Nice Allegheny Passage Bike Trip

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The 150-mile lengthy Nice Allegheny Passage additionally known as the GAP follows a non-motorized crushed limestone path from Cumberland, Maryland to downtown Pittsburgh. It may be explored on each bike and on foot however I believe a Nice Allegheny Passage bike journey is the way in which to go over a 3 – 4 day trip. It combines effectively with the C&O Canal Towpath that runs between Cumberland, Maryland and Washington, DC. When you’ve received per week, you possibly can cycle between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, both guided, or self-supported. There are B&B’s, accommodations and different lodging choices alongside the route and plenty of locations to camp.

The path owes its existence to quite a few defunct rail strains; the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, the Western Maryland Railway, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Because of the rail strains there may be now a wonderful path, some tunnels, and entry to many small cities. 

Over the size of the Nice Allegheny Passage, you bike alongside three rivers – the Cassleman, Youghiogheny, and the Monongahela River. The path although gradual, tops out on the Japanese Continental Divide at 2,392 ft. It crosses the Mason and Dixon Line, lower’s throughout fairly Ohiopyle State Park, takes you thru the Pinkerton and Large Savage Tunnels, and onto the Keystone Viaduct. Level State Park in Pittsburgh – our place to begin, gives panoramic views the place the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. There are quite a few small path cities alongside its size the place you possibly can cease for the evening or get one thing to eat. 

You’ll discover it’s straightforward to hire a motorbike or a shuttle and there’s even good prepare service between Cumberland and Pittsburgh. Signage is superb and there’s loads of parking alongside the route.

The Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip is an area favorite, however it additionally attracts bikers from all around the United States and as much as 40 nations yearly, with roughly 1,000,000 visits on an annual foundation. Don’t let that quantity put you off because the bike season is lengthy and the path covers 150 miles. The one time we noticed plenty of folks – and it was on a sunny weekend, was in Ohiopyle State Park. 

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One of the amazing properties we passed on the Great Allegheny Passage bike ride
One of many wonderful properties we handed on the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip

Location map of the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip

                                                             

  • Click on on the three dots within the prime proper hand nook to e mail a replica of the map.

What’s the greatest time to do the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip?

Plan a motorbike trip on the Nice Allegheny Passage from late April via until October. Savage Tunnel is closed yearly from December 1 – March 31 in order that guidelines out biking in winter. We biked in early Could which was implausible. The leaves have been budding out on the timber, wildflowers have been in all places, and the chook life was out of this world. The path continues to be quiet in Could, so it’s simpler to get lodging. However eating places and companies are open.

The climate is fickle early within the season however over 7 days we solely had 5 hours of rain. When you’re planning to camp, there can be fewer bugs early and late within the season. The summers are scorching and humid on this a part of the world, so take that into consideration as you make your plans.

Beautiful wildflowers if you do the Great Allegheny bike ride in May
Lovely wildflowers when you do the Nice Allegheny bike trip in Could

Guided or self-guided?

There are a number of firms providing bike leases, shuttles, and totally guided bike excursions. John and I did some analysis and elected to go self-guided (the GAP could be very straightforward to observe as soon as out of Pittsburgh) and selected to e-book our personal lodging alongside the route somewhat than camp. We carried all our gear in waterproof bike panniers.

The one main drawback we had was a damaged chain. It broke 55 miles from the tip of our weeklong journey (as we did the C&O Canal Towpath too). We didn’t have the one bike instrument you completely want to repair the chain. Luckily, at a espresso store the subsequent morning in Brunswick, we met two fellow cyclists who had the precise instrument and have been form sufficient to assist. Aside from that, the journey went easily. It did take a while to determine the place to remain, however within the put up I point out the spots we booked. 

A bike repair station in the middle of nowhere on the Great Allegheny Passage
A motorbike restore station in the midst of nowhere on the Nice Allegheny Passage

Tour firms and bike leases to your Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip

Take a look at Wilderness Voyageurs for 3 and 4 day itineraries on the GAP in addition to longer ones that embrace the C&C Canal Towpath.

Golden Triangle Bike out of Pittsburgh runs self-guided excursions between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. In addition they hire bikes and supply a shuttle service.

