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“Wonderful and scenic bike ride!”

Great Allegheny Passage Trail
Ranked #1 of 36 things to do in Cumberland
Certificate of Excellence
South Park, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
116 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Wonderful and scenic bike ride!”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

The trail is very well maintained and there are many very scenic places along the way. Ohiopyle is always worth a visit and the Big Savage Tunnel is now lit the entire way. Once you get through the tunnel, you have about 23 miles of downhill past Frostburg into Cumberland. We had rain from Connellsville most of the way to Cumberland and still enjoyed it. I plan to ride it again on a sunny day.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Raymond S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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163 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
129 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Outstanding Rails to Trails ride”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

The GAP is a wonderful and scenic ride along the former Western Maryland RR from PIttsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD. It is now complete all the way to downtown Pittsburgh, but I approached it via the Panhandle and Montour rails to trails, coming in from the west, connecting to the GAP at the Boston bridge, near McKeesport, PA, about 20 miles from Pittsburgh. The GAP parallels the Youghiogheny river until Confluence, PA, then it follows the Casselman River. The railroads historically followed rivers to avoid the steep mountainous terrain on both sides of these drainages. The Baltimore and Ohio RR competed with the Western Maryland and its original right of way (now part of CSX, a very active rail line) parallels the GAP on the other side of the river. You cycle through woods next to the river, but very often you hear (but rarely see through the dense foliage) a freight train grinding up the grade on the other side of the river. Don't miss the waterfall at Ohiopyle, PA. There are some spectacular bridges, including the Salisbury Viaduct near Meyersdale, PA, and the long Big Savage tunnel near the highest elevation at the Eastern Continental Divide. The grade is very gradual to here up from Pittsburgh, then there is a very noticible grade downhill into Cumberland, MD (you cross the Mason Dixon Line state border just after the Big Savage tunnel). From Frostburg, MD down to Cumberland, the original RR was double track. The GAP trail parallels the second track still in use by a scenic railroad train with WM steam locomotive power. It makes daily round trips to Frostburg from Cumberland. I found the uphill side of the Brush Tunnel downhill from Frostburg is a good spot to video the loco emerging from the tunnel belching smoke and steam. There are numerous small towns along the way with restaurants and lodging, as well as several campgrounds. At Cumberland, many bicyclists go on to cycle the C&O Canal towpath N.P. on into Washington, DC, as I did. Being a RR right of way, the grades are not steep (about 2% max), but the surface is not paved. The surface is crushed, hard packed limestone, so you have to expend more energy than on paved roads. Almost any bicycle will do, but to be most comfortable, use wide enough tires (28mm and up, 35-40mm being ideal), and preferably (especially since it rains here often) you will have fenders installed to protect from dirt build up on you and your bike. Based on previous experience, I avoided fenders with too little clearance between the tire and the fender which allows dirt build up to clog and prevent the tire from rotating smoothly. Crushed limestone washes off easily, and clogs can be cleared with a stick, but in wet weather clogged fenders are a nuisance. If you are also going to ride the C&O, this is especially important as the C&O is much less well maintained and a lot muddier. If you want to purchase a commemoratve tee shirt or jersey, the best place to buy is the station at Meyersdale, PA which houses their historical society.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Merrill C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sedalia, Colorado, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“What a Scenic Bike Trail!”
Reviewed October 14, 2013

I drove through Cumberland many times over the years, but I never really saw the scenery until my wife and I biked up the trail to Frostburg in mid October 2013. We traveled a leisurely 15 miles to Frostburg, then 16 miles up and back to the Allegheny summit, then back to Cumberland. The trail is scenic, in excellent shape, and has dramatic of the tunnels. The grade is a uphill for 24 miles to the summit, but easy. We were in rain for three days and the trail stayed in excellent shape as it is crowned properly most of the way.
I recommend strong headlamps of bike lights as the darkness in the tunnels is disorientating when the ground underneath disappears.
We were lucky to get passed by the Steam locomotive on its way to Frostburg on Sunday.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank BBlackie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Wonderful Ride On A Wonderful Trail”
Reviewed October 11, 2013

Our weather was incredible the entire trip - Sept 22nd to Oct 4th - we also rode the C&O Canal Trail into DC. The trail towns are all so accommodating and friendly - they try to make your trip as easy and convenient for you as they can. Beautiful scenery, well taken care of trail.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Threeblacklabs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FT Worth
Level Contributor
89 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“This trail can provide at times, moments of greatness.”
Reviewed October 10, 2013

Recently rode from Confluence to Cumberland with the wife. Did it in late September. Its one of the most beautiful and scenic cycling trails we have been on. We rented road bikes in Cumberland and caught a shuttle for the 62 mile trip back. Along the way you pass waterfalls, tunnels, long bridges and follow the river for countless miles. You are likely to see many types of wildlife as well. The vista lookout on the west side of Big Savage tunnel is breathtaking. The small quaint trail towns of Myeresdale, Rockwood and Frostburg provide services, food and drinks if needed. Next trip we intend to venture out a little further and go from Ohiopyle to Cumberland in a day. I think 71 miles. For a cyclist, in the spring and fall and if you catch the weather just right, this is almost heaven.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Texazstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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