Great Allegheny Passage In Maryland

Here is everything you need to know about the Great Allegheny Passage:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Maryland
  • Length: 150 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile long trail that stretches from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. The history of this trail dates back to the early 19th century when it was initially developed as a transportation route to connect the Ohio River Valley with the Chesapeake Bay. The construction of the trail began in the 1830s as part of the ambitious plan to build the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O).

The B&O Railroad was the first long-distance railroad in the United States, and the GAP served as a crucial link in its route. The construction of the railroad involved blasting through mountains, building bridges, and laying tracks, which was an engineering feat at the time. The trail was primarily used to transport coal, timber, and other goods from the rich natural resources of western Pennsylvania to the markets in the east.

However, with the advent of more efficient transportation methods, such as trucks and highways, the B&O Railroad and the C&O Canal gradually declined in importance. By the mid-20th century, the rail line was abandoned, and the canal fell into disrepair. Recognizing the historical significance and potential recreational value of the route, efforts were made to convert the abandoned rail line into a multi-use trail.

In the 1980s, the Allegheny Trail Alliance, a coalition of trail organizations, began working on the development of the Great Allegheny Passage. The project involved clearing the overgrown rail line, constructing bridges, and improving the trail surface. Over the years, the GAP has been transformed into a popular recreational trail, attracting hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts from around the country. Today, the Great Allegheny Passage stands as a testament to the region’s industrial heritage and offers a unique opportunity to explore the scenic beauty and history of the Appalachian Mountains.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The Great Allegheny Passage starts at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River.

2. Homestead, Pennsylvania: This access point is located near the Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead, just a few miles southeast of downtown Pittsburgh.

3. McKeesport, Pennsylvania: McKeesport is a city located about 12 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The trailhead is near the McKeesport Marina.

4. Boston, Pennsylvania: This access point is located in the small town of Boston, about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

5. Connellsville, Pennsylvania: Connellsville is a city located about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The trailhead is near the Youghiogheny River and offers parking and amenities.

6. Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania: Ohiopyle State Park is a popular access point for the Great Allegheny Passage. It is located about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and offers camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

7. Confluence, Pennsylvania: Confluence is a small town located at the confluence of the Youghiogheny River and Casselman River. The trailhead is near the town center.

8. Rockwood, Pennsylvania: Rockwood is a small town located about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The trailhead is near the Rockwood Mill Shoppes & Opera House.

9. Meyersdale, Pennsylvania: Meyersdale is a borough located about 110 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The trailhead is near the Meyersdale Train Station, which also serves as a visitor center.

10. Frostburg, Maryland: Frostburg is a small city located about 130 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The trailhead is near the Frostburg Depot, which houses a museum and visitor center.

11. Cumberland, Maryland: The Great Allegheny Passage ends in Cumberland, Maryland. The trailhead is near Canal Place, which offers parking, amenities, and access to the C&O Canal Towpath.

Transportation Available

1. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with a station in Cumberland, MD.
2. Greyhound – Intercity bus service with a stop in Cumberland, MD.
3. Pittsburgh International Airport – Major airport serving the Pittsburgh area, located approximately 30 miles from the Great Allegheny Passage.
4. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in the region.
5. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in the region.
6. Mountain Maryland Transit – Local bus service operating in Allegany County, MD.
7. Trail Town Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to cyclists and hikers along the Great Allegheny Passage.
8. Bike Rental Shops – Various bike rental shops located along the Great Allegheny Passage for convenient access to bicycles.
9. Car Rental Agencies – Multiple car rental agencies available in nearby cities such as Cumberland, MD, and Pittsburgh, PA.
10. Taxi Services – Local taxi companies providing transportation services in the area.


The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile long trail that stretches from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along the trail, there are several amenities available for visitors. Here is a list of amenities commonly found along the Great Allegheny Passage:

1. Restrooms: There are restrooms available at various points along the trail, including trailheads, visitor centers, and some towns along the route.

2. Parking: Parking areas are available at trailheads and access points along the Great Allegheny Passage. These parking areas provide a convenient starting point for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: There are designated camping areas along the trail where visitors can set up tents or use camping facilities. Some popular camping sites include the Husky Haven Campground, Roundbottom Campground, and Ohiopyle State Park.

4. Picnic Areas: Scattered along the trail, there are picnic areas where visitors can take a break, enjoy a meal, or have a picnic. These areas often have tables, benches, and sometimes grills.

5. Water Stations: There are water stations available at various points along the trail, allowing visitors to refill their water bottles or hydration packs.

6. Bike Rentals: In some towns along the Great Allegheny Passage, bike rental shops are available. These shops offer a variety of bicycles for rent, including mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and electric bikes.

7. Bike Repair Stations: Along the trail, there are bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps. These stations are useful for minor bike repairs or adjustments.

8. Visitor Centers: There are visitor centers located at certain points along the trail, such as Ohiopyle State Park and Cumberland Visitor Center. These centers provide information about the trail, maps, exhibits, and sometimes restrooms.

9. Food and Beverage: There are restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores located in towns along the trail where visitors can grab a meal or purchase snacks and drinks.

