Rails To Trails Conservancy
Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity
shop   |   eNews   |   find a trail
Share this page:
New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is one of America's best known rail-trails, winding more than 135 miles through southern Pennsylvania and just into northwestern Maryland. 

The plan for the GAP has always been to provide a continuous pathway all the way into Pittsburgh. But as popular as the trail has been with all sorts of users, a few short, crucial segments south of the city remained undeveloped.

Now, a huge step has been made toward that goal of bringing Pittsburgh onto the GAP.

This Friday, June 17, a new three-mile section of the trail along the Monongahela River will open to the public, connecting the trail's current northern terminus at McKeesport up to Homestead, Pa.

This extension means that just a single mile of additional trail into Pittsburgh is needed to complete a grand 150-mile route through rural Pennsylvania.

At its southern end, the GAP connects with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park in Cumberland, Md., where the canal towpath follows a 184-mile route all the way to downtown Washington,  D.C. When the final northern mile of the GAP is completed, adventurous cyclists and hikers and users of every stripe will be able to travel under their own steam all the way from Pittsburgh to the nation's capital, passing through some the region's most beautiful scenery en-route.

 

 

This new three-mile section, which passes by the popular Sandcastle Water Park and includes two new bridges over active rail lines, cost $6 million--$1.25 million of which came from federal Transportation Enhancements funding and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The trail also received significant financial support from Allegheny County and private charitable foundations.

Over the past few years, Allegheny County has negotiated with 18 individual property owners to make way for the trail between McKeesport and Sandcastle.

In a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on the development of the unfinished sections last year, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato described completing the missing links as "a transformational moment for our region, both economically and recreationally."

For more information about next Friday's opening, or the GAP trail in general, visit the Allegheny Trail Alliance or e-mail atamail@atatrail.org.

Photo: Great Allegheny Passage, courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  


Posted Thu, Jun 9 2011 9:29 AM by Jake Lynch

Comments

Judy Hubbard wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Mon, Jun 13 2011 5:23 PM

I just rode this trail last week, from the Boston, PA trailhead to Washington D.C. It was a delightful adventure, and now that more will be opened, I will have to ride it again!

Daniel wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Tue, Jun 14 2011 10:19 AM

The GAP between McKeesport and Homestead goes along the Monongahela, not the Allegheny (the "Mon" not the "Al").

www.atatrail.org/.../map5.cfm

TheLynx wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Thu, Jul 7 2011 4:43 PM

The section of trail through McKeesport is a hodgepodge of roads, parking lots, sidewalks, paved trail in poor condition, unpaved trail in poor condition and some improved trail. Considering the overall substandard condition, while passable, it should not be considered a "finished" segment.

Dan Sullivan wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Thu, Jul 7 2011 5:20 PM

I didn't see the article say it went along the Allegheny. The passage is so named because it cuts through the Allegheny Mountains, which is a sub range of the Appalachias.

Mostly, I'm interested in knowing exactly where one gets off the trail and back on in order to detour around this last unfinished mile.

Robert Meredth wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Thu, Jul 7 2011 7:03 PM

My team's home trail is the Great Santa Ana River Bike Trail from Corona to Huntington Beach, CA but I have to make it a goal to ride the Allegheny Passage. This trail looks fantastic.

Joan wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Thu, Jul 7 2011 8:06 PM

Your description is somewhat misleading.  The one-mile unfinished section is the part that needs to go through Sandcastle and a junkyard.  The part that is done is very nice, but the picture above is not from the 3 mile segment.  The 2 bridges over the railroad tracks and the bridge over the Monongahela just north of McKeesport all are cages with open girding across the top.  The bridge shown just has side railings.

Lu wrote re: New Extension Brings Great Allegheny Passage Closer to Pittsburgh
on Tue, Jul 12 2011 4:54 PM

The bridge in the picture is the Salisbury Viaduct in Somerset County, beautiful!

 

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
+1-202-331-9696