Great Allegheny Passage Trail (GAP)
Start at Meyersdale, PA. North to Pinkerton Tunnel and back,
then south to Big Savage Tunnel and back.
31 Miles (62 Miles Round Trip).
763 Foot Climb from Pinkerton Tunnel to the Continental Divide.
Railroad Grade (0.5%) - Easy Climb.
Number of intersections: About 8.
Number of people passed on the trail: 53.
Pros: Standard trail amenities - shelters, bathrooms, picnic tables and water fountain. Lodging was available near the trail in Meyersdale. Trail is a wide and very smooth cinder/dirt surface better than most of the paved roads where I bicycle. No surface roots or big rocks to jar your butt bones. Several bridges, including one over 1900 feet long over the Casselman River Valley provide some really nice views. Lots of varied scenery and during this ride the colorful foliage was stunningly beautiful.
Cons: The 28 mile climb may be an issue for some but the long railroad grade hill at 0.5 percent grade is an easy uphill ride for most. In case the power goes out in the Big Savage Tunnel 3300 feet long, you better have some good lighting.
Hindsight: Knowing that the trail ride from Cumberland north to the Continental Divide was so colorful with foliage, I chose continue the ride to the north of the Continental Divide rather than do any more boring and bumpy bottomlands rides on the C&O Trail. Rode about 15 miles of the GAP trail to the north of Meyersdale and back, and then rode the trail to the south of Meyersdale to the Big Savage Tunnel and back - the same tunnel which I rode through two days earlier. This is a wide smooth trail. With beautiful weather and spectacular foliage I did not want this ride to end.
Ratings: (1-5 scale, 5 being best)
Trail: 5 (Very smooth tiny cinder/packed clay.)
Critters: 3 (Saw deer and snakes.)
Scenery: 5 (Lots of awesome scenery and foliage.)