10. Lodging: In some towns along the Great Allegheny Passage, there are lodging options available, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. These accommodations provide a place to stay for those looking to explore the trail over multiple days.

It’s important to note that amenities may vary along different sections of the trail, so it’s advisable to check specific locations and plan accordingly.

Nearby Services

1. Yough Plaza Motel – Convenient lodging option near the Great Allegheny Passage.
2. Falls City Pub – Local pub offering food services along the Great Allegheny Passage.
3. Confluence House Bed & Breakfast – Charming B&B providing lodging near the trail.
4. Lucky Dog Cafe – Casual eatery serving food along the Great Allegheny Passage.
5. Rockwood Mill Shoppes & Opera House – Historic lodging and dining establishment in Rockwood.
6. Ohiopyle House Cafe – Cozy cafe offering food services near the Great Allegheny Passage.
7. Morguen Toole Company – Unique lodging and dining experience in Meyersdale.
8. Husky Haven Campground – Campground providing lodging options near the trail.
9. Frostburg Palace Theatre – Historic theater offering lodging and entertainment in Frostburg.
10. Garrett 8 Cinemas – Movie theater providing lodging and entertainment options in Garrett.

Great Allegheny Passage Difficulty Notes

The Great Allegheny Passage offers a moderate difficulty level for cyclists and hikers. The trail spans approximately 150 miles, starting from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ending in Cumberland, Maryland. While the trail is mostly flat and follows old railroad beds, there are some sections with gradual inclines and descents, particularly when crossing the Eastern Continental Divide. These sections may require some extra effort, but overall, the trail is well-maintained and suitable for riders and walkers of various fitness levels. Additionally, the trail provides stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including rivers, forests, and charming small towns, making the journey both physically rewarding and visually captivating.

Features And Attractions

1. Point State Park – Located in Pittsburgh, this park marks the official start of the Great Allegheny Passage. It offers stunning views of the city’s skyline and the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers.

2. Fort Pitt Museum – Situated within Point State Park, this museum showcases the history of the French and Indian War and the role of Fort Pitt in the region’s history.

3. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail – This trail runs along the rivers in Pittsburgh and offers beautiful views of the city’s skyline, bridges, and waterfront.

4. The Hot Metal Bridge – This former railroad bridge has been converted into a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, providing panoramic views of the Monongahela River and the city.

5. Ohiopyle State Park – Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, this park is a popular destination along the Great Allegheny Passage. It features stunning waterfalls, including the famous Ohiopyle Falls, as well as hiking trails, whitewater rafting, and camping opportunities.

6. Fallingwater – Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater is a must-visit site near Ohiopyle. This iconic house is built over a waterfall and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture.

7. The Salisbury Viaduct – This impressive railroad bridge spans the Casselman River Valley and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

8. The Big Savage Tunnel – This tunnel, located near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, is one of the highlights of the Great Allegheny Passage. It is over 3,000 feet long and provides a unique experience for cyclists and hikers.

9. Frostburg – This charming town in Maryland is a popular stop along the trail. It features historic buildings, including the Frostburg Depot, which now serves as a visitor center and museum.

10. Cumberland – The endpoint of the Great Allegheny Passage, Cumberland is a historic city with a rich history. Visitors can explore the C&O Canal National Historical Park, visit the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, or learn about the region’s coal mining heritage.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Great Allegheny Passage. The trail offers a diverse range of experiences, from urban landscapes to picturesque countryside, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Great Allegheny Passage but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but motorized vehicles are prohibited.
4. Camping is allowed at designated campsites along the trail. Obtain necessary permits if required.
5. Open fires are not permitted along the trail. Use designated fire pits or stoves for cooking.
6. Respect private property and stay on the designated trail.
7. Do not litter. Pack out all trash and dispose of it in proper receptacles.
8. Hunting and fishing are allowed in designated areas and seasons. Obtain necessary permits and follow all regulations.
9. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
10. Be mindful of other trail users and yield to pedestrians and equestrians.
11. Observe and follow any seasonal restrictions or closures that may be in place.
12. Stay on the designated trail and do not venture off into restricted areas.
13. Follow all posted signs and instructions from trail officials.
14. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing roads or bridges.
15. Bicyclists should wear helmets and follow all traffic laws.
16. Be prepared and carry necessary supplies such as water, food, and first aid kits.
17. Check weather conditions before embarking on the trail and be prepared for changing weather.
18. Leave no trace and leave the trail as you found it, preserving its natural beauty for others to enjoy.

Seasonal Information

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a stunning 150-mile trail that stretches from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. This iconic trail offers breathtaking views of the Allegheny Mountains, charming small towns, and a rich history. The best times of the year to visit the Great Allegheny Passage depend on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in.

Spring and fall are considered the best seasons to explore the GAP. In spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or even horseback riding. Fall, on the other hand, offers a spectacular display of colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque landscape. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time for outdoor activities.

During the summer months, the Great Allegheny Passage is bustling with visitors. The trail is at its busiest, especially on weekends, as people take advantage of the warm weather. This is a great time for families to explore the trail together, as there are plenty of opportunities for picnics, camping, and swimming in the nearby rivers and lakes.

