Discovering Ohiopyle State Park on the Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 150-mile rail-trail that stretches from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland, passing through some of the most scenic areas of the Allegheny Mountains. The Ohiopyle State Park section of the trail is one of the most popular and picturesque parts of the GAP. In this guide, we will explore the Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage, highlighting the best places to see, things to do, and tips for making the most of your trip.
What is the Great Allegheny Passage?
The Great Allegheny Passage trail follows the path of the former Western Maryland Railway and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. It passes through a variety of landscapes, including dense forests, rolling hills, and charming small towns. Along the way, visitors can enjoy scenic views of the Allegheny Mountains, as well as the Youghiogheny River and the Casselman River. The Great Allegheny Passage trail is well-maintained and relatively flat, making it accessible to hikers and bikers of all skill levels. There are numerous trailheads and access points, as well as amenities such as campgrounds, restrooms, and picnic areas.
The GAP Trail is part of a larger trail network that includes the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, which runs from Cumberland to Washington, D.C. When combined, these trails offer over 330 miles of continuous off-road trail for hikers and bikers to explore. Overall, the Great Allegheny Passage Trail is a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty and rich history of the Allegheny Mountains. With its diverse landscapes, easy accessibility, and range of amenities, it is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts from around the world.
Biking the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Ohiopyle State Park
The Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage starts at the town of Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, and runs for approximately 27 miles to the town of Confluence, Pennsylvania. Along the way, you will encounter breathtaking scenery, including towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests.
The Great Allegheny Passage trail is accessible to hikers, cyclists, and even horseback riders. The surface is well-maintained and easy to navigate, with gentle grades and few steep hills. The trail also features several historic sites, including abandoned railroads and the remains of old coal mining towns.
Exploring Ohiopyle State Park from the GAP Trail
One of the highlights of the Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage is the Ohiopyle State Park itself. The park is located at the trailhead and offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and even whitewater rafting. The park is also home to several stunning waterfalls, including the famous Cucumber Falls and the Ohiopyle Falls.
As you continue along the Great Allegheny Passage trail, you will encounter several other natural attractions, including the Youghiogheny River Gorge and the Laurel Highlands. These areas are known for their diverse wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer.
In addition to the natural beauty of the area, the Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage also offers several opportunities for cultural and historical exploration. The trail passes through several old coal mining towns, including the town of Dunbar, which was once home to over 5,000 miners. The town of Confluence, at the end of the trail, is also steeped in history, with several historic buildings and landmarks.
Planning a trip to the Ohiopyle section of the Great Allegheny Passage
- Plan ahead: Make sure to research the trail and the area ahead of time to ensure that you are prepared for the trip. Check the weather forecast, bring appropriate gear, and plan your route in advance.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks: The Great Allegheny Passage trail can be long and strenuous, so make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself fueled throughout the day.
- Take your time: The beauty of the area is in the journey, not just the destination. Take your time to explore the natural wonders and historic landmarks along the trail.
- Respect the environment: The Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage is a natural wonderland, so make sure to respect the environment by staying on the trail and not littering.
In conclusion, the Ohiopyle State Park section of the Great Allegheny Passage is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the natural and cultural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains. With stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and plenty of recreational opportunities, this section of the trail is sure to be a highlight of your journey. So pack your bags, hit the trail, and get ready for a fun-filled adventure!