Noble Invention Bike Touring out of Pittsburgh gives 4, 5 and 6-day self-guided excursions together with bike leases and shuttles.

Wheelzup Adventures gives bike leases and a shuttle service.

Bike the Burgh in Pittsburgh gives bike leases and a shuttle service. We used them and have been in a position to drop our bike off on the far finish of the path in Washington, DC.

John and I starting off at the rental bike shop in Pittsburgh
John and I beginning off on the rental bike store in Pittsburgh

What kind of motorbike do you have to carry?

The Nice Allegheny Passage has a crushed limestone floor so you will get away with hybrid, touring, and street bikes offering you might have tires with tread. The width of the tires needs to be 32 mm or wider for the most effective expertise. 

The bikes we rented were great on the gravel
The bikes we rented have been nice on the gravel

Which route do you have to bike the Nice Allegheny Passage?

I believe the map tells the story. In my view it’s higher to bike from Pittsburgh to Cumberland when you’re solely contemplating elevation. You don’t actually discover a lot elevation change between Pittsburgh and Connellsville however from there till the Japanese Continental Divide, you possibly can inform you’re climbing, regardless that it’s gradual. Bu there’s one heck of a reward once you prime out. The biking could be very straightforward all the way in which to Cumberland. When you’ve received a completely loaded bike heading in the direction of Pittsburgh, you’ll discover the 25-mile climb!

I respect there are different elements that go into the choice on what route to bike, however this labored effectively for us.

Elevation map of the Great Allegheny Trail and C&O Canal Towpath
Elevation map of the Nice Allegheny Path and C&O Canal Towpath

Attending to the beginning of the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip

John and I flew into Pittsburgh as our plan was to hire bikes and drop them off on the finish of the C&O Canal Towpath in Washington. Then we may keep on with our plans to go to associates and fly dwelling out of Charlottesville on the finish of ending the combo of the Nice Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath.

When you fly into Pittsburgh together with your bikes, you can also make your option to the GAP path by way of public transit or by biking. When you’re arriving Monday via Friday, you possibly can take your bike on the 28X Airport Flyer to downtown Pittsburgh. There may be room for 2 commonplace bikes on every bus.

There may be reportedly a 6.3-mile bike route on quiet roads from the airport that ends on the Montour Path. From there you might have two choices.

  1. Bike 43.5 miles, totally on path to satisfy up with the GAP in McKeesport (about 18 miles from Pittsburgh).
  2. Your different choice is to cycle into downtown Pittsburgh by way of an 18-mile street trip to satisfy up with the GAP.

Practice choices

You’ll be able to take your bike onboard with Amtrak wherever there’s a checked baggage choice. The dual brothers we met did simply that. They parked in Cumberland and hopped onboard the prepare to Pittsburgh and loved the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip to complete again at their automotive. You’ll be able to verify schedules to see what different choices there are. They mentioned it was “one of many highlights of the journey.”

I consider Connellsville may additionally supply an Amtrak Roll on – Roll Off choice.

Lodging on the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip

You’ve got fairly a little bit of selection on the Nice Allegheny Passage. When you’re with a tour, they’ll set all of it up for you, so that you gained’t have to provide your nightly lodging a second thought. However when you’re going self-supported you might have two choices – tenting or a roof over your head.

Tenting choice

Get pleasure from free, first come-first served hiker-biker campgrounds alongside the size of the Nice Allegheny Passage. Stays on the campgrounds can’t be longer than an evening. Among the hiker-biker campsites are smaller and the dimensions is restricted to 6 tents.

There are additionally reservation-only campgrounds and a few non-public campgrounds that cost a payment.

The hiker-biker campgrounds are normally easy. There’s a Porta Potty, picnic tables and a fireplace pit. Most are in grassy areas near a water supply. Some just like the Dravo Campground at GAP mile 122.6 have Adirondack-style shelters and firewood supplied – and room for 25 – 30 tents. However most are a lot smaller than that.

In sure seasons I’ve to suppose that the campgrounds can be very buggy. Take insect repellent and ensure your tent has no holes. I like to hold Gear-Assist kind patches so I can simply make a restore on the spot.

