Trail Start and End Details
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is an iconic rail trail 150 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since the Great Allegheny Passage opened in 2007, overnight bicycle riders and backpackers have flocked to the 150-mile rail trail in Western Pennsylvania. The welcoming small towns along the route lure travelers with lodging, camping, markets, and dining. Trail users marvel at the awesome scenery along one of the longest rail trails in the United States. The biggest allure might be the ability to travel off-road for 334 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., when combining the GAP with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal Towpath) in Cumberland, Maryland.
The GAP is also part of the September 11 National Memorial Trail that connects the World Trade Center, Flight 93, and Pentagon Memorials. The route mainly follows old rail beds between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, in many cases alongside scenic rivers and streams. There’s a slight but steady grade from Pittsburgh to the Big Savage Tunnel at mile 126; westbound travelers will experience a steeper grade in the 24 miles they have to reach the tunnel from Cumberland. Abundant historical sites from the French and Indian Wars, as well as from the era of Western expansion, can be found.
Description and Tips
This is an incredible trail that can be done in sections. The steepest is from Cumberland, Maryland, up to Frostburg, Maryland. Even at its steepest grade, it’s not very difficult as it follows the railroad. It took us about 2 hours to get to Frostburg and about an hour to go back, as it is all downhill in that section. We loved the scenic views, the train tunnel, and just being in nature. We’ve also ridden sections in Meyersdale, PA, as well as Connellsville, PA. Highly recommended.
There are various camping, lodging, and bathroom facilities along the route, depending on the section.