Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Pennsylvania

As I mentioned last week, our friends Chris and Bill came to visit us.  This was a planned visit and they were able to be with us for three days, which means we had plenty of time for adventures.  We like to spend time with Chris and Bill because they like to bike and hike.  They are even more active than we are!  Our first big activity was riding our bikes on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Ohiopyle to Confluence.

The Great Allegheny Passage Trail is a rail-trail that runs from Point Park in Pittsburgh to Cumberland Maryland.  The trail is 150 miles of crushed limestone trail that gets lots of usage.  Some parts are used more than others because it also has one of the most significant mountains to cross that you will find on a rail-trail.  Instead of tackling the mountain climb (and descent) we decided to start with an easy round trip of 20 miles.

We started by driving to Ohiopyle and unloading our bikes.  Chris and Bill both have very nice hybrid bikes that they ride a lot.  Tom and I have our trusty tandem.  We rode and walked them up to the Ohiopyle Railroad station, which is where we wanted to start our ride.  Our goal was Confluence, about 10 miles east on the trail.  The trail goes gradually uphill to Confluence, so we would be able to ride that gradual downhill on our way back.

Although a 20 mile trip is a breeze for Chris and Bill, Tom and I had not been on the tandem since April.  Fortunately Chris and Bill had just done a longer ride a couple of days before so they were willing to take it easy with us.  The good thing about riding the tandem is that we can move at a good clip, so at least we are able to keep up with Chris and Bill.

Chris and Karen and rhododendrons

The ride to Confluence on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail was beautiful.  We started by going west over the two bridges that cross the Youghiogheny. We had a great view of the river and saw some rafters.  Then we went east, heading to Confluence.  The trail runs beside the river and it was fun to see it flowing past us.  There were beautiful rhododendrons lining both sides of the trail, although I was the only one who saw them at first.  One of the benefits to being the stoker on the tandem.

We stood at the confluence of the Casselman and Youghiogheny Rivers and noticed the difference in the colors of the rivers.  The Youghiogheny comes from the bottom of a dam and is much colder and clearer than the Casselman.  When we were riding back to Ohiopyle we noticed that the rivers stayed distinctively separate for five miles.


When we reached Confluence we rode to the dam, and then back to River’s Edge Cafe for lunch.  I will write about that tomorrow.  Lunch was great and was just the break we needed before heading back to Ohiopyle.

We had a perfect bike ride, with a great trail and good friends.  We are looking forward to riding some more on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.