Now complete to Pittsburgh, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage connects with the 184.5-mile C&0 Canal Towpath at Cumberland, MD to create a 334.5-mile route between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, free from traffic and motorized vehicles. The Montour Branch will, when completed, connect McKeesport to the Pittsburgh International Airport and Coraopolis. The Great Allegheny Passage trail is open daily, dawn to dusk. Click on the trail name to download a printable map of the GAP Trail or the C&O Canal Towpath.
There are chemical toilets at the campgrounds and GAP access areas, but limited potable water, especially since the NPS is no longer treating the pump water at the hiker/biker campgrounds. Carry at least a quart of water more than you think you need. Take advantage of towns along the way for water resupply.
The trail has a packed crushed limestone surface for a smooth ride. Built mainly on abandoned rail beds, the trail is nearly level with the average grade of less than 1%. The steepest eastbound grade - 0.8% - is from Harnedsville to Markleton and Garrett to Deal. The steepest westbound grade is from Cumberland to Deal at 1.75%. Near the Big Savage Tunnel, the trail crosses the Eastern Continental Divide. From that point going east, the trail drops 1,754 feet in 24 miles to reach Cumberland and, going west, it drops 1,664 feet in 126 miles to reach Pittsburgh. View the Elevation Table. The Great Allegheny Passage trail is open daily, dawn to dusk.
From Cumberland to Washington, DC, you drop 625 feet to sea level on the C&O Canal towpath. The towpath is overall much less improved than the GAP, as it was built for mules and not railroads. Be prepared for ruts, tree roots, mud and mosquitos.
Bicycling and hiking are the two most popular activities. In addition, sections of the trail system are open to equestrians. Horses are permitted only on the grassy areas between Boston & Connellsville; Rockwood & Garrett; Frostburg to the State Line. The trail system is universally accessible between dawn & dusk. Winter snow allows cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Fishermen take the trail to favorite fishing spots. Bird watching is another favorite activity.
The Great Allegheny Passage is a non-motorized trail. Vehicles with gasoline powered engines are strictly prohibited. In recognition that some people have special needs, individuals should be encouraged to use the Passage while at the same time respecting the wish for a quality experience for all users. For more detail, please refer to the full policy .
Visitors to the trail: Once you leave the trail and enter into the towns, please respect and regard local traffic. Town streets are not bike trails and cyclists are encouraged (by law!) to abide the rules of the road. You are now a "vehicle" and should proceed single file, with traffic. Stop at stop signs. Don't ride on sidewalks. Be considerate when you chain your bike. Treat the town properties as you would want visitors to treat where you live. View Trail Rules.
When you're traveling with group, please call ahead to the restaurants in our small trail towns so that they will be prepared to serve you in a timely manner, which will ensure that you have a great dining experience.
Walkers and hikers typically average two to three miles an hour; the average cyclists might cover eight to 12 miles an hour. The speed limit on the trail is 15 mph.
Explore the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage!
Cumberland (Mile 0) - Long known as the "Queen City of Maryland", Cumberland continues to build upon its transportation and industrial heritage. It is here at Mile Marker "0" the Great Allegheny Passage meets the C&O Canal Towpath to Washington DC. It is also where the city's central business district and pedestrian mall with its numerous attractions and services are located. Download a town map of Cumberland.
Frostburg (Mile 15) - The City of Frostburg sits on the Historic National Road and its coal industry and the establishment of Frostburg State University played a major role in the city's development. Shops and eateries are located just a few hundred feet up Depot Street hill from the Great Allegheny Passage, and are worth the trip. Download a town map of Frostburg.
Meyersdale (Mile 32) –The “Maple City” hosts the PA Maple Festival each year and is only 12 miles from the Maryland state border, where the trail is downhill all the way to Cumberland. Meyersdale is near thrilling trail features, like the 3,300 foot long Big Savage, and the Keystone and Salisbury viaducts that cross the Flaugherty Creek and Casselman River valleys. Download a town map of Meyersdale.
Rockwood (Mile 43) –This charming trailside community has a small town feel but offers trail services in a big way. B&Bs, bike shop, small restaurants, and camping are all at the trailhead or just in town. The Rockwood Opera House and Mill Shoppes is a former lumber mill and opera house that now houses shops and eateries in a National Register building. Download a town map of Rockwood.
