loading spinner
22004
Pennsylvania

Maryland & Penn.: A Bike Trek in the Great Allegheny Passage

Get ready for a fully-supported week of bicycling, trail towns and outdoor adventure as you join local experts to cycle the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage in the Laurel Highlands.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22004RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,379
Pennsylvania

Maryland & Penn.: A Bike Trek in the Great Allegheny Passage

Get ready for a fully-supported week of bicycling, trail towns and outdoor adventure as you join local experts to cycle the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage in the Laurel Highlands.
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,379
Length
7 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
1,379
Program No. 22004RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.

DATES & PRICES

Bike Not Included Bike Included
Accommodation Details

Bring your own bicycle.

Accommodation Details

A bicycle will be provided.

Sep 10 - Sep 16, 2022
Bike Not Included 1,379
Bike Included 1,579
May 21 - May 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 1,699
Bike Included 1,929
Jun 4 - Jun 10, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 1,699
Bike Included 1,929
Aug 13 - Aug 19, 2023
Bike Not Included 1,699
Bike Included 1,929
Sep 9 - Sep 15, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 1,699
Bike Included 1,929

DATES & PRICES

Bike Not Included Bike Included
Accommodation Details

Bring your own bicycle.

Accommodation Details

A bicycle will be provided.

Sep 10 - Sep 16, 2022
Bike Not Included 1,759
Bike Included 1,959
May 21 - May 27, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 2,099
Bike Included 2,329
Jun 4 - Jun 10, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 2,099
Bike Included 2,329
Aug 13 - Aug 19, 2023
Bike Not Included 2,099
Bike Included 2,329
Sep 9 - Sep 15, 2023
SOLD OUT
Bike Not Included 2,099
Bike Included 2,329

