Explore the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage!
Cumberland (Mile 0) - The "Queen City" is the transportation crossroads of American history. Native peoples traveled the nearby Seneca Trail. General Braddock launched his ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne from here. In Cumberland, George Washington began westward surveying excursions. The Potomac River, C&O Canal, National Road, and the earliest railroads all connected goods and people. It's at Canal Place where the C&O Canal Towpath ends and the Great Allegheny Passage begins. The city's central business district and pedestrian mall feature a lovely farmers' market, restaurants, galleries, and shops. Both bed-and-breakfasts and hotels abound. Don't miss the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, which parallels the GAP for 16 miles along Wills Creek, through the Cumberland Narrows, around Helmstetter’s Curve, and through the 914-foot Brush Tunnel under Piney Mountain. Download a town map of Cumberland.
Frostburg (Mile 15) - This town's historic main street features restaurants, lodging, cafes, and ice cream, located just a few hundred feet up Depot Street from the Great Allegheny Passage, by way of a switchback studded with an array of public art. Frostburg is home to the Thrasher Carriage Museum and its collection of horseless carriages, an exhibit covering the Whisky Rebellion, and a recounting the history of the National Road, all covering two floors of a fully-restored 1930's neoclassical revival building. Frostburg State University's undergraduates make Frostburg the only "college town" along the GAP; FSU hosts the marvelous Appalachian Festival each fall. Download a town map of Frostburg .
Meyersdale (Mile 32) –The “Maple City” hosts the Pennsylvania Maple Festival each spring and is the launching pad for some of the Great Allegheny Passage's most spectacular structures, including the the 3,294-foot Big Savage Tunnel, the curved Keystone Viaduct, and the Bollman Bridge, one of only a few remaining iron trusses in the United States. An inn, a guesthouse, and several glorious B&B's, plus the Meyersdale Historical Society's renovated former train station, make Meyersdale a wonderful stop. The Salisbury Viaduct, high above the Casselman River and neighboring farms, rewards westbound travelers with 360-degree views. Download a town map of Meyersdale .
Rockwood (Mile 43) –This charming trailside community along the Casselman River has a small town feel, but offers trail services in a big way. B&B's, a bike shop, local restaurants, and camping are all close to the trailhead. A former opera house and lumber mill houses a stage for live theater, shops, and eateries on two floors of fascinating architecture, and is on the National Register. When it snows in the mountains, consider cross-country skiing on the GAP, starting at the Rockwood trailhead. Download a town map of Rockwood.
Confluence (Mile 62) –Confluence, named for the juncture of the Casselman and Youghiogheny Rivers with Laurel Hill Creek, is a trail town paradise with riverside dining, two bike/pedestrian bridges, excellent B&B's a selection of restaurants, a bike shop, and a lovely town square complete with a gazebo. Annual events like Pumpkin Fest and Old Home Days are full of small town charm. Nearby Youghiogheny River Lake and Outflow Campground offer picnicking, and Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania, features a fire tower with 360-degree views. Download a town map of Confluence.
Ohiopyle (Mile 71) – Nationally-beloved whitewater on the Youghiogheny River put Ohiopyle on the map, and the hiking in and around Ohiopyle State Park (Ferncliff Peninsula, Cucumber Falls, the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail) makes it one of the most popular destinations in Pennsylvania. Today, the Great Allegheny Passage brings tens of thousands of cyclists to town to ride the original section of the GAP, first built after land was deeded from the Western Maryland Railway in 1978. Several restaurants, four outfitters, and shuttle access to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater make Ohiopyle a favorite stop. Download a town map of Ohiopyle.
Connellsville (Mile 88) – Coal mining and coke production (look for beehive ovens along the GAP west of town) once fueled the regional economy, and many of the town's buildings, churches, and mansions are indicative of this prosperous past, when Connellsville was home to more millionaires per capita than any city in the United States. Today, restaurants, public art, B&B's, a new hotel, and Adirondack shelters at the western end of town, near the Connellsville Arch, make this a popular overnight stop for thru-riders. Visit one of the original libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, or plan your visit to coincide with the annual reenactment of Gen. Edward Braddock's crossing of the Youghiogheny River. Download a town map of Connellsville.
West Newton (Mile 113) – West Newton made its name as a successful paper mill town and today features a row of B&B's facing the Great Allegheny Passage, plus a bike shop and several restaurants. The rebuilt 1905 Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Train Station contains the West Newton Visitor Center, a favorite stop for travelers. In town, across a century-old bridge, Simeral Square offers lovely green space overlooking the Youghiogheny River, and you can find a local brewery and a delicious bakery. Walk through the historic West Newton Cemetery high above the GAP. Download a town map of West Newton .
Boston (Mile 128) - Namesake of the famous New England city, "Little Boston" sits on the Youghiogheny River and sports a busy trailhead next to a local ballfield and a preserved Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad boxcar. Just short distance on the GAP is Dead Man’s Hollow natural area, owned by the Allegheny Land Trust, where you can hike several miles of woodsy footpaths. Cross the Boston Bridge to Versailles and explore the McKeesport Loop trail which parallels the GAP for two miles. On either side of the river, you can find a number of refreshing dining establishments and shops.
McKeesport (Mile 132) - McKeesport is at the junction of the Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers. Home for 117 years to the former National Tube Works, McKeesport's industrial heritage can be seen from the GAP along both rivers. A popular resting spot is the McKees Point Marina, home of a new trailside hostel for thru-riders. An on-road summer side trip takes you to the Renziehausen Park Rose Garden and Arboretum, featuring over 1,200 magnificent rosebushes in every color imaginable. Bike the McKees Point spur to watch coal barges pass. Or follow signs to the Montour Trail via U.S. Bike Route 50.
Homestead (Mile 140) - This community along the Monongahela River was the locus of worldwide steel manufacturing, home to Andrew Carnegie's sprawling Homestead Steel Works. An 1892 strike and attempts to break it by hired Pinkerton agents are memorialized at the Pump House, with tours given by docents from Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. The borough, along with adjacent Munhall and West Homestead, features restaurants and shops along historic Eighth Avenue, and the houses the stunning Carnegie Library of Homestead, the sixth library commissioned by Andrew Carnegie. The Waterfront development, through which the GAP travels, features dozens of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Look for the ladle car that once carried molten steel, at our trailhead at The Waterfront.
Pittsburgh (South Side) (Mile 144) - The Great Allegheny Passage catches Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood (once an independent city called Birmingham) where the trail meets the Hot Metal Bridge. Formerly the site of massive steel mills and residences for its workers, the South Side is know know for Carson Street's funky, vibrant hive of shopping, entertainment, and creative activity. Hotels, cafes, a diversity of restaurants, bike shops and outfitters, and theaters abound. Here, you can pick up the Three Rivers Heritage Trail's South Side path paralleling the Monongahela River.
Pittsburgh (Downtown) (Mile 148) – Intertwined with trails and packed with parks, Pittsburgh is popping with active possibilities. Bike, walk or inline skate miles of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail system, soaking in fantastic urban views in and around PNC Park, Heinz Field, and Point State Park, where the western terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage sits prominently where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers form the Ohio River. Visit the Fort Pitt Museum, the statue honoring Mister Rogers, or the Andy Warhol Museum, all a short walk or ride from the GAP. Download a street map of the downtown route to the Great Allegheny Passage western terminus.
Download the Trail Town Manual and Other Materials