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
HazardsSevere weather, Traffic (Pittsburgh)
SurfaceCrushed limestone
Right of wayBaltimore and Ohio Railroad
Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
Union Railroad
Western Maryland Railway
Trail map

147.7 mi
237.7 km
Point State Park
145.3 mi
233.8 km
Hot Metal Bridge
144.2 mi
232.1 km
Pittsburgh, PA
140.5 mi
226.1 km
Homestead, PA
134.1 mi
215.8 km
Riverton Bridge
129.2 mi
207.9 km
Dead Man's Hollow
132.5 mi
213.2 km
McKeesport, PA
128.2 mi
206.3 km
Boston, PA
122.6 mi
197.3 km
Dravo Cemetery
114.1 mi
183.6 km
West Newton, PA
102.2 mi
164.5 km
Perryopolis, PA
88.8 mi
142.9 km
Connellsville, PA
71.9 mi
115.7 km
Ohiopyle, PA
61.6 mi
99.1 km
Confluence, PA
52.1 mi
83.8 km
Pinkerton High Bridge
51.9 mi
83.5 km
Pinkerton Tunnel
51.7 mi
83.2 km
Pinkerton Low Bridge
43.8 mi
70.5 km
Rockwood, PA
36.5 mi
58.7 km
Garrett, PA
33.7 mi
54.2 km
Salisbury Viaduct
31.9 mi
51.3 km
Meyersdale, PA
30.3 mi
48.8 km
Bollman Bridge
29.8 mi
48 km
Keystone Viaduct
23.7 mi
38.1 km
Eastern Continental Divide
22.0 mi
35.4 km
Big Savage Tunnel
20.5 mi
33 km
Mason–Dixon line
17.9 mi
28.8 km
Borden Tunnel
15.5 mi
24.9 km
Frostburg, MD
6.5 mi
10.5 km
Brush Tunnel
0 mi
Cumberland, MD
Frostburg trailhead, from top of access trail

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile (240 km) rail trail between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cumberland, Maryland. Together with the C&O Canal towpath, the GAP is part of a 335 mi (539 km) route between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., that is popular with through hikers and cyclists.


The GAP follows former right-of-way of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Union Railroad, and Western Maryland Railway.

The first section of the GAP—9 mi (14 km) near Ohiopyle—opened in 1986.[3] The 9-mile (14 km) section between Woodcock Hollow and Cumberland opened on December 13, 2006.[4] The GAP was completed in 2013 when the section between West Homestead and Point State Park in Pittsburgh opened.[5] The completion project was named The Point Made, reflecting the fact that it was now possible to reach Point State Park from Washington, D.C. Celebrations took place on June 15, 2013. With its opening, Pennsylvania became the state with the most rail trails—900 mi (1,400 km), with 1,100 mi (1,800 km) more under development.[6]

The overall construction cost for the GAP was $80 million.[7]

The Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA) was founded in 1995 as an umbrella organization for the GAP's seven trail organizations, which include Friends of the Riverfront, Steel Valley Trail, Regional Trail Corporation, Ohiopyle State Park, and Mountains Maryland. Each organization maintains a particular section of the GAP. The ATA was later renamed The Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy.

The original name for the GAP was Cumberland and Pittsburgh Trail. 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. It was suggested by Bill Metzger, editor of the ATA newsletter. The runner-up was Allegheny Frontier Trail.[6]


The GAP's route is composed of several shorter trails including the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland, Allegheny Highlands Trail of Pennsylvania, Youghiogheny River Trail, Steel Valley Trail, and Three Rivers Heritage Trail. The GAP also includes the Mountour Trail, a 52-mile (84 km) branch that serves Pittsburgh International Airport.

Allegheny Mountains along the trail route

The segment of the GAP between Ohiopyle and Cumberland is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, one of eight nationally designated scenic trails.[8]

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

Points of interest[edit]

Notable landmarks along the GAP include:

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 16, 2013). "Bicyclists celebrate reaching end of Great Allegheny Passage trail". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ a b Hopey, Don (January 18, 2001). "150-mile bike trail dubbed the Great Allegheny Passage". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. ^ Jones, Diana Nelson (June 15, 2013). "Riders hit trail as last link in Great Allegheny Passage opens". 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.

External links[edit]