At a Glance

The Great Allegheny Passage stretches 150 miles across some of the most beautiful scenery in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Join us for a biking adventure along this famed route as you cross the Mason-Dixon line with local experts who share their knowledge of the rich history and natural resources of the Laurel Highlands. Over the course of a week, cover the passage from Maryland to Pittsburgh, and discover the region’s flowing rivers, noted landmarks, and historic small towns.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Biking up to 32 miles a day on flat, packed limestone trails.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Cruise through isolated forests, parks, farms, and charming towns with plenty of bridges, tunnels, and wildlife, ending in the urban Pittsburgh area.
  • Ride through Ohiopyle State Park, the historic coal patch town of Whitsett and the 3,294’ long Big Savage Tunnel.
  • In Pittsburgh, ride the Duquesne incline to the top of Mount Washington for a spectacular view of one of the country’s most beautiful skylines.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Bill Metzger Author GAP Book speaker
Bill Metzger, author of “The Great Allegheny Passage Companion,” knows more about railroads, geology, nature, industrial history, financial chicanery, and trail construction between Pittsburgh and Cumberland than anyone else — and no one can tell all the stories as well. Bill has been a long-distance bicyclist, a working railroader, a freelance photographer, author, and a mapmaker. He is a founding board member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Montour Trail Council, and lives, works, and bikes in Confluence, Pennsylvania, with his wife Pam.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Aaron Hollis
Aaron Hollis View biography
Aaron Hollis is the director of education at West Overton Village. A native of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Aaron grew up hearing stories of local history. Sharing that history with others has become his passion. He studied anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and public history at West Virginia University. Aaron enjoys vintage photography, hiking, and spending time with his pup, Wicket.
Profile Image of Mary Kaufman Laurelville Site Coordinator
Mary Kaufman Laurelville Site Coordinator View biography
Mary Kaufman holds degrees in journalism-professional writing and in communications-PR. She began her career at VisitPittsburgh and is the new program director at Laurelville. A Penn State Master Gardener, she finds meaning in volunteering, teaching, and gardening. Mary co-owns a small plant nursery and enjoys garden design, biking, hiking, yoga, reading, cooking, and being outdoors.
Profile Image of Bill Metzger Author GAP Book speaker
Bill Metzger Author GAP Book speaker View biography
Bill Metzger, author of “The Great Allegheny Passage Companion,” knows more about railroads, geology, nature, industrial history, financial chicanery, and trail construction between Pittsburgh and Cumberland than anyone else — and no one can tell all the stories as well. Bill has been a long-distance bicyclist, a working railroader, a freelance photographer, author, and a mapmaker. He is a founding board member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Montour Trail Council, and lives, works, and bikes in Confluence, Pennsylvania, with his wife Pam.
Profile Image of Cathy Kumor MS CHES RYT Yoga instructor
Cathy Kumor MS CHES RYT Yoga instructor View biography
Cathy Kumor (MS, CHES, RYT) is a retired heath care professional who works as a yoga instructor and health and wellness consultant. Cathy has presented educational offerings for Highmark, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, local businesses, and community groups as well as presenting at PA State DUI Association, the National SOPHE Conference and the National Wellness Institute. She is a tireless volunteer who raises funds for library and community projects with her classes.
Profile Image of Daniel Cocks Connellsville Canteen
Daniel Cocks Connellsville Canteen View biography
Daniel Cocks is Executive Director of the Fayette County Cultural Trust. One of their projects is the Connellsville Canteen, a reconstructed B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad Station that highlights the “canteen ladies” who fed the troops during World War II. The museum showcases thousands of WWII artifacts. It also features a display on the late John Woodruff, one of Connellsville's residents who won a gold medal during the 800 meter race in the 1936 Olympics. Another highlight is Harry Clark's Indian Creek Valley Railroad display.
Profile Image of Fred Zelt, Ph.D.
Fred Zelt, Ph.D. View biography
Fred Zelt is a Pittsburgh native with a BS in Earth Science from MIT and a PhD in Geology from Princeton. He retired from ExxonMobil after 30 years, returned to Pittsburgh, and started cycling hundreds of miles for charity. A certified League Cycling Instructor, he created and teaches a STEM and Cycling curriculum., Fred led 13 geology-themed outings as a volunteer with Pittsburgh nonprofit Venture Outdoors in 2021. He is leading a geology-themed ride on each of the 25 major bike trails in western Pennsylvania.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Great Allegheny Passage Companion: Guide to History & Heritage Along the Trail
by Bill Metzger
Published 2021 by the man who was there from the start of the GAP! Purchase online through GAPTRAILSTORE.ORG and give yourself plenty of time to read and enjoy. It's the most comprehensive guide on the market. The history and heritage of the trail come alive in Bill's inimitable style - humor blends with serious scholarship in this look at the railroads and other industries that preceded the trail's development. Bill knows more about railroads, geology, nature, industrial history, financial chicanery, and trail construction between Pittsburgh and Cumberland than anyone else – and no one can tell all the stories as well. This is flat-out the best, most ambitious, most educational, and most just-plain-fun rail-trail guidebook ever written, complete with great historical photos and crystal-clear maps.
Facebook Group: Great Allegheny Passage / C&O Canal Enthusiasts
by Doug Riegner GAP Conservancy
If you're on social media, go to Facebook, look up this address and send a request to join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/27418409144. Cyclists post their photos and stories. Fun to read and will help you get aquainted with the GAP.
An Uncommon Passage: Traveling through History on the Great Allegheny Passage
by Edward K. Muller and Paul g. Wiegman
Published in 2009, Paul is a local botanist, writer, photographer, expert trail rider. An Uncommon Passage guides readers through the fascinating story of this trail, as a critical link in the western expansion of colonial America, and a pathway to the development of the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. The book explores the British outposts and forts, early settlers and frontier life, developing towns and cities, rise and predominance of industry, later environmentalism and preservation, natural resources, rivers, flora and geological features that comprise the trail and its environs. The engaging narrative is complemented by an extensive selection of historical illustrations and the contemporary photography of Paul g. Wiegman, all of which reveal the stunning scenery and pictorial history of the region. An Uncommon Passage offers a journey through both time and space to capture the heritage and surroundings of a region that would grow to prosper and help build a nation.
TrailGuide, 18th edition 2021
by Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy
TrailGuide is the official advertising guide to the C&O Canal Towpath and Great Allegheny Passage, 335 miles from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, PA. Includes planning guide and a weatherproof, full-color map folded into the back pocket. The weatherproof map alone is worth the $10 donation to the Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy, which seeks grants to perform emergency maintenance, updates wayfinding signage and maps, and promotes traveling the GAP to new audiences.
The Great Ride WQED - You Tube video
by WQED Pittsburgh
Search "You Tube Great Ride WQED 2019" to view this hour-long video online. You'll get a sense of the beauty of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail, although we don't travel the C&O trail or this exact itinerary on the GAP. Viewers will follow the trail with a diverse group of cycling tour guides, each of whom take us through a different section of the trail.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Class
Mount Pleasant, PA
D
Laurelville Retreat Center

Activity note: Check-in from 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) Rooms are not guaranteed to be available before 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Register in the dining hall lobby to get your welcome packet with room assignments and important information. If you will arrive after 7pm, contact site coordinator for instructions. If you arrive before 5pm, enjoy a walk around Laurelville's beautiful wooded grounds, see the waterfall behind the Office or relax in the dining hall lobby.

