The GAP


No, not the store. The Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. Gary and I rode our bikes 65 miles over two days, Memorial Day weekend. Warning! Picture heavy posts narrated with crazy superlative wordage. 

Years ago, 2003 to be exact, when my daughters were in college in Pittsburg, we rode the section from Confluence to McKeesport. Since then, the Great Allegheny Passage trail has been completed, 150 miles from Pittsburg to Cumberland, Maryland, where it joins the 184.5 C&O Canal Path. 

I want to remember every mile of this magnificent (I did warn you…) trail so I am breaking our 2 day ride into several posts. 

After checking into the Morguen Toole Company hotel and parking the car, Gary and I rode our bikes about 2 blocks straight up– ok, I walked the bike some… to the start of our ride at this restored train station museum in Meyersdale. I could have spent all day there, looking at the exhibits. The ladies restroom was fitted out to look like the historical rail car. A sign read, “Please flush at stops except when in Depot.”  What!

I am the type of traveler that wants to read every single word of every single interpretive plaque, in addition to pulling out the 2 or 3 Guide books I’m carrying with me. Gary…is not. Can I just say how much I love beautiful old bridges? There are many to ride across on this trip, built by Bollman. 

Does it look like we are riding uphill? Really, it is a very gradual uphill grade for the first 10 miles. The ballast trail is flat and wide and nicely shaded on this hot day. 

Many of the bridges have the bike trail built over the original structure, preserving the iron work while providing a safe passage.

Can I just tell you how much I love trestles?

Especially when they parallel and cross the Casselman River many times. Gary does pause to check out and admire trout streams. 

We reached the top– the Eastern Continental Divide, where the water flows to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Chesapeake Bay. 

That elevation map on the side of the tunnel is so deceptive. Stretch the distance over miles instead of a few inches and the 10 miles of trail we just rode up is a gradual, steady grade. Still– I’m really excited about gliding downhill for 20 miles. 

The Big Savage Tunnell! I have wanted to ride through this tunnel for years. The tunnel is about a half mile long and lighted but I brought my headlamp, just in case. Neither lights did much good. The temperature was about 90 degrees outside and the tunnel is a big refrigerator, easily 20 degrees cooler, creating a thick fog. Wow! Really dark, really cold and spooky scary. I could hear Gary, but not see him or the trail at all.


I could finely see the light at the end. That was AWESOME!


The view when you exit the tunnel just takes your breath away.


It’s a perfect place to stop for lunch. Check out those wind mills– and those dark clouds gathering. We still have about 20 miles to ride into Cumberland. 


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