of Ohiopyle town near where SR 2010 meets route 381), check ’em out.
The rivers are cold this time of year. They’re at their warmest in late summer, I guess.
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