The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail is a 150-mile hiking and biking trail through the Appalachian Mountains.
The relatively flat trail, whose steepest grade is 1.75%, offers amazing views of rivers, trees, valleys, and passing towns. The trail was built off abandoned train tracks and rail beds and maintains a mostly even 1% grade. The trail is smooth and made from crushed and packed limestone.
HISTORY OF THE TRAIL
The first 9-mile section of the GAP opened in 1986, with completion of the entire trail in June 2013. Downtown Pittsburgh marks mile 150 with Cumberland, MD marking mile 0. In Cumberland, the trail connects with the C&O Canal Towpath down to Washington, D.C., making the combined trails total 334.5 miles.
In Pittsburgh, the trail begins behind the PNC Firstside Center, 500 First Ave., at Grant Street. You’ll pass behind the garage on a dedicated path and then join the main trail.
- Be on the lookout for walkers and horses, as sections of the trail allow for horseback riding.
- The trail speed limit is 15 mph, though most cyclists average 8 to 12 mph and walkers average 2 to 3 mph.
- The trail is open from dawn until dusk.
- If you leave the trail to head into a town located along its path, please observe all traffic signs and laws, as you are now regarded as a vehicle or pedestrian. No cycling is allowed on sidewalks; cyclists must ride in single file going in the same direction as traffic.
BIKE RENTALS & TOURS
If you’re not bringing your own bicycle or hiking equipment, you can rent bikes and accessories in Pittsburgh.
Offering bike rentals that always include a rear rack, helmet, lock, headlight, bell, pump, and any tool you could need on your trip, this rental company offers a variety of bikes specially chosen for the GAP. With rentals starting as low as $50 per day, this is the company to go to for insight into riding the trail and getting the best equipment. They also offer two, three, or four-day guided tours.