Confluence (Mile 60) –Confluence is a great little vacation community with riverside dining, excellent B&Bs, a lovely town square, and a lot of activity. Annual events like Pumpkin Fest and Old Home Days are full of small town charm. Its location near the Youghiogheny River Lake and its proximity to Ohiopyle State Park make it a hub for outdoor recreationists and families looking for a getaway. Download a town map of Confluence.
Ohiopyle (Mile 72) – The falls and river recreation have made Ohiopyle a tourist destination since the advent of the railroads. Today, Ohiopyle is the headquarters of Ohiopyle State Park, one the most popular state parks in Pennsylvania. Opportunities for whitewater rafting, hiking, and, of course, biking make this town an outdoor recreation destination for over 1.5 million visitors each year. Download a town map of Ohiopyle.
Connellsville (Mile 88) – Connellsville's coke factories once fueled the regional economy and many of the town's buildings, churches, and residences are indicative of this prosperous past. Restaurants, shops, and other attractions encourage trail users to take a break and visit downtown Connellsville. Adirondack shelters at the northern end of the City make this a popular overnight stop for through-riders. Download a town map of Connellsville.
West Newton (Mile 114) – West Newton is a community historically associated with trails. The town's location on the Glades Trail (today Pennsylvania Route 31) brought Native Americans and early European settlers to the area. With the arrival of the train came the commercial Downtown that still characterizes West Newton today. Cross the century old bridge into downtown and relax in the new riverfront park, Simeral Square. Download a town map of West Newton .
Boston (Mile 128) - The Great Allegheny Passage passes through ‘Little Boston’ at a busy trailhead and ballpark. Just short ride or walk north of the ballpark on the GAP is Dead Man’s Hollow natural area, where you can park your bike and hike several miles of woodsy trail. On either side of the Yough River, you can find a number of refreshing dining establishments and shops here and across the Boston Bridge to Versailles. Explore the “Loop” trail between Boston and McKeesport on the opposite side of the Yough.
McKeesport (Mile 132) - McKeesport is at the junction of the Youghiogheny River and the Monongahela, which the Great Allegheny Passage follows to Pittsburgh. In the 1800s McKeesport was home to the National Tube Works, spurring the economic boom along with the rest of the Pittsburgh region. A popular spot in the city is the McKees Point Marina. McKeesport is also a connection to the Clairton Connector of the Montour Trail.
The Waterfront (Mile 140) - This locale along the Monongahela River just a few miles east of Pittsburgh comprises Munhall, Homestead, and West Homestead communities. This development was once the sprawling site for the Homestead Steel Works and now features dozens of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Homestead’s downtown 8th Avenue remains an example of the Victorian-era mill towns that flourished around Pittsburgh.
The South Side of Pittsburgh (Mile 146) - A popular neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the South Side meets the trail on the downtown side of the Hot Metal Bridge. Formerly the site of massive steel mills and residences for its workers, South Side's East Carson Street is now a National Register Historic District and a funky, vibrant hive of shopping, entertainment, and creative activity, while one can access other of Pittsburgh's biking trails by following the waterfront. Recent development in the area has made it a hub for business. For more information check out their Facebook page.
Pittsburgh - Downtown (Mile 150) – Wrapped in rivers, intertwined with trails and packed with parks, Pittsburgh is popping with active possibilities. Bike, walk or inline skate miles of riverfront trails, soaking in fantastic urban views. Bicycle rentals are available along the trail.Begin your Ride of Your Life here, the 335 mile biking experience from Pittsburgh to DC on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. You can plan your trip at VisitPittsburgh! and check out Friends of the Riverfront for the city's riverfront trails and interactive maps. Download a street map of Pittsburgh's route to the Great Allegheny Passage western terminus.
Download the Trail Town Manual and Other Materials
Construction started on the C&O Canal in 1828 and was in operation until 1924 when railroads made canal transportation obsolete. It became a National Historical Park in 1971 and has long been a favorite place for hikers and bird watchers. Now that it is connected to the Great Allegheny Passage, bicycle traffic has increased tremendously. The trail surface is different, with much of the towpath resembling a two-track dirt road. Still subject to devastating floods, the towpath sees capital improvements by the National Park Service every year.