Dinner: Gather with fellow participants in the Laurelville dining hall to be met by your site coordinator and hosts for a buffet dinner plus water, coffee, and tea.

Evening: The Site Coordinator will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes. We will discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. All transportation will be by vans to and from the trail each day. Each morning and afternoon, we will bike portions of the Great Allegheny Passage. Riders will have the opportunity to meet up with the support vehicle and staff for lunch and breaks.Maximum miles per day is 32.

DAY
2
Ride from Meyersdale to Cumberland, MD along the GAP
Cumberland, MD
B,L,D
Fairfield Inn & Suites Cumberland

Activity note: Participants will bike approximately 32 miles today. Riders will have the opportunity to meet up with the support vehicle and staff for a morning break, lunch, and afternoon break. Snacks and water refills will be provided at these stops.

Breakfast: At Laurelville we’ll have a buffet with water, coffee, tea, milk, and juice.

Morning: We’ll depart from Laurelville in vans for the start of the week's ride (an hour by van). The morning ride from Meyersdale to Deal will highlight the curved Keystone Viaduct. Shopping opportunity at Meyersdale Train Station and Museum.

Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch in Deal, PA.

Afternoon: The afternoon ride from Deal to Cumberland features the Eastern Continental Divide, the 3,294' Big Savage Tunnel, the Mason-Dixon Line, the 957' Borden Tunnel and the 914' Brush Tunnel. We'll meet the vans for a break in Frostburg (mile post 15). Our ride will end mile post "0" where the GAP meets the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath to Washington D.C. (C&O Canal) We'll stay the Fairfield Inn and Suites, visible from mile marker "0". After checking into your room you will have time to clean up, relax and explore nearby before dinner.

Dinner: Enjoy a casual sit-down meal at a local Cumberland restaurant.

Evening: Free time. The evening is free to further explore this walkable historic downtown (ice cream!) or relax in the hotel pool or hot tub.

DAY
3
Ride from Meyersdale to Confluence, Evening Presentation
Mount Pleasant, PA
B,L,D
Laurelville Retreat Center

Activity note: Participants will bike approximately 31 miles today.

Breakfast: At the Fairfield Inn, indulge in a tasty buffet with water, coffee, tea, and juice.

Morning: We’ll depart the hotel in vans for the 50 minute trip to Meyersdale where you will begin the second day of riding. The bike ride from Meyersdale to Rockwood will highlight the 1,908' Salisbury Viaduct which crosses the Casselman River Valley, and great views of wind farm.

Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch in Rockwood.

Afternoon: The ride from Rockwood to Confluence will take you through the Pinkerton Tunnel. Our vans will meet us for snacks/water at Fort Hill. The ride will end in the town of Confluence, which has traditionally been called Turkeyfoot because the three streams coming into one. The Youghiogheny and Casselman Rivers and Laurel Hill Creek, look like the track of a turkey when viewed from the surrounding hills. The small broad valley here was the site of ancient Indian villages and a resting place between the mountains. George Washington camped here and this is the site of the Yough Dam, a major flood control and recreation project built and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The vans will then stop briefly in Confluence to shop the local bike shop and then return to Laurelville.

Dinner: At Laurelville.

Evening: Enjoy an informative presentation by a local expert to compliment your experience on the trail. We'll review highlights of the next day's ride.

DAY
4
Ride from Confluence to Connellsville
Mount Pleasant, PA
B,L,D
Laurelville Retreat Center

Activity note: Participants will bike approximately 28 miles today.

Breakfast: At Laurelville.

Morning: Depart from Laurelville for Confluence (1-hour van ride) where you will begin your next day of riding. The ride from Confluence to Ohiopyle will quickly take you into the beauty and serenity of Ohiopyle State Park. Much of the morning ride runs beside the river, providing great views and the opportunity to descend the slope and take a break riverside. This portion of trail also parallels the active CSX rail-line across the river.

Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch in Ohiopyle, followed by a quick visit to the famous Ohiopyle State Park water falls and its newer Visitor's Center and native pollinator gardens.

