The Washington DC to Pittsburgh PA Connection:
Cue Sheet for Road Routes around Trail Gaps,


Back to trip report overview Back to FreeWheeling Home
9/97: Wash DC to Pittsburgh PA Cue sheet for gaps in DC - Pit Trip Report McKeesport - Pittsburgh Construction Challenges Who knows what's next?

There is an official Allegheny Trail Alliance page for Open and Closed sections.

Note: Most people who ride these trails are trying to avoid traffic; you won’t want to ride bikes on the detours, and we concur. However, some people will decide to bike the detours anyhow. If you do ride the detours, be careful, and wear your helmet.

Remaining Gaps

There are currently three significant gaps in the trail between Pittsburgh PA and Washington DC:

Southside Pittsburgh PA - McKeesport PA, (about 16 miles)

The 16 mile segment from Southside Pittsburgh to McKeesport is not yet open to the public, so through-trips must detour on roads. Since this is near the end of the trail, we recommend that you start or end your trip in McKeesport. The various routes between Southside and McKeesport are narrow, no shoulders and high speed traffic.

Cumberland MD - Woodcock Hollow (9.33 Trail Miles)

The 9.33 mile segment from Cumberland MD to Woodcock Hollow MD is not yet open to the public, so through-trips must detour on roads. You may take bikes on the train (warn them that you’re coming). We definitely recommend this alternative – the train ride is great, and the road ride isn't. On this detour there is a very busy half mile with absolutely no shoulders and lots of high speed traffic. 

Dam Four Detour on the C & O Canal (PDF) (2.7 Trail Miles)

The 2.7 mile segment from Dam Four to McMahon's Mill has fallen on hard times. Part of the trail is washed away, part is covered with rock falls, and all of it is covered with poison ivy. The Park Service has looked into fixing this section, but it is an issue of usage and money. There is a standard detour (PDF) on rolling country roads. Also, during times of high water the trail floods and there is an extended detour (PDF).

Winter time Gaps (Mid December to Early April)

Frostburg MD - Deal, PA (9.3 Trail Miles)

The segment from Frostburg to Deal (9.3 miles) is closed during the winter (Dec 15, 2006 through April 15th 2007). The doors on the Big Savage Tunnel are closed and locked to prevent ice build-up from damaging the tunnel. We recommend driving these roads

Obsolete detours

Wide Water near Great Falls, VA (0.7 Trail Miles)

The short stretch where you had to carry your bike over rocks and which was closed last year (2005) for construction, was officially opened April 29, 2006. No longer will you have to climb the hill and traverse the stairs to the Aqueduct.

Cumberland MD - Woodcock Hollow (9.33 Trail Miles)

Trail is now completed in this section. A detour is no longer necessary.  However, you may take bikes on the train (warn them that you’re coming). The train ride is great, and the road ride isn't. On this detour there is a very busy half mile with absolutely no shoulders and lots of high speed traffic.  If you have to detour, ee definitely recommend the train. traffic. 

Woodcock Hollow - Frostburg MD(5.86 Trail Miles)

A portion of the bike trail along the Western Maryland Scenic RR between Cumberland and Frostburg  was surfaced in 2005.  A detour is no longer necessary.  However there is a page describing this detour, in case there is a future trail disruption that requires the detour.

Deal - Meyersdale (about 12.0 miles)

Trail is now completed in this section. A detour is no longer necessary.  However there is a page describing this detour, in case there is a future trail disruption that requires the detour.

Ft Hill - Confluence (about 8 miles)  

Trail is now completed in this section. A detour is no longer necessary.  However there is a page describing this detour, in case there is a future trail disruption that requires the detour.

Ohiopyle High Bridge (0.02 Trail Miles)

Repair work to the High Bridge at Ferncliff  in Ohiopyle State Park began Monday, January 9th 2006 and is now finished. If the bridge is ever closed, bikers can travel the Great Gorge Trail to Kentuck Rd - then State Route 381 into Ohiopyle where you can pick up the other side of the bike trail." See the State Park map (PDF 583 KB).


You are visiting FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania, copyright 1998,1999,2000,2001 by Mary Shaw and Roy Weil. We encourage you to link to these pages or print copies for personal use. However, if you want to copy the material for any other use, you must ask us first. Other outdoor publications by the authors. Page updated 04/08/06 by Mary Shaw     Comments to maintainer.

As always we have made a serious effort to present accurate descriptions.  However we are human, trails change with time, and we occasionally receive incorrect information.  Therefore we can not be responsible for discrepancies between these descriptions and actual trail conditions.   Use common sense, judgment and be careful out there.