(From the divide, it is a downhill climb all the way to Pittsburgh). There is literally something for everyone. Whitsett (GAP 103.5) also has a historic district that exemplifies the less opulent side of the coal industry. The town re-enacts Braddock’s Crossing each June. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is indeed magnificent. to promote and monitor biking trails in Allegany County, Maryland. Also look for “tree tunnels” between Confluence and Ohiopyle, whose interlocking branches provide shade and needed respite from summer heat. The final stretch of the day is mostly wooded and the sounds of the mad-churning river will accompany you along the way. TrailGuide is the official, authorized guidebook for traveling the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, covering two scenic trails -- and one amazing journey between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.It's packed with mile-by-mile trail descriptions, town maps and directories, and itineraries for day trips, weekends, and thru-rides. The gentle grade and crushed gravel surface makes biking the GAP an easy ride and accessible for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Our Great Allegheny Passage itineraries are designed to give you ample time to take in the sights along the way and experience the region’s natural beauty. The area was first occupied by the Monongahela Indians who tapped maple trees to make syrup. The trailhead visitor center, a replica of the 1910 Pittsburgh & Lake Erie train station that once stood there, is the place to buy GAP merchandise, so have wallet in-hand if you stop in for a gander. The Carpendale Trail straddles the North Branch of the Potomac River between Carpendale in West Virginia and Cumberland in Maryland. Before leaving town, stock up on water and snacks. Visiting the C&O National Historical Park Visitors Museum, in Canal Place, and the Allegany Museum (closed Mondays) are two interesting ways to learn more about this region’s rich heritage. Understanding the challenges of a ride that is ALL on bike path is imperative. The state line is named after an English team (Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon) who were commissioned to survey the boundaries between the Maryland and Pennsylvania colonies in the mid-1700s, ultimately resolving the border conflicts that resulted in the Cresap’s War. They offer creative and tasty lunch and dinner entrees May through October. The next company town you pass, Van Meter (GAP 106), is associated with one of the worst coal-mining disasters in the U.S.: a 1907 explosion in the Darr Mine that killed 239 workers. Below is a sample itinerary for my latest ride from Pittsburgh to DC. View our itinerary on TrailLink to experience the best the trail has to offer. Check Amtrak’s website to learn more about their rules for traveling with bicycles. In the springtime, wildflowers and tree blossoms display their beauty in abundant aplomb—of note are the mountain laurel, generally blooming in June, and rhododendrons, often in full-glory by early-mid July. In the mood for a bit of pampering and a splash of elegance? If not, carry-on less than a mile to the Italian Oven for your choice of salads, pastas and pizzas. The railroad, built in 1883, carried coal and coke from the rich Connellsville District to the Pittsburgh steel mills. Cumberland’s four-block pedestrian mall and downtown is a short walk from Canal Place. Some of the town’s buildings, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are still indicative of this prosperous past. The Great Allegheny Passage ® (GAP) rail-trail offers 150 miles of hiking and biking from Cumberland MD to Pittsburgh,PA. Difficulty Level: Custom Designed for you and your crew! Finally, at GAP 62, you reach Confluence, the attractive town “where mountains touch rivers,” named for its location at the junction of the Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers and Laurel Hill Creek. By now you will either have had your full of crossing bridges or be totally hooked on it and eager for more. Great Allegheny Passage Bike Tour DURATION 6 Day(s) DAILY BIKING 35 miles ... 5 breakfasts, 5 dinners, 6 lunches, all gratuities for accommodations and meals, detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support, hybrid bicycle, and helmet. Now renovated into a shopping and residential district, the historic pump house still remains and can be explored by appointment or by going to the Sunday Heritage Market (first and third Sunday of the month, April-Sept.). The longest multi-use trail in PA, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) stretches from southeast from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. If you need to do any last minute bike maintenance, purchase maps or rent a bike,Cumberland Trail Connection is one of several places that will help you get ready for tomorrow’s cycling adventure. Day 1. Watch out though, you might get recruited for the tough man fire truck pull. Now