A Pedal Perfect Cycling Paradise

Tackle a scenic 250-mile rail trail in Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy Wilderness Voyageurs

I GIGGLED like a little kid, a huge smile on my face. It was my fourth day riding the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) bike path, and I cruised downhill from the Eastern Continental Divide toward the trail’s terminus in Cumberland, Maryland. The weather was glorious, and I had an absolute blast.

Photo courtesy Wilderness Voyageurs

This nonmotorized 150-mile rail trail starts (or ends) in Pittsburgh and winds through picturesque rolling terrain, through charming towns, and past remnants of the early industrial era of our country. Early in the ride, you pass old pump houses, coke ovens, and industrial coal patch towns. Later, you ride along the scenic Youghiogheny River and through verdant landscapes.

As a former railroad line, the crushed limestone path has ample width, a grade that never exceeds 3 percent, and gentle, sweeping bends. Stunning landmarks dot the route too, including broad waterfalls in the quaint town of Ohiopyle; the 3,294-foot-long Big Savage Tunnel; and the 101-foot-high, 1,908-feet-long Salisbury Viaduct. Be sure to take a side trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fallingwater, in Mill Run. If you’re a hardcore cyclist, you can hammer down on your own and let the miles fly past. If you prefer a slower, more structured experience, outfitters can support you along the way. Accommodations run the gamut from free hiker-biker shelters and campgrounds to comfortable bed-and-breakfasts with gourmet meals.


Photo courtesy Wilderness Voyageurs

STAY Yoder’s Guest House in Meyersdale is a lovely 11-room inn that caters to cyclists, with a bike wash and secure bike storage. Enjoy the massive charcuterie board and drinks on the porch before sitting down to a home-cooked dinner.

EXPLORE Ohiopyle is full of gear stores and outfitters offering bike rentals, as well as white water rafting, fly fishing, and other day tours. Pubs serve stick-to-your ribs fare.

GET A GUIDE Wilderness Voyageurs can set up a tour with bikes, shuttles, snacks and meals, and detailed daily itineraries.