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Allegheny Trail Alliance
General Information

10/25/99: Linking Up: New Planning Guide for Bike Trips on Trails between Pittsburgh and DC

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In western Pennsylvania, the trail builder's grand dream is a motor-free connection between Pittsburgh and Washington DC. In practice, this means a connection from Pittsburgh to Cumberland Maryland, where you can pick up the C&O Canal towpath for the final 185 miles to Washington. The Allegheny Trail Alliance is working to make this dream come true.

Calendar icon for calendar page Event Calendar   Construction icon for construction page Plans for Trail
  Spider web icon for related links page Related Web Sites   Our online guide to planning long rides
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  Book icon for bookstore Trail Guide
  Map icon for Trip Planning page Long-Distance
Trip Planner

About the Allegheny Trail Alliance


The Allegheny Trail Alliance is a coalition of seven trail-building organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania and western Maryland whose purpose is to assure the construction, maintenance and use of the multi-purpose trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD, where the trail will join the C&O Canal Towpath Trail, which continues on to Washington, DC.

Benefits of the Trail

  • … economic stimulus for communities: the completed portions of the trail are attracting new businesses, such as bike shops, restaurants, and other services. The trail will be a destination point, adding to the many tourist attractions of the region;
  • … extensive exercise and recreational opportunities: free to people of all ages and physical abilities;
  • … presents the heritage of the region: from native American campgrounds, remains of beehive coke ovens, railroad towns, and Pittsburgh's great "Valley of Steel";
  • … protection of the river environment: this corridor is valuable wildlife habitat and allows a natural buffer to develop along the rivers;
  • … educational opportunities: along the trail from history and culture to geology and ecology, the trail provides many educational opportunities.

Trail Status

The Pittsburgh to Cumberland trail system covers 206 miles, of which 116 miles are constructed and heavily used. The trail system goes through five counties in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland.

Funding Partners

The origins of this ambitious project are found in the 9.5 mile rail-trail conversion project in Pennsylvania's Ohiopyle State Park, which was opened in 1986. This section of the Youghiogheny River Trail serves hundreds of thousands of users each year. This trail system is being made possible by funding from ISTEA, other state and federal grants, considerable private funding, other important support from local government, and individuals.

Trail Partners

The Allegheny Trail Alliance is a unique group of seven trail organizations who have joined together to bring this trail to completion. Each trail group is as different as the section of trail its members are building. Click on these links or on any logo on the maps for information about each trail organization. The affiliated trails and the lengths of their trails are:






  Three Rivers Heritage Trail   3     3     6  
  Steel Valley Trail   0     17     17  
  Montour Trail   23     26     49  
  Youghiogheny River Trail, North   40     3     43  
  Youghiogheny River Trail, South   28     0     28  
  Allegheny Highlands Trail in Pennsylvania   22     20     42  
  Allegheny Highlands Trail in Maryland   0     21     21  
At Cumberland, the ATA system connects with the C&O Canal Towpath ...
  C&O Canal Towpath   184.5     0     184.5  

For more information

Contact the Allegheny Trail Alliance at
  419 College Ave
Greensburg PA 15601
  724-853-BIKE (853-2453)
888-ATA-BIKE (282-2453)

The individual trail organizations sponsor special events throughout the year. The major events appear on our coordinated calendar. Check with each trail organization for more events.

These trails exist only because of the dedication of many volunteers. Your favorite trail has something for you to do, too.When you find a trail you like, please join the trail organization. They need your energy as much as your money. For more information, to join a trail group, or to volunteer, please request more information.

If you're planning a multi-day trip on these trails, our trip planning page may be helpful. In the fall of 1999, we published a booklet of planning advice for trips between Pittsburgh and Washington.

For books and guides about this trail system and the region, please visit our bookstore. Some trail organizations also sell hats, shirts, water bottles, and other trail-related goods. Check the trail organization's web pages for information.

See the related web sites for nearby trails, community information, related organizations, and periodical publications.

Review past news alerts.

[Overview Map] [ATA Information]

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This page is part of the Allegheny Trail Alliance's site in support of the Pittsburgh to Cumberland Trail, a motor-free recreational trail providing the western 40% of the motor-free connection between Pittsburgh PA with Washington DC, connecting with the C&O Canal Towpath. The ATA is an alliance of seven trail organizations: Montour Trail Council, Friends of the Riverfront, Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, Regional Trail Corporation, Ohiopyle State Park, Somerset County Rails to Trails Association, and Allegheny Highlands in Md. It is brought to you in cooperation with the authors of FreeWheeling Easy in Western Pennsylvania.

Smilin' Bill Metzger, Culprit-in-chief. Mary Shaw, Lead accomplice. Roy Weil, Master byte mechanic. Pam Metzger, Co-conspirator. Copyright 1998, 1999 variously by Allegheny Trail Alliance, Bill Metzger, Mary Shaw, and Roy Weil. All rights reserved. We encourage you to create links to this site and to print copies of the maps for your personal use. We do not grant permission for you to copy parts of this site for any other use. We absolutely prohibit the use of any portion of this site to generate spam or other mass communications. This page was last modified on 10/24/99. Comments to the ATA office.

We thank Leo's Icon Archive, the Iconolog, and the IconBazaar for the use of icons and clipart on this site.