Mountain MaryLand Trail
Cumberland MD to Frostburg MD, over Big Savage Mountain to State Line
The Allegheny Highlands Trail runs for 63 miles through woods and small towns, climbing from the terminus of the C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland MD along Wills Ck and Jennings Run to Frostburg MD, then up the eastern flank of Big Savage Mountain. After crossing under the crest of the mountain in a kilometer-long tunnel, it descends along Flaugherty Run to the Casselman River at Meyersdale PA andfollows the Casselman to Confluence. The trail is complete except for the segment immediately west of Cumberland, from Cumberland to Woodcock Hollow. This section should be under construction in 2006. The Savage Tunnel will be closed every winter to prevent frost damage, so check on its status if you’re planning a trip in the cooler months.
Mountain MaryLand Trail
Location Allegany County MD
Trailheads Cumberland, Frostburg Depot
Length, Surface 16 miles, packed crushed stone
Character Uncrowded, wooded, mixed sun and shade, noticeable grades, big hill in Frostburg
Usage restrictions No motorized vehicles; no snowmobiles
Amenities Rest rooms, food, lodging
Driving time from Pittsburgh 2 hours southeast
The Allegheny Highlands Trails in Maryland and Pennsylvania are two of seven trails in the Allegheny Trail Alliance. The Alliance is coordinating the effort to establish a trail system. The Great Allegheny Passage, that connects Pittsburgh with Washington DC via rail-trails and the C&O Canal Towpath.
From Frostburg, the trail follows the route of the Western Maryland RR for 16 miles to Meyersdale. It climbs for 5 miles to the MD/PA state line, then levels off a bit as it approaches the major feature of this section of the trail, the Big Savage Tunnel. Emerging from the woods at Deal, the trail descends along Flaugherty Run to Meyersdale.
The trail is accessible at two locations in Frostburg: the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad depot and the official trail access on New Hope Rd. At the depot, the trail starts just across the tracks from the train station. It stays beside the tracks for a hundred yards and leads to an observation deck that provides a preview of the excitement that’s about to begin. Just past the observation deck, the trail begins a spectacular series of quick switchbacks that descend quickly to the main trail and the official access point off New Hope Rd.
However you get to the New Hope trailhead, the trail to the Continental Divide goes northwest from the trailhead for half a mile through woods and a cut to cross Mt Savage Rd. Soon after that, the trail bends north onto the side of Savage Mountain for 1.8 miles to the short Borden Tunnel. After the tunnel it’s another 3 miles to the state line, where the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland connects seamlessly with the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Pennsylvania. Several spectacular views open to the right. Concentrate on the views, because the hill to the left is a former strip mine.
The state line is marked by big stones alongside the trail, and paving stones in the trail. The paving stones follow the Mason Dixon line (state line) as surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. They treked and acoss the applalation Mountains between 1763 and 1767. A historical marker provides some history of their expostion.
Cumberland trainstation: << more needed>>
Cash Valley Trailhead: << more needed>>
several road crossings: << more needed>>
Frostburg Vicinity: Directions begin on I68 eastbound approaching Frostburg. To reach this point from Pittsburgh, take I79 south to US40, US40 east to I68, and I68 east to Cumberland.
Frostburg Depot trailhead: Take the Frostburg exit from I68 toward Frostburg. At US40 (W Main St) go straight onto Depot St. Go down the steep hill to the train depot. You can park here to meet the train or ride down the switchbacks to the New Hope Rd trailhead, or you can turn right on New Hope Rd after crossing the tracks and go downhill to the New Hope trailhead.
Frostburg New Hope Rd trailhead: Take the Frostburg exit from I68 toward Frostburg. At US40 (W Main St) go straight onto Depot St. Go down the steep hill to the train depot. Continue past the depot. Just after crossing the railroad track at the turntable, turn right down New Hope Rd. Just before going under the railroad bridge, turn right into the parking lot.
<<Other trail heads >>
Rest rooms, water: In Cumberland, Frostburg depot, at New Hope trailhead
Bike shop, rentals: Cumberland.
Restaurant, groceries: In Cumberland and Frostburg..
Camping, simple lodging: Cumberland and Fostburge.
Swimming, fishing: None.
Winter sports: No snowmobiles. Cross-country skiing is good.
Wheelchair access: The switchbacks from the depot to New Hope Rd are probably ADA compliant, but they’re pretty long.
Allegheny Highlands Trails of Maryland
PO Box 28
Cumberland MD 21502
email via web site
Maps, guides, other references
Mary Shaw and Roy Weil. Linking Up: Planning Your Traffic-Free Bike Trip between Pittsburgh PA and Washington DC. Shaw-Weil Associates, 2002.
USGS Topographic Maps: Cumberland MD-PA, Frostburg MD.
Text version from 2002 edition based on personal observation while bicycling Cumberland to<< State Line 7(MP XX.X)>> 7/2021 Conditions will have changed; you are responsible for your own safety. Oldest segment check 7/2021.