Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage connects riders with the hidden gems of Pennsylvania’s countryside, as well as its industrial past. Beginning where the “three rivers” meet in downtown Pittsburgh, the trail meanders alongside the Monongahela and out into the city’s industrial suburbs, once the nation’s top destination for coal and coke barons of the early 1900s. Explore the small “patch” towns that fueled the coal industry and ride on the old railroad bed that transported its materials. Pass through the “green tunnel” of Ohiopyle State Park, stand triumphant on the Eastern Continental Divide, straddle the Mason-Dixon Line, and enjoy a 28-mile downward coast (through three rail tunnels!) as you enter historic downtown Cumberland, Maryland.
All with no vehicular traffic! Enjoy 145 miles of history and natural beauty over the course of a four-day tour.
"Getting to know a new group of people is always a highlight. As the trip begins the biggest thing we have in common is our bikes and our interest in touring ... by the end of the trip we discover other interests and even differences that make for a fun and interesting dynamic."
Day 1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 0 miles
Meet your fellow riders in downtown Pittsburgh for a night on the Southside, the city’s most popular destination for nightlife. While on the south shore, consider riding one of Pittsburgh’s famous funiculars (also known locally as “inclines”) up to Mount Washington for an iconic bird’s-eye view of the skyline. Hop over to Point State Park to see the fountain lit up at night, and look across the water to Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, PNC Park, and the recently built tribute to Mr. Rogers, who began his kid-friendly broadcast right in the heart of Pittsburgh at the nation’s first CBS station.
Day 2. Pittsburgh to Adelaide, 57 miles
Begin today’s ride at Point State Park (the official terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage) or ride right out the hostel’s front door along the shores of the Monongahela River. Either way, you’ll soon reach the monuments and suburbs that embody the city’s industrial past and the devastation that followed its collapse. Pass by the site of the 1911 Homestead Strike, and soon after, trade the Monongahela River for the Youghiogheny. As the towns become smaller and smaller, you’ll soon find yourself riding through “patch towns,” built for coal industry laborers and their families. We’ll spend the night within the boundaries of the first patch town built in Pennsylvania, Adelaide, named after coal titan Henry Clay Frick’s wife.
Day 3. Adelaide to Rockwood, 49 miles
Today you’ll get to discover one of Pennsylvania’s hidden gems: Ohiopyle State Park. After leaving Adelaide, we’ll ride through the quaint community park in central Connellsville, which also houses a land surveyor’s cabin built by a close friend of George Washington. On the other side of Connellsville, you’ll enter the “green tunnel” that will transport you to Ohiopyle, crossing over two railroad bridges (one of which sits over 100 feet above the water!) from which you’ll hopefully be able to see some rafters or kayakers in the rapids below. Take the time to visit Ohiopyle Falls and its nearby visitor center, as well as the Meadow Run Slides, which are a fun way to get wet on a hot day. Our campground for the evening will be a short ride through the town of Confluence along the Casselman River to Rockwood.
Day 4. Rockwood to Cumberland, Maryland, 44 miles
We’ve saved the best for last! Today is chock-full of sights to see and downhill miles to ride. After leaving Rockwood, you’ll pass through the quaint town of Meyersdale, the maple capital of Pennsylvania. It’s only a few more miles to the highest point on the trail, the Eastern Continental Divide, and it’s all downhill from there! Pass through the mile-long Big Savage Tunnel to take in the best view on the trail at its end. Begin your cruise to Cumberland by crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, and ride through two brush tunnels before arriving at Canal Place and the eastern terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage. At the conclusion of today’s ride, we’ll shuttle as a group back to Pittsburgh.