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Linking Up: Detours Around Trail Gaps

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Note: These are the Road Detours around Trail Gaps.

There is an official Allegheny Trail Alliance pageexternal%20link 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 updated 02/2012

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

East of Paw-Paw Tunnel (about 1.2 miles)

The gorge just east of Paw Paw Tunnel has steep sides. This winter (2012-2013) there was a landslide that blocked the trail. The Park Service then inspected the rest of the hillside and discovered several sections that were poised to landslide. As a result they have closed the gorge to the east side of the Paw Paw Tunnel. The trail will probably be closed through the summer (2013). One can still enter and pass through the tunnel from the west end, but the trail is blocked shortly past the east exit. The detour uses the Tunnel Hill Trail, which goes over the top of the mountain. The elevation change on the Tunnel Hill Trail is about 360 ft (250 m) and has several steep sections. See the elevation profile.

Southside Pittsburgh PA - WaterFront Shopping Center, Homestead, PA, (about 1.6 miles)

The 1.6 mile segment from Southside Pittsburgh through Sandcastle to the Waterfront Shopping Center 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 Homestead. The various routes between Southside and the Waterfront are narrow, no shoulders and high speed traffic. Current plans call for closing this gap May 2013 with an opening celebration June 15, 2013. See CloseTheGap.php for more detail.

 

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

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

The 2.7 mile segment from Dam Four to McMahon's Mill had fallen on hard times. Part of the trail was washed away, part was covered with rock falls, and all of it was covered with poison ivy. The Park Service has now fixed this section and a detour is now no longer required. There is a standard detour on rolling country roads. Also, during times of high water the trail floods and there is an extended detour.

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)

The 9.33 mile segment from Cumberland MD to Woodcock Hollow MD was opened to the public December 14th 2006. The trail is passable for the entire 9 miles. 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 road detour there is a very busy half mile with absolutely no shoulders and lots of high speed traffic.  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.

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.  The trail from Frostburg use to (2005) end at Woodcock Hollow Road. 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 mapExternal link (PDF 583 KB).

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You are visiting Linking Up, copyright © 1999,2002,2007,2011 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. The contents of these web pages is also available in a book. See other outdoor publications by the authors.