Hiker- Biker campground places on the GAP

You’ll discover free campgrounds on the following places: Connellsville – Mile 89.4, Roundbottom – Mile 99.6, Cedar Creek – Mile 110.2 and Dravo – Mile 122.6.

The Dravo Campground at GAP Mile 122.6
The Dravo Campground at GAP Mile 122.6
One of the private campgrounds near West Newton
One of many non-public campgrounds close to West Newton

B&B – Lodge choices

Most cities have some B&B or resort choices however there are numerous locations which are very fundamental. We opted for nicer spots the place that was an choice. I do know some folks booked lodging via Airbnb so take a look at that when you’re having a tough time discovering a spot that meets your funds. I might suggest reserving as near the path as doable as that can be the place a lot of the companies on the town are positioned.

We didn’t keep in Connellsville however there may be a Consolation Inn very near the Nice Allegheny Passage. And the city is a well-liked one for the evening.

Bright Morning B&B in West Newton is just feet from the GAP
Vibrant Morning B&B in West Newton is simply ft from the GAP

A day-to-day account of our bike trip on the Nice Allegheny Passage

Day 1: Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip – Pittsburgh to West Newton

Distance: 34 miles (plus some further mileage attending to the beginning/finish of the Nice Allegheny Passage)

Time: Roughly 4.5 hours with plenty of stops, a detour, and a few route-finding getting onto the GAP in Pittsburgh

Lodging: Vibrant Morning B&B

From Pittsburgh it’s a simple bike trip on the Nice Allegheny Passage to West Newton, however we did discover it complicated to recover from the Monongahela River. As soon as we discovered the bridge with a pedestrian/bike part, it was principally simple. There was a detour via massive field shops parking heaps someplace within the South Facet space however that was as a result of they have been paving – so when you’re studying this, that needs to be completed.

The remainder of the day’s bike trip was simple and extra attention-grabbing than fairly till we received previous McKeesport. The pavement lasted for longer than I anticipated, and thankfully biking on crushed limestone is straightforward. 

There was a whole lot of informational signage associated to the metal business as we left Pittsburgh which we discovered attention-grabbing. The opposite factor that blew us away – each day – was the quantity and number of chook music. My husband would cease and use his Merlin app on the cellphone. The app captures the chook sounds after which let’s you realize who’s singing. It’s fairly addictive however fascinating too. It was particularly helpful since we didn’t have binoculars. 

Our dwelling for the evening – Vibrant Morning B&B – was nearby of the Nice Allegheny Path. It isn’t a flowery place however it’s comfy and it caters to bikers, so there may be plenty of camaraderie that goes with the keep. There are a number of locations to eat on the town together with your greatest wager being The Trailside – strolling distance away.

Biking along the Allegheny River to Point State Park - the official start/end of the Great Allegheny Passage
Biking alongside the Allegheny River to Level State Park – the official begin/finish of the Nice Allegheny Passage
Biking towards Point State Park
Biking in the direction of Level State Park
Colourful murals along the river in Pittsburgh
Vibrant murals alongside the river in Pittsburgh
Me at the official marker for our start of the GAP bike trail
Me on the official marker for our begin of the GAP bike path
Crossing the Fort Pitt Bridge to get to the Great Allegheny Trail on the far side of the Monongahela River
Crossing the Fort Pitt Bridge to get to the Nice Allegheny Path on the far facet of the Monongahela River
We hadn't even left Pittsburgh but had to stop for a latte and to check out this cool area by the Sly Fox Brewery
We hadn’t even left Pittsburgh however needed to cease for a latte and to take a look at this cool space by the Sly Fox Brewery
There was a colourful stretch that went on for some time with graffiti covered trail
There was a vibrant stretch that went on for a while with graffiti coated path
Lots of interesting stops on the Three Rivers Trail as we worked our way out of Pittsburgh
Numerous attention-grabbing stops on the Three Rivers Path as we labored our means out of Pittsburgh
The least interesting part of the Great Allegheny Passage bike ride but good signage and we're on pavement for the first 14 miles or so
The least attention-grabbing a part of the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip however good signage and we’re on pavement for the primary 14 miles or so
We biked for many miles beside railway tracks and over them before getting into the countryside
We biked for a lot of miles beside railway tracks and over them earlier than entering into the countryside
You'll find lots of beautiful places with benches for a stop when you're biking the GAP trail
You’ll discover plenty of stunning locations with benches for a cease once you’re biking the GAP path
When you reach this colourful waterfall (thanks to acidic iron rich waters) you'll be very close to West Newton
If you attain this vibrant waterfall (due to acidic iron wealthy waters) you’ll be very near West Newton

Day 2 Biking the Nice Allegheny Passage: West Newton to Confluence

Distance: 52 miles

Time wanted: 5.5 – 6 hours.

