Point Made – The Great Allegheny Passage completes its journey

By Adam Newman and Jon Pratt

We’ve written about the Great Allegheny Passage trail a number of times, after all, it’s right in our own backyard (read some here and here). This past weekend the GAP celebrated its completion, connecting downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and beyond to Washington D.C. via the C&O Canal Towpath.

The trail was, of course, once a railroad, but when it was sold by the Western Maryland Railroad in the 1970s, new ideas began to sprout. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased a 26-mile stretch of railroad between Connellsville and Confluence in 1978. The 9-mile trail from Ohiopyle to Ramcat opened in 1986. People loved it. By 2001 the corridor had an official name: The Great Allegheny Passage. 

Countless individuals and several local advocacy groups and sponsors along the corridor have worked for more than three decades to make it happen, and finally on June 15, 2013, the trail reached Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. 

To celebrate, Bicycle Times photographer Jon Pratt made the trek from Washington to Pittsburgh and documented his journey: 

 

The Great Falls On The Potomac River, 15 Miles Outside Of Washington, D.C.

 

The Desert Rose Cafe in Williamsport, Maryland, is a great, bicycle-friendly place to grab a bite to eat. We were happy to get out of the rain and mud.

The Paw Paw Tunnel is one of the most famous, and darkest, spots along the C&O Canal Towpath. 

In Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Canal ends and the Great Allegheny Passage begins.

 

After the more than 20 mile climb out of Cumberland, you’re rewarded with spectacular views from Big Savage Mountain.

It’s nice to know it’s all downhill from here!

Crossing the Salisbury Viaduct—1,908 feet spanning the Casselman River Valley outside Meyersdale, Pa.

 

Naturally we stopped at the Wilderness Voyageurs’ Beer And Gear Festival In Ohiopyle, Pa.

The Roundbottom Campground has plenty of trees for hammocks, and even a few shelters to sleep in.

 

The final stretch that needed attention was a few hundred yards near the Sandcastle water park. Now it is paved and the point is made! 

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