Afternoon: The ride from Ohiopyle to Connellsville continues through Ohiopyle State Park and highlights the high and low bridges over the Youghiogheny River as you exit the park. The ride ends in historic Connellsville where we'll board the vans and then visit a local destination for some in-depth local history/shopping. The vans take us back to Laurelville (15 minute van ride). Free time until dinner.

Dinner: The vans will take us 15 minutes away to a favorite locally owned restaurant serving American cuisine for a plated meal, plus water, coffee, and tea. Cash bar.

Evening: The evening will be spent enjoying each other's company over fine food at the restaurant, so expect a late return back to Laurelville.

DAY
5
Ride from Connellsville to Buena Vista.
Mount Pleasant, PA
B,L,D
Laurelville Retreat Center

Activity note: Participants will bike approximately 31 miles today.

Breakfast: At Laurelville.

Morning: We’ll depart from Laurelville (15 minutes in the van) to begin your next day of riding from Connellsville to Whitsett. This day takes you back in time to the heart of coal and coke country. Considered "the most important mineral resource in the history of the world," during the late 1800s and early 1900s, coal fueled the Industrial Age in western Pennsylvania and the U.S. Towns like Adelaide, Whitsett, Van Meter, and Smithdale are examples of the coal patch towns that were built by the coal and coke companies to house their workers. Whitsett, an intact coal patch town, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch in Whitsett.

Afternoon: The ride from Whitsett to Buena Vista will continue through old industrial towns that once connected these key coal towns to Pittsburgh. Right outside of Whitsett, we'll visit Sager Mosaics for an opportunity to shop, purchase gourmet ice cream (optional) and learn about the creativity happening in the area. Soon after Whittset you will ride by the site of one of the worst coal mining tragedies in US history. In 1907, 239 miners were killed in an explosion at Darr Mine. Now little remains of the one bustling Banning No. 1 Coal Processing Operation. Meet the vans at milepost 113/West Newton for water/snacks. Shopping opportunity at the West Newton Train Station and craft brewery stand. The vans will meet you in Buena Vista and return you to Laurelville (45 minutes in the van).

Dinner: At Laurelville

Evening: Enjoy an informative presentation from a local expert.

DAY
6
Ride from Pittsburgh to Buena Vista, Duquesne Incline
Mount Pleasant, PA
B,L,D
Laurelville Retreat Center

Activity note: Participants will bike approximately 30 miles today.

Breakfast: At Laurelville.

Morning: Depart from Laurelville to Pittsburgh (one hour in the van) to begin your last day of riding in the heart of the city, on paved sections, with a few brief share-the-road sections. While the guides unload our bikes, we’ll first ride the Duquesne Incline to see a spectacular view of the city and learn about Pittsburgh's history. We’ll then ride to Point State Park. Here the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River at the iconic "Point" fountain. We’ll then begin our 12 mile journey to Homestead, winding through downtown. This segment of the trail runs alongside the river, offering great urban views, particularly as you cross over the Smithfield Street and Hot Metal Bridges. It's crucial to travel together this morning.Today’s stretch is the final part of the trail to have been completed and now formally connects the Point in Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.

Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch in Homestead.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll cover the final ride from Homestead to Buena Vista, which is 18 miles. This afternoon you’ll go through McKeesport, which is strategically located where the Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers join. The city became a major steel center. Today, the major industries are telecommunications, pipe-making, and steel fabricating. We'll stop at Boston for snacks/water and a chance to shop their vistor's center, a retired caboose. Once you’ve reached Buena Vista, you’ve completed the Great Allegheny Passage!

Dinner: At Laurelville.

Evening: Free time or relax around an outdoor campfire, weather dependent, or a roaring fire in the Guesthouse fireplace. Share your thoughts about the week's adventures.

DAY
7
Program concludes Optional:Flight 93 National Memorial trip
Mount Pleasant, PA
B

Activity note: Walking around the memorial and Tower of Voices for those who choose to go.

Breakfast: At Laurelville.

Morning: Enjoy a continental breakfast in the Guesthouse at your leisure, you've earned it ! We'll take an optional trip to Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset (50 minutes in the van). Flight 93 commemorates the 40 passengers who gave their lives to fight hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. If you're going, you'll need to be completely out of your rooms as we may return after the 12:30 pm checkout. There are many opportunities to sign up before and during the week at no additional cost. We hope you enjoy all of your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.