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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Photo: Great Allegheny Passage, courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
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!
The GAP between McKeesport and Homestead goes along the Monongahela, not the Allegheny (the "Mon" not the "Al").
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.
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.
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.
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.
The bridge in the picture is the Salisbury Viaduct in Somerset County, beautiful!
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