Great Allegheny Passage

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Great Allegheny Passage
Allegheny Passage.JPG
Length150 mi (240 km)
LocationWestern Pennsylvania and Maryland
TrailheadsCumberland, 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
UseHiking, cycling
Elevation changewestern: 1,066 feet (325 m);
eastern 1,786 feet (544 m)
Highest pointEastern Continental Divide just east of Deal, Pennsylvania, 2,392 ft (729 m)
Lowest pointeast end: 606 feet (185 m) at Cumberland, Maryland;
west end: 720 feet (220 m) at Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Grade2% maximum
Hiking details
Trail difficultyEasy
HazardsSevere weather, Traffic (Pittsburgh)
SurfaceCrushed limestone
Right of wayBaltimore 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) is a rail trail system in Maryland and Pennsylvania—the central trail of a network of long-distance hiker-biker trails throughout the Allegheny region of the Appalachian Mountains, connecting Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It consists of several smaller trails including the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland, the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Pennsylvania and the Youghiogheny River Trail.

The GAP's first 9-mile (14 km) section near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, opened in 1986.[3] The 9-mile (14 km) section between Woodcock Hollow and Cumberland opened on December 13, 2006.[4] In June 2013, thirty-five years after construction first began, the final GAP section was completed (from West Homestead to Pittsburgh) at an overall cost of $80 million[5] and gave Pennsylvania the "most open trail miles in the nation"[6] (900 miles, with 1,110 miles under development).[7] The completion project was titled The Point Made, because it was now possible to reach Point State Park in Pittsburgh from Washington, D.C. Celebrations took place on June 15, 2013.

The multi-use trail, suitable for biking and walking, uses defunct corridors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Union Railroad and the Western Maryland Railway—extending 150 miles (240 km) from Cumberland, Maryland to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, and includes the 52-mile (84 km) branch (Montour Trail) to the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Completing a continuous, non-motorized corridor from Point State Park 335 miles (539 km) to Washington, D.C., the GAP connects with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath trail, which runs 184.5 miles (296.9 km) between Cumberland and Washington, D.C.

The Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA)—a coalition of seven trail organizations related to the GAP (Friends of the Riverfront, Steel Valley Trail, Regional Trail Corporation, Ohiopyle State Park, and Mountains Maryland) maintains the 150–mile GAP, which is also a segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, one of eight nationally designated scenic trails.[8]

The trail's formal name, the Great Allegheny Passage, was selected in 2001 by the ATA "after six years and more than 100 proposals" as "a name evocative of the geography and historical heritage" of the trail,[7] having been suggested by Bill Metzger, editor of the ATA newsletter.[7] The trail used a temporary name, the "Cumberland and Pittsburgh Trail", before its official name was adopted.[7] The second runner-up title for the trail was the "Allegheny Frontier Trail".[7]


The route is traversed by "through-travelers" including hikers, backpackers and cyclists—in portion or entirety. Notable landmarks along the trail include:

The Great Allegheny Passage in fall view of wind turbines
View of gorge from bike path
Ohiopyle Low Bridge, part of the Great Allegheny Passage


Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland[edit]

Allegheny Highlands Trail of Pennsylvania[edit]

Youghiogheny River Trail[edit]

Youghiogheny River Trail
Length71 mi (114 km)
LocationAllegheny / Fayette / Westmoreland counties, Pennsylvania, USA
Designation USBR 50
BicyclePA Route S
National Scenic Trail
TrailheadsConfluence, Pennsylvania
McKeesport, Pennsylvania
UseHiking, Biking
Hiking details
HazardsSevere Weather
SurfaceCrushed limestone
Trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence
Trail crosses river at Ohiopyle
Dravo Cemetery and Campground at mile post 25 on the Youghiogheny River Trail
Trail through McKeesport, Pennsylvania

The Yough River Trail is a non-motorized multi-use rail trail that stretches 71 miles (114 km) between McKeesport and Confluence, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Great Allegheny Passage that allows cyclists to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. The north section of the trail runs 43 miles (69 km) between McKeesport and Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and the south section runs 28 miles (45 km) between Connellsville and Confluence.

It is named after and runs along the Youghiogheny River. The trail surface is composed of crushed limestone.

Along the trail are scenic points and fishing opportunities. The route forms a part of U.S. Bicycle Route 50 and BicyclePA Route S.

Access areas[edit]

There are 9 access areas[11] on the Yough River Trail, all are free of charge; only the Cedar Creek Access Area offers secure overnight parking.

Access Area Name Town Name Amenities/Information
McKeesport McKeesport, PA
Boston Elizabeth Township, PA Parking for 100 vehicles, sanitary toilets, and drinking water
Buena Vista Elizabeth Township, PA Parking for 16 vehicles, sanitary toilets, picnic pavilion, cooking grill, and boat launch
Sutersville Sutersville, PA Parking for 32 vehicles, sanitary toilets
West Newton West Newton, PA Parking for 44 cars, sanitary toilets, visitor center, drinking water, bike racks
Cedar Creek Park Rostraver Township, PA Parking for 150 cars, sanitary toilets, bike rentals, food concession
Smithton South Huntingdon Township, PA
Whitsett Perry Township, Fayette County, PA Parking for several cars, sanitary toilets
Connellsville Connellsville, PA Parking for several cars, sanitary toilets, drinking water

Overnight use[edit]

Overnight use on the YRT is restricted to designated campgrounds, these are free-of-charge and can be only one (1) night. All designated campgrounds are equipped with a sanitary toilet (SST), fire grates, and designated tent pads.[12]

Camping Areas are as follows:

  • Dravo Landing Cemetery / Queen Aliquippa Campsite - located 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Boston Access Area and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of the Buena Vista Access Area. This campground has two Adirondack shelter, fire rings and has a drinking water supply via a well, that is safe for drinking purposes. Several Boy Scout Groups constructed the area as their Eagle Scout projects.
  • Cedar Creek Trekker Campground - is located at the southernmost end of Cedar Creek Park in Westmoreland County. This area also has three Adirondack shelters and has a piped water supply.
  • Round Bottom Campsite - is located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of the Layton Tunnel and 5 miles north of the Dickerson Run Yard. There are two Adirondack shelters and a hand pump water supply at this location.
  • Stewart's Crossing Campsite - is located behind Martin's Food supermarket in Connellsville. There are four Adirondack shelters and areas for tents as well as a piped water supply. No campfires allowed here unlike the others but there is a charcoal grill.
Allegheny Mountains along the trail route

Steel Valley Trail[edit]

Eliza Furnace Trail[edit]

This is also known as the Jail Trail.

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. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. ^ "BikeHacks - Your Home for Everything Biking".
  3. ^ Thomson, Candus (December 13, 2006). "Trail's opening eyed as path to prosperity". The Baltimore Sun. p. 2. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  4. ^ "New bike path portion open for business in Maryland". The Washington Times. December 15, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
  5. ^ Jones, Diana Nelson (June 15, 2013). "Riders hit trail as last link in Great Allegheny Passage opens". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ Jones, Diana Nelson (June 16, 2013). "Bicyclists celebrate reaching end of Great Allegheny Passage trail". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. ^ a b c d e Hopey, Don (January 18, 2001). "150-mile bike trail dubbed the Great Allegheny Passage". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail". National Park Service. December 5, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  9. ^ Schmitz, Jon (September 15, 2013). "Repairs to begin Monday at trail landslide near Kennywood". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Walsh, Larry (August 29, 2015). "Biking: Pinkerton Tunnel to reopen for bicyclists in mid-September". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. ^ YRT Access Areas
  12. ^ YRT Camping

External links[edit]