Local cycling enthusiasts no longer have to drive to Cumberland, Md., to reach Washington via the C&O Canal Towpath: they now can start in McKeesport, Pa., and ride their bike all the way to D.C. without encountering traffic.
Last December, a section of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail was completed that now links Pittsburgh and Cumberland. An adventurous cyclist could now ride the Allegheny to Cumberland then get on the C&O Towpath and head to Washington, a roughly 320-mile one-way trip.
The Allegheny Passage Trail is crushed limestone built mainly on abandoned rail beds. According to the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the trail is nearly level with the average grade of less than 1 percent. The trail reaches its high point at the Eastern Continental Divide.
From that point going east, the trail drops 1,787 feet in 24 miles to reach Cumberland. Coming back, the trail drops 1,672 feet in 126 miles to reach Pittsburgh.
Much like the C&O Canal Towpath, the speed limit on the Allegheny Passage Trail is 15 mph.