Greater Allegheny Passage
The recently completed, 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage nowconnects with the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland, Maryland to create a 334.5-mile traffic and motorized vehicle-free route between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. The newly opened Montour Branc connects McKeesport to the Pittsburgh International Airport and Coraopolis.
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.
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 mosquitoes.
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 & 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.
Economic Impact Great Allegheny Passage - 2010-2011
- An estimated 750,000 trips on the GAP
- Over $50 million in Direct spending - Up from $40 million in 2008-09
- Average overnight spending $114 - up from $98 in 2008-09
- Average daily spending $17.69 - up from $15 in 2008-09
- 28% Plan overnight Stay
- 82% Plan two or more overnights
- 23% users’ multiday trips
- 40% travel in pairs
- 50.6% of users are between the ages of 45-65
- 14 % Mean Gross Revenue Income that business attributed to the Trail