Great Allegheny Passage Biking & Hiking
Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania rail trail: industry transformed into recreation.
Great Allegheny Passage biking and hiking is ideal for anyone wanting to blend a "take it at your own pace" adventure with breathtaking scenery and, literally, a journey through history. Little wonder, then, that this Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania rail trail is included in the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
The longest rail trail in PA, The Great Allegheny Passage consists of 150 miles of unpaved converted rail line and is open only to non-motorized vehicles. It stretches south/southeast from just outside Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. There, the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail connects with the C&O Canal towpath, extending all the way to the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C. for a total length of 334.5 miles.
Point Made! June 15th, 2013
special event celebrating the official completion of the GAP
Celebrate the closing of those "gaps in the GAP" as the Great Allegheny Passage rolls into Point State Park for a Grand Celebration at The Forks of the Ohio River.
10:00 am: Ribbon cutting at Sandcastle
11:00 am: Ride from Sandcastle to the Point
1:00 pm: Presentation & Unveiling of the marker at the Point
South Side Rock & Ride at the South Shore Riverfront Park Amphitheater from 2 pm to 7 pm
Wheels at the Waterfront Event Times and Locations:
10 am: Trail Dedication-trail location near Sandcastle---1000 Sandcastle Dr., Homestead, PA 15120
12 noon-10 pm: Pop-Up Party at the Pump House---880 E Waterfront Dr., Homestead, PA 15120
2 pm-5 pm: Pedal Party in Town Center---270 W Bridge St, West Homestead, PA 15120
Gentle and Picturesque
Built in the days when steam was king, this PA rail trail once rumbled with coal trains and heavy freights, and was a key artery of commerce well into the 20th century. Because rail traffic required shallow grades, Great Allegheny Passage biking, hiking or cross-country skiing never faces inclines of more than 2 percent. Recreationists enjoy a smooth, virtually-flat pathway that twists and turns through picturesque peaks, traverses rich, fertile pastures, bridges sparkling streams, spans yawning river gorges, and tunnels beneath tall Pennsylvania mountains. Truly one of the most beautiful rail trails in PA.
Depending on the time of year, Great Allegheny Passage bikers and hikers will be rewarded with gorgeous, sweetly-scented spring wildflowers, towering green forest stands and tufts of wild columbine, a blaze of autumnal red, orange, and gold or the silvery glint of frost and snow on stark winter branches. Always, the air is bracing and clean. Always, the experience is unforgettable.
Rail trail towns along way
All along the Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania rail trail, a series of "trail towns" serve as starting and stopping points…as well as destinations themselves. All offer overnight accommodations and places to eat for Great Allegheny Passage bikers and long-distance hikers. Most offer bike rental and repair shops as well. A stop at any of these Laurel Highlands, PA rail trail towns is sure to enhance your Great Allegheny Passage experience.
Immerse yourself in the Class I-IV whitewater fun and adventure at Ohiopyle State Park.
Experienced outfitters like Laurel Highlands River Tours, Ohiopyle Trading Post, Whitewater Adventurers and Wilderness Voyageurs can prepare you for the level and intensity of rafting that matches your desires and experience levels. They can also rent you bikes during your stay. And after you work up an appetite with all this high-energy activity, be sure not to miss the “good eats” at the Firefly Grill, Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe, and the Ohiopyle House Café.
See charming Victorian homes that have been lovingly restored and transformed into bed-and-breakfasts. Sit on the deck at The Trailside for lunch or a snack and enjoy a beautiful view of both the Passage and the Youghiogheny River.
Experience the Hostel on Main created specifically for trail users. The charming Rockwood Mill Shoppes and Opera House located in a converted feed mill is a fun place to eat a homemade ice cream cone.
See the very picturesque confluence of the Casselman and Youghiogheny Rivers. Bike rentals are available. Many splendid dining and lodging options, including the River’s Edge Café and its accompanying gardens, and The Parker House make this a particularly charming stop.
Visit the restored Western Maryland Railway Station just north of the Salisbury Viaduct. Remember, too, that every March, this town becomes “Maple City,” hosting the Pennsylvania Maple Festival.
Celebrating the Completion of the Great Allegheny Passage!