Great Allegheny Passage

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Great Allegheny Passage
GAP MP100 Fall06.JPG
Along the Great Allegheny Passage, near Milepost 100
Length 150 mi (241 km)
Location Western Pennsylvania and Maryland
Trailheads Cumberland, Maryland
39°38′55″N 78°45′44″W / 39.64863°N 78.76210°W / 39.64863; -78.76210
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
40°26′06″N 79°59′46″W / 40.43504°N 79.99611°W / 40.43504; -79.99611
Use Hiking, Cycling
Elevation change western: 1,066 feet (325 m);
eastern 1,786 feet (544 m)
Highest point Eastern Continental Divide just east of Deal, Pennsylvania, 2,392 ft (729 m)
Lowest point east end: 606 feet (185 m) at Cumberland, Maryland;
west end: 720 feet (220 m) at Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Grade 2% maximum
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy
Hazards Severe Weather
Surface Stone dust
Right of way Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
Union Railroad
Western Maryland Railway
Frostburg trailhead, from top of access trail

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), also known as the Cumberland & Pittsburgh Trail, is a rail trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania. It is the central trail of a network of long-distance hiker-biker trails covering hundreds of miles through the Allegheny region of the Appalachian Mountains, connecting Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and beyond.

The multi-use trail, suitable for biking and walking, occupies abandoned corridors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Union Railroad and the Western Maryland Railway. The Great Allegheny Passage extends 150 miles (240 km) from Cumberland, Maryland to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a 52-mile (84 km) branch (Montour Trail) to the Pittsburgh International Airport.

This GAP also connects with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath trail, which runs for an additional 185 miles (298 km) between Cumberland, Maryland and Washington, DC - creating a continuous non-motorized corridor, from Pittsburgh's Point State Park 339 miles (546 km)) to Washington, DC. The Great Allegheny Passage is a segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, one of eight nationally-designated scenic trails.[2]

The first section of the Great Allegheny Passage was a 9-mile (14 km) section near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania which opened in 1986.[3]


The route is popular for "through-travelers" including hikers, backpackers and cyclists traversing portions of the route from destination to destination, or the entire trail from end to end.

Ohiopyle Low Bridge, part of the Great Allegheny Passage. (The Ohiopyle High Bridge, 1/3 mile west along the trail, crosses the river farther downstream and is a popular site for watching whitewater rafters passing underneath.)

The Great Allegheny Passage is the key connecting segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, creating an off-road sight-seeing and backpacking corridor hundreds of miles long. Notable landmarks along the trail include:

Allegheny Mountains along the trail route

Additional landmarks along the C&O Canal portion, which continues past the GAP Trail into D.C. include:

Trail Length[edit]

The Allegheny Trail Alliance is an affiliation of seven trail organizations involved with the Great Allegheny Passage: Friends of the Riverfront, Steel Valley Trail, Regional Trail Corporation, Ohiopyle State Park, and Mountains Maryland. Together they maintain the 150–mile Great Allegheny Passage.

At Cumberland the GAP system connects with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath which is 184.5 miles long. The Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath create a non-motorized nearly 335-mile trail between Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA.


The 9-mile (14 km) section between Woodcock Hollow and Cumberland opened on December 13, 2006.[5] 150 miles (240 km) of continuous trail are now open from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. Currently, the trail is a lane on road from Second Avenue in Pittsburgh to Point State Park. Plans to take that section off road are underway. The Point Made Celebrations took place on June 15, 2013 celebrating the connection to the forks of the Ohio.

The trail passes through the Big Savage Tunnel in Somerset County, Pennsylvania near the Maryland border. The tunnel is closed December 1-April 1 to protect it from seasonal snow and ice.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Meeting Minutes for October 17, 2013, and Report to SCOH October 18, 2013 (Addendum October 28, 2013)" (PDF). Denver, Colorado: Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. October 28, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail". National Park Service. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  3. ^ Thomson, Candus (2006-12-13). "Trail's opening eyed as path to prosperity". The Baltimore Sun. p. 2. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "New bike path portion open for business in Maryland". The Washington Times. 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 

External links[edit]