Lodging: Smith Home Inn

Our second day on the Nice Allegheny bike journey wasn’t a tough one, however it was nonetheless lengthy sufficient. The limestone is nice to cycle on however it’s not as easy as pavement, so that you do work a bit more durable. And the load of our baggage added to the exercise.

The spotlight of the day was the biking via stunning Ohiopyle State Park. It’s lush, with plenty of biking near the river. If we’d had the time, it could have been attention-grabbing to see Fallingwater – Frank Lloyd Wright’s home – a brief methods off the path. 

It was a day to benefit from the surroundings and the chook music. We each liked biking over the Ohiopyle Excessive Bridge trying down on the speeding Youghiogheny River. We have been able to put our ft up by the point we reached our stunning lodging for the evening in Confluence. Dinner on the River’s Edge Cafe was the most effective we had on the path in an particularly fairly setting. You may also e-book a room on the River’s Edge.

On the GAP, there are mileage markers every mile
On the GAP, there are mileage markers each mile and we’re counting right down to “0” in Cumberland
There are lots of bike shops either right on the trail or very close by - so I got a quick repair to a seat that wouldn't stay up
There are many bike retailers both proper on the path or very shut by – so I received a fast restore to a seat that wouldn’t keep up
Break time on the way to Confluence
Break time on the way in which to Confluence
Biking through a tunnel of green
Biking via a tunnel of inexperienced
Biking across the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park
Biking throughout the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle has lots of restaurants and places to rent bikes
Ohiopyle has plenty of eating places and locations to hire bikes
You'll see a number of waterfalls in lush forest as you bike through Ohiopyle State Park
You’ll see quite a few waterfalls in lush forest as you bike via Ohiopyle State Park
Lovely, easy cycling towards Confluence
Beautiful, straightforward biking in the direction of Confluence
There's a great big sign announcing that you've arrived in Confluence
There’s an important massive signal asserting that you simply’ve arrived in Confluence
Don't miss dinner with a river view at The River's Edge Cafe in Confluence - our favourite place for a meal on the Great Allegheny Passage bike ride
Don’t miss dinner with a river view at The River’s Edge Cafe in Confluence – our favorite place for a meal on the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip
The lovely Smith House in Confluence
The stunning Smith Home Inn in Confluence

Day 3 Biking the Nice Allegheny Passage: Confluence to Meyersdale

Distance: 30 miles

Time wanted: 4 hours with stops.

Lodging: Levi Deal Mansion B&B

There was no rush on our half to go away our great lodging in Confluence so we lingered over espresso. We solely had 30 miles to bike so how onerous may that be? Tougher than I figured because it turned out, because the grade will increase noticeably from Confluence to Meyersdale. 

Early within the morning we cycled via the 849 -foot-long Pinkerton Tunnel – one thing we each loved. Subsequent up was Rockwood the place we discovered a grocery retailer with a lot pretend meals that it was onerous to purchase something apart from peanut butter and English muffins. We couldn’t even discover actual cheese, so though folks have been pleasant, I used to be homing for increased high quality meals.

The following spotlight of the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip was the 1,908-foot-long Salisbury Viaduct. It’s 101 ft above the bottom so there may be an airiness to the bike trip. And simply after that we sailed into Meyersdale and our beautiful dwelling for the evening with a porch that was preferrred for ingesting wine and studying. For dinner we went to the native Italian spot – Little Italy Trattoria – in an attention-grabbing constructing with common meals however pleasant workers. I perceive the White Home Restaurant in Meyersdale is the place to go – and so they’ll even choose you up. 

