Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle
I really want to ride from Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle and am looking for more info about the trip.
If you made this trip, could you tell me how long it took and any advice/additional info you think would be helpful. Thanks!!
I have ridden that route numerous times on the Great Allegheny Passage. Typically, I’ll start at Boston and ride to Confluence in 8 hours. To start in Pittsburgh would add a few hours and to not go all the way to Confluence would save an hour so, all told, Pittsburgh to Ohiopyle; 9 hours or so.
The toughest part will be the Pittsburgh to McKeesport section. While there are some trail sections complete over that 9 miles, they are not connected and the interruptions do not allow easy access by road. I recommend riding the Eliza Furnace Trail and then taking 2nd avenue to the Glenwood Bridge and then the road through Homestead, Duquesne and into McKeesport.
Once you’re on the Passage, it’s smooth and level the rest of the way.
has a lot of info you might want if you have not seen it yet
Are you going to camp out, or just going and coming right back?
If you don’t want to take 837, use bill’s taxi service in mckeesport. He will ride you from the city to the trail head in mckeesport. Also, he has ridden the trail so if you have any questions just ask. Very friendly, good service, just call ahead and make plans. I was thankful for the ride when we were driving back from boston and saw someone loaded down weaving down 837.
We broke the trip up, staying at river’s edge campground outside of conelsville (on the trail), nice place. Then on to ohiopyle, eventually we stayed in confluence at the army engineers campground, also nice. Camping at ohiopyle is not good and I wouldn’t advise it.
Mckeesport to river’s edge about 5-6 hr.
confluence to boston about 7-8 hrs.
Here are some pics from my trip last summer.
haha I love that trailer with the pirate ships painted on it, I took a few photos of that myself
There is also a sign around there that I didn’t get a pic of. It has arrows pointing down the trail one has mexico under it and the other has china. If only you could get to china on the gat, or mexico.
I would also reccomend the ATatrail.org site. When I took my family down there for a first time overnight bike trip for any of us, I printed out the list of amenities through all towns that I planned on passing through or being near, and luckily I did as I needed an emergency crank arm replacement on our second day.
I also would be cautious about the ohiopyle campground, I found that out the hard way after I had to push my fully loaded bike, kids trailer and trail a bike after pedaling all day. They were really nice though because we got there late at night and the camp was filled and they gave us an auxillary site. Im not sure of any other “legal” camping sites that are bike friendly around Ohiopyle.
Also, if you have not ridden that section of the trail before, be aware that the sections between connellsville and Ohiopyle and he ohiopyle to conflucnce that are over 10 miiles with no towns, services, etc… There are typically other bikers on these sections, but the farther you get from the towns and the later it is in the day and the weather all will dictate the amount of peple you may see o nthese secti
I’ve gone through there 4 times (2 each way) as part of the passage. I usually just do Pgh to Connellsville in a day.
It would take me a bit longer than Kordite. If I were going the 75 miles or so from Pgh to Ohiopyle in a day, I would want to start early. I would probably stop for 3 or even 4 meals (that’s the way I am) and I ride slow. This time of year there are less than 12 hours of sunlight, so I would probably either start or end in the dark.
The trail is never very steep. According to the ATA elevation chart, in the 17 miles between Connellesville, the trail only goes up about 300 feet – that’s about 18 feet per mile, or about 1/3% grade. Not steep.
Connellsville to Ohiopyle always felt relentless to me, though. I swear it’s much steeper than Ohiopyle to Confluence, but both sections look about the same on the ATA chart.
If you are staying up there for a time, I would recommend Confluence rather than Ohiopyle. I always got this kinda “ski resort” vibe from Ohiopyle – snotty, rich recreationalists and poor, resentful townies. (Both unlike me, a snotty, poor, resentful recreationalist.) I didn’t see that vibe anywhere else on the great passage.
I’ve done Pittsburgh (Shadyside) to Ohiopyle. All told, it takes me about 10 hours, but that includes a stop for lunch (usually in West Newton), and a couple of stops for snacks, so figure more like 9 hours of riding time plus an hour of breaks.
I don’t know what your starting point is. I go through Wilkinsburg and Swissvale to the Rankin bridge. I take 837 to McKeesport, where I pick up the GAP at the marina. Look for the “YRT” signs.
It’s a beautiful ride, with quite a few breathtaking sights (I love coming out of the trees onto the old railroad bridges.)
Once you’re on the trail, it’s relatively flat. Overall, your elevation change is positive heading towards Ohiopyle, but I find that I don’