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 trail 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. 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 is nearly level with the average grade of less than 1% . It has a packed crushed limestone surface for a smooth ride.
Built mainly on abandoned rail beds. 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.
"Easier than it looks!"
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.
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.
(Reflections at Snyders Landing mm 76.9)
(Paw Paw tunnel mm 155.2 - 155.8)
(White's Ferry mm 35.5)