Another mileage marker that is significant to the two of us
One other mileage marker that’s vital to the 2 of us
In the unlit Pinkerton Tunnel
Within the unlit Pinkerton Tunnel
Coming out of the 849-foot long Pinkerton Tunnel
Popping out of the 849-foot lengthy Pinkerton Tunnel
By the third week of May the rhododendrons along the GAP should be blooming
By the third week of Could the rhododendrons alongside the GAP needs to be blooming
Biking across the Salisbury Viaduct towards Meyersdale
Biking throughout the Salisbury Viaduct
The train station in Meyersdale
The prepare station in Meyersdale; a lot of them are customer data centres
The porch - perfect for a glass of wine at the Levi Deal Mansion B&B
The porch – good for a glass of wine on the Levi Deal Mansion B&B
Best breakfast on the trail at the Levi Deal Mansion B&B with delicious locally produced maple syrup
Greatest breakfast on the path on the Levi Deal Mansion B&B with scrumptious regionally produced maple syrup

Day 4 Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip: Meyersdale to Cumberland (and effectively past)

Distance: 32 miles to Cumberland (+ 43 miles to Invoice’s Place on the C&O Canal Towpath) = 75 miles + 1.5 miles mountain climbing due to a detour

Time wanted: 2.5 – 3 hours with stops alongside the way in which.

Lodging: Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites is in the beginning of the C&O Canal Towpath and a minute’s bike trip from the end. It’s essentially the most handy place to remain close to the path.

The final day on the GAP was among the finest. After biking throughout the Bollman Bridge, it was a brief climb to succeed in the Japanese Continental Divide. From there it was all downhill to Cumberland for twenty-four miles with the grade getting gentler the nearer we received to the tip of the path.

Large Savage Tunnel was enjoyable to cycle via and the views on the opposite facet of it have been the most effective on the path. We nonetheless had a few shorter tunnels o undergo, a beautiful part of path that curved parallel to the prepare tracks after which a end beside a transferring prepare in Cumberland. 

As soon as in Cumberland we didn’t take the time to congratulate ourselves on ending however as an alternative focussed on getting one thing to eat and getting underway, so we’d end the subsequent 40 miles earlier than a restaurant closed. There will likely be a hyperlink right here to the subsequent a part of the bike trip in a number of weeks’ time. 

You’ll discover plenty of companies in Cumberland however watch out for excessive meals costs across the end space. The remainder of the path was far inexpensive for meals as compared.

In abstract, I’d extremely suggest the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip. It exceeded our expectations with the wonder and the variety of experiences alongside its 150-mile size. 

Biking across the Bollman Bridge on the way to Cumberland
Biking throughout the Bollman Bridge (the forged iron truss bridge) on the way in which to Cumberland
Heading down to Cumberland after crossing the Eastern Continental Divide
Heading right down to Cumberland after crossing the Japanese Continental Divide
Heading into 3,291 foot long Big Savage Tunnel (there are lights but they are dim so a bike light or headlamp is helpful)
Heading into 3,291 foot lengthy Large Savage Tunnel (there are lights however they’re dim so a motorbike gentle or headlamp is useful)
Beautiful views on the far side of Savage Tunnel
Lovely views on the far facet of Savage Tunnel
Crossing the historic Mason and Dixon Line
Crossing the historic Mason and Dixon Line on the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip
Cycling out of the Borden Tunnel
Biking out of the Borden Tunnel
I loved the curve of the Great Allegheny Passage beside the railroad track
I liked the curve of the Nice Allegheny Passage beside the railroad monitor
Meeting up with a couple of twin brothers we'd seen off and on for a few days
Assembly up with a few twin brothers we’d seen on and off for a number of days
Biking past a train as we roll into Cumberland
Biking previous a prepare as we roll into Cumberland close to the tip of the Nice Allegheny Passage bike trip
The end of our Great Allegheny Bike ride and the start of the C&O Canal Towpath - no fist pump since we have 40 tough miles to go
The tip of our Nice Allegheny bike trip and the beginning of the C&O Canal Towpath – no fist pump since we’ve got 40 powerful miles to go

Additional studying on multi-day bike rides

Click on on the photograph to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A 3.5 day bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland



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