It’s important to note that some sections of the Great Allegheny Passage may have seasonal closures. For instance, during the winter months, certain portions of the trail may be inaccessible due to snow and ice. It’s always recommended to check the trail conditions and closures before planning your visit. Additionally, some amenities along the trail, such as visitor centers, restaurants, and shops, may have limited hours or be closed during the off-peak seasons. However, there are still plenty of options available for accommodations and dining in the nearby towns along the trail.

Overall, the Great Allegheny Passage offers a unique experience throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of fall, the blooming beauty of spring, or the lively atmosphere of summer, there is a season that will suit your preferences. Just be sure to plan accordingly and check for any seasonal closures to make the most of your visit to this remarkable trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trailheads: Multiple trailheads along the Great Allegheny Passage are wheelchair accessible, providing easy entry points for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Paved Surface: The trail is predominantly paved, ensuring a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available at various points along the trail, providing accessible facilities for all visitors.
4. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available at trailheads and other key locations, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Wheelchair-accessible picnic areas are provided along the trail, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor dining and relaxation.
6. Accessible Camping Facilities: Campgrounds along the Great Allegheny Passage offer accessible facilities, including campsites, restrooms, and showers, catering to individuals with disabilities.
7. Accessible Lodging Options: Nearby lodging options offer accessible rooms and facilities, ensuring comfortable accommodations for visitors with disabilities.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available at various points along the trail, providing hydration options for all users.
9. Accessible Interpretive Signs: ADA-compliant interpretive signs are placed along the trail, offering accessible information and educational opportunities for all visitors.
10. Accessible Transportation Options: Various transportation services, such as accessible shuttles or bike rentals, are available to assist individuals with disabilities in accessing and enjoying the Great Allegheny Passage.

Safety Information

When visiting the Great Allegheny Passage, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Be prepared: Before embarking on your journey, ensure that you are physically fit and have the necessary equipment, such as a well-maintained bicycle, helmet, water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.

2. Follow traffic rules: The Great Allegheny Passage is a multi-use trail, so it is essential to follow the designated rules and regulations. Stay on the right side of the trail, pass on the left, and yield to pedestrians. Observe and obey all posted signs and signals.

3. Stay alert and aware: Keep your attention focused on the trail and your surroundings. Be cautious of other trail users, including cyclists, walkers, joggers, and wildlife. Avoid distractions such as headphones or excessive phone use.

4. Share the trail: The Great Allegheny Passage is a popular trail, so be considerate and share the space with others. Communicate your intentions, use hand signals when turning or stopping, and give audible warnings when passing.

5. Be cautious at road crossings: The trail intersects with roads at various points. Approach road crossings with caution, obey traffic signals, and yield to vehicular traffic. Look both ways before crossing and make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.

6. Stay hydrated and nourished: Carry enough water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized throughout your journey. It is crucial to stay properly fueled, especially during long rides or hikes.

7. Dress appropriately: Dress in layers and wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Consider wearing bright or reflective clothing to enhance your visibility, especially during low-light conditions.

8. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit, a cell phone, and emergency contact information. Familiarize yourself with the trail’s access points and nearby facilities in case of any emergencies.

9. Respect nature and wildlife: The Great Allegheny Passage passes through beautiful natural landscapes. Respect the environment, do not litter, and leave no trace. Avoid approaching or feeding wildlife, as it can be dangerous for both you and the animals.

10. Plan your trip and inform others: Before setting out, inform someone about your itinerary, including your starting point, destination, and estimated time of return. This ensures that someone knows your plans and can alert authorities if necessary.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when visiting any outdoor recreational area. By following these guidelines, you can have an enjoyable and safe experience on the Great Allegheny Passage.

Conservation Notes

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile long trail that stretches from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a significant part of the larger trail network known as the Great American Rail-Trail, the conservation status of the Great Allegheny Passage is of utmost importance. The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, including forests, rivers, and historic sites, making it a valuable resource for both recreational activities and conservation efforts.

The conservation status of the Great Allegheny Passage is generally considered to be in good condition. The trail is managed by a partnership between the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the National Park Service, and various state and local agencies. These organizations work together to ensure the preservation and maintenance of the trail, as well as the surrounding natural and cultural resources.

Efforts have been made to protect and restore the biodiversity along the Great Allegheny Passage. The trail passes through several protected areas, including the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site. These areas provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, some of which are considered rare or threatened. Conservation initiatives focus on maintaining the integrity of these habitats, controlling invasive species, and promoting the restoration of native vegetation.

Additionally, the Great Allegheny Passage serves as a corridor for wildlife movement, allowing for the conservation of species that rely on large, connected habitats. The trail is designed to minimize its impact on wildlife, with measures such as wildlife crossings and designated sensitive areas. Conservationists also work to educate trail users about the importance of respecting and protecting the natural environment, encouraging responsible behavior and minimizing disturbances to wildlife and their habitats.

Overall, the conservation status of the Great Allegheny Passage is a testament to the collaborative efforts of various organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Through ongoing conservation initiatives, the trail continues to provide a valuable recreational resource while safeguarding the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the areas it traverses.

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