you are set to amble through the historic streets of Cumberland, still full of mid-19th and early 20th century architectural style-buildings, ranging from Victorian to Greek and Colonial Revival. Also, General Edward Braddock and his army crossed here in 1755, on their way to defeat at the hands of the French and their Native American allies. You are in good hands. TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (a non-profit) and we need your support! Choose your starting town and … The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail connects Pittsburgh PA and Cumberland MD on crushed-limestone-rail-to-trail-traffic-Free cycling bliss. Bike PGH provides maps and the general skinny on this particular urban biking adventure. McKeesport, settled in 1795, was home to more than 55,000 people during the booming steel-making years. Stop for a scenic vista just east of the tunnel. Your final destination is Pittsburgh's Point State Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to create the Ohio River. Sep 28, 2019 - Great Allegheny Passage extends 150 miles through Allegany County. Or, you can load up the bike with everything you need to stay “off the grid” for a few days. Confluence – Connellsville (28 miles; MM 62-88). 2019 Great Allegheny Passage Itinerary. The waterway implied in the name of the Jim Mayer Riverswalk is the beautiful Stonycreek River. Shuttle services will vary, from point-to-point drop-offs, daily shuttling of gear, to on-the-trail bike service if needed. National Tube Works was the major employer and also the world’s largest pipe producer at its peak of production. GAP- 150 Miles of rail-to-trail, crushed limestone surface. This 150-mile trail, running from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traces the paths of railroads that helped build the America we know today. It is also the start of the Great Allegheny Passage and our epic adventure. Amtrak’s passenger train parallels the trail and can transport you and your bike from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. Outfitters Wilderness Voyageurs will take you to and fro and will even store your gear while you are enjoying the tour. Buena Vista (GAP 120) is one such town. Less than two miles beyond the Buena Vista trailhead is the Dravo Cemetery (GAP 122); search for the gravestones that bear the names of nine Civil War veterans and one veteran of the War of 1812. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile trail that leads you beneath leafy green canopy and dazzling fall colors, past hidden waterfalls and glens, chasing glimpses of the river beside you. 2. Notice the multiple doors on some of the buildings; originally, four families lived in each home. C&O National Historical Park Visitors Museum, ArtWorks Connellsville Gallery & Learning Center, Check or FAQs for more common login questions. Be sure to take advantage of their wine shop which sells wine exclusively from regional wineries. There are more than 100 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the majority of which are lavish former residences of coal barons, including that of “Little Jim Cochran.” At GAP 102, the trail stays alongside the river with Perryopolis to your west and Layton across the water to the east. Originally built in 1911 to ship locally-mined coal, the longest tunnel of the trip cuts a lighted 3,300-foot-pathway through the mountain. The trail continues on to the Ohiopyle Low Bridge, a beautiful bowstring truss bridge that takes you to the Ferncliff Peninsula. This popular B&B is located conveniently right off the trail and the owners offer a shuttle service into town. Pittsburgh is known as “Steel City” and the “City of Bridges” (it has more bridges than Venice). As it is built mainly on abandoned rail beds, the trail follows the Youghiogheny River, crosses the Eastern Continental Divide and traverses the ridgelines and valleys of the Appalachian range with an average grade of less than 1 percent. If you are in Frostburg during the September days of the Appalachian Festival, there is a good chance you will be tempted to immerse yourself in the traditional arts, dance, music and food of this region, so plan accordingly. Thats why the word “Great” right there in the name. Plan to stop often to take-in the scenic views of the gorge and its waterfalls; perhaps take a short hike and enjoy the park’s diverse flora and fauna. For 2019 we are hosting two Great Allegheny Passage Bicycling Adventures and one trip along the C&O Canal. From there, you can park your bike (or ride to the top) and take the set of stairs from the depot into town. Native Americans, trappers, British Colonials, cannallers, frontiersmen and railroaders have all used the Cumberland area as their gateway to the West. At one point, Connellsville had the highest concentration of millionaires in the U.S. Confluence Cyclery is just a few blocks away should your bike need some TLC. The trail, also named for a local conservationist,... Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more! Cycling around the city and exploring its diverse “burghs” is a do-able option if you choose to stay here for another day or so. It's about 0.25% uphill to the Eastern Continental Divide, and then about 2% downhill into Cumberland, if you're traveling west to east. Once back on the trail, the distinctive Salisbury Viaduct (GAP 33.5) – a steel trestle that is 101-foot- high and 1,908-foot-long - dominates the Casselman River Valley within a quick 1.5 miles. It challenged the canals in the race to reach the Ohio River, no easy task as the three other existing railroads at the time were no more than a dozen miles long. West Newton is our day’s destination. February 11, 2019 November 5, 2019 thebicycleescape 2 Comments. Connellsville – West Newton (26 miles; MM 88-114). Once a coal patch company town, the majority of Whitsett’s historic structures were built between 1890 and 1917 for the employees of The Pittsburgh Coal Company, and include former dwellings, a company store and water pump house. from Point State Park near Commonwealth Pl. Trail map of the Great Allegheny Passage from Point State Park near Commonwealth Pl. February 11, 2019 November 5, 2019 thebicycleescape 2 Comments. Today, be prepared for another spectacular passage. The Friday after Five series draws lively crowds with its outdoor music and al fresco dining opportunities. Here, two bicyclists pass under an arch of yellow leaves. Two stunning homes designed by the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, are within minutes by car and really shouldn’t be missed, if at all possible: Fallingwater, six miles from town, is his most famous work and Kentuk Knob, a mountain home named after the crest upon which it sits, is nearby. Local history buffs may want to bike back down the trail about a mile to West Newton’s historic cemetery or head downtown, across the river, to the Plumer House (circa 1814) on Vine and Water Streets. Before you get there, you cycle through Pittsburgh’s vibrant South Side and cross the river on the Hot Metal Bridge. Visit the farmer’s market for local goods if you are in Meyersdale on a Wednesday or Saturday morning during the summer months. The word “Passage” was used to equate the experience of the rider to that of a ship “passing” through various ports. There will be some access to the river along the trail and this could be the perfect day for a picnic. First stop should be the Queen City Creamery for a tasty ice cream cone or milk shake pick-me-up. Great Allegheny Passage: One of America’s Most Beautiful Rail Trails. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) was the first long distance railroad in the U.S., breaking ground in 1828. Whiskey-making was a popular cottage-industry into the 19th century, with nearly every farm operating a still. Then get ready to bike the Great Allegheny Passage! Take your time and enjoy. The trail uses the shoofly, adding a scenic 1.5 miles around the Pinkerton horn. Known as the "Queen City of Maryland," Cumberland sits at the base of one of the few passable natural cuts of the Allegheny Front. To visit this restored site, take Layton Road toward Perryopolis and look for George Washington’s Gristmill Park (Saturdays only, May 27-Sept. 2). Just a few blocks from the trail is the Levi Deal Mansion B&B. Beautiful wildflowers pattern the trailside in the spring. As you leave town, turn around to take-in the views of Chestnut Ridge and Laurel Ridge. West Newton (GAP 114) traces its roots to 1788 when a group of American pioneers to the Northwest Territory stopped here to build boats. B&O reached the Ohio River by 1852 and finished the branch from Cumberland to Pittsburgh by 1871. By the time the B&O Railroad was completed, the town of Confluence was bustling at high-speed to keep up with the demands of industrialization, as is true for many of the GAP towns. No camping on this ride...just hotels and B&B's. The trail follows streets in Connellsville’s west side, where you can stay the night at Connellsville B&B and gingerly mosey through La Boheme, a Czech glass and jewelry shop owned by the same proprietors. Just ahead in another four miles is Homestead. The Great Allegheny Passage stretches 150 miles across some of the most beautiful scenery in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Although... Like its name suggests, this is a circular pedestrian and bike trail in Winchester, Virginia. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is indeed magnificent. Available on Amazon or at www.gaptrail.org. Rockwood is a good place to refill your water bottles and stretch your legs. Surrounded by mountains of the Laurel Highlands (some of the highest in Pennsylvania) and next to the Youghiogheny River Lake, Confluence is certainly a draw for the outdoor enthusiast. 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. In 1754, George Washington visited this same confluence of rivers on his way to the forks of the Ohio River. From here until the next town of Rockwood (GAP 43), you weave in and out of woods and farmland, including wind farms. Get off the bike, take a bow and dance a jig to get any stiffness out of your body. Our proposed itinerary takes you on a six-day adventure, traveling east (Cumberland) to west (Pittsburgh) along the entire length of the Great Allegheny Passage. Congratulations! Meyersdale – Confluence (32 miles; MM 31.8-62). Get back on to the Third Street trail and head to Yough River Park which marks the outskirts of town. Follow the river and spend 11 miles in Ohiopyle State Park (beginning at GAP 63) on the oldest and most popular section of the GAP. Cumberland – Meyersdale (32 miles; MM 0-31.8). There are a few bakeries, creameries and restaurants in town, including West Newton Pizza House, a popular pizza joint around the corner from the Plumer House on S. 2nd Street. Twenty itineraries, places to stay, things to see, and how to get back -- it's all in the 248-page official guide to the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage. For 2019 we are hosting two Great Allegheny Passage Bicycling Adventures and one trip along the C&O Canal. 1. We do not recommend cycling to the homes as the roads are not bike-friendly. The surrounding forests provided plenty of material for flatboats, barges and rafts and West Newton soon became a jumping off point for travelers heading west. 35 miles – Downtown Pittsburgh’s Point State Park is our starting point. The Great Allegheny Passage runs 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and is nearly all rail-trail. It was also the site of an 1892 violent confrontation between thousands of striking steelworkers and 300 guards who had been hired to protect the steel company’s interests. Leisurely unpack for your last night on this journey and ponder how to enjoy the rest of your day. Complete the contact form below to get started! Another critical link in the industrialization of America, Homestead was the site of the massive Homestead Steel Works, which operated from 1881-1986. and pick up sandwiches and deli-goodies for today’s picnic lunch. The Cumberland Coast along the Great Allegheny Passage: Bicycling: Wright Ride Along the Great Allegheny Passage: Bicycling: Last updated: April 10, 2015. In mid-October on the Great Allegheny Passage, the leaves have just started to turn. Beginning where the “three rivers” meet in downtown Pittsburgh, the trail meanders alongside the Monongahela and out into the city’s industrial suburbs, once the nation’s top destination for coal and coke barons of the early 1900s. Itinerary. Towns along the way have grocery stores and restaurants but definitely allow room in your panniers for extra water and snacks. A mile before town, you cross the Riverton Bridge which originally provided the rail connection to haul molten iron between the two communities of McKeesport and Duquesne. Oct 19, 2015 - Great Allegheny Passage spans 150 mi. Now you can “sit back” and relax on the gentle three mile descent to your day’s final destination of Meyersdale. 2019 Great Allegheny Passage Itinerary. ... Each traveler made the itinerary for one day. The next and final town of the day, Connellsville (GAP 88), once fueled the region’s economy with its coal mines and coke (non-smoke producing coal) factories. We’ll leave the city and start on the 150-mile rail trail through the former coal-mining and steel-making corridor. Join us for a biking adventure along this famed route as you cross the Mason-Dixon line with local experts who share their knowledge of the rich history and natural resources of the Laurel Highlands. This new tour was a natural progression for us since we have been running bike tours along the Erie Canal for the last 18 years. Refreshed, rejuvenated and back on the trail, you have 7.5 miles to go before reaching the divide. Meet riders in Pittsburgh for our introductory meeting and dinner. A short climb beyond the tunnel, at 2,392 feet above sea level, you cross the Eastern Continental Divide and the boundary between the watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The Alley Door at the Morguen Toole Company might be just the ticket for enjoying some regional cuisine and a flight of beer. You will probably want to eat lunch as well as there are few options between here and Confluence. Allegheny Passage Bike Tour: Rails to Trails bicycling bliss! We love all that this destination has to offer,like traffic free routes and a visit to Fallingwater, and we think you will too! On the way are the Borden Tunnel at GAP 17.5— have your headlights ready as the tunnel is not lighted— and the Mason-Dixon Line at GAP 20.5. The Cedar Creek Gorge walking trail is a 1.5 mile loop that follows the stream up the gorge and across two suspension bridges. There, the Great Allegheny Passage connects with the C&O Canal towpath, extending all the way to the Georgetown district of … Both of these magnificent trails are steeped in history with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) trail offering a more “back in time” experience. You are leaving the mountains now to less dramatic landscapes and a gentler flowing river. Relax, take in the sights and enjoy! The Allegheny Trail Alliance garnered support to restore the tunnel in the 1990s and it was opened to bicycle traffic by 2003. Contact the Park. The Indian Creek Valley Bike and Hike Trail winds through the rugged hills in the former coal-mining region of southwestern Pennsylvania. Here is another fun fact…. Explore the Strip District, less than a mile from downtown, the artful South Side, the historic Station Square and the scenic Waterfront to name only a few. 340 miles of dedicated car-free bike trails between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, makes the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Towpath the most desirable multi-day bike tour in the United States! But not before traversing two more impressive railroad structures that have been converted for trail use— the Keystone Viaduct (GAP 30) and the Bollman Bridge (GAP 30.5)— and leisurely reveling in the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding hills and valleys. Cross the river and spend some time exploring Dawson’s Historic District. George Washington was a landowner here and established a gristmill and distillery. There are many great things about the Great Allegheny Passage. No longer in competition, the railroad bed and the nation’s premier canal towpath—the 185-mile Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O)—now join together at Cumberland to create a 335-mile motorized vehicle-free route from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. The Rockwood Opera House and Mill Shoppes on Main Street houses a café, pizza place and several retail shops. Another alternative is to hire a shuttle service to take you from the Pittsburgh trailhead to the Cumberland trailhead. Look for the replica of the cabin of Colonial William Crawford, a close friend of George Washington. Be on the look-out for the restaurant that is calling your name— there are plenty to choose from. Use Bikabout's cultural guide and map for a slow paced itinerary packed with eating, drinking, lodging and sight seeing tips. Now the longest rail-trail east of the Mississippi River, the GAP showcases tunnels and viaducts, courses along rivers and across mountain passes, and generally astounds with the impressive engineering and back-breaking labor that went into taming the rugged Allegheny Mountains. It can be a relaxed ride with plenty of time for rest days, whitewater rafting, or even a Falling Water house tour. Depending on the day of the week, you could catch some live musical entertainment here as well. Finally ready to stroll? Grab a quick lunch with indoor or outdoor seating available at McKees Point Marina Café (April to October). About this Itinerary. By the time you reach McKeesport (GAP 132), you are halfway to Pittsburgh. Meyersdale, the highest town on the GAP, sits at the confluence of the Casselman River and Flaugherty Creek. It’s also possible to add on an extra night in Pittsburgh at the start or end of your trip to discover the Gilded … But venturing off into one of Pittsburgh’s 89 other neighborhoods is very tempting as each one offers its unique take on dining, entertainment and shopping. This trip is a slower-paced version of the full 6-day tour. It’s also the western terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. But I suspect an early night might be calling to you, so rest up well and prepare for your second day on the trail. There are two railroad tunnels that pass through this neck. If it is a hot day, have your swim suit handy as the area above the falls is perfect for wading and cooling off. Near the depot is the Thrasher Carriage Museum which showcases a collection of horse-drawn vehicles. As you enter town, look for the mural on Main Street that pays homage to Meyersdale’s past as a transportation hub. If fall foliage is in full swing during your visit, you could be in Confluence during the annual PumpkinFest, beginning the first Friday of October. Without a doubt, the Allegheny Passage/C & O Trail ranks as the crown jewel in our nation’s growing network of Rails-to-Trails. One could spend days in the area simply exploring the miles of hiking trails and going to nearby attractions, such as the Fort Necessity National Battlefield (10 miles from Ohiopyle). Pittsburgh’s Cultural District is a 14-block arts scene filled with theaters, galleries and museums. In Ohiopyle (GAP 72), there are eateries, markets, the park visitors center and, not far off the trail, viewing platforms to see the 20-foot-high Ohiopyle Falls (you might even see a whitewater kayakers running it). Turbines dot the horizon near the town of Garrett, giving evidence to the region’s growing energy industry. There is no shortage of ways to celebrate your impressive achievement of cycling the Great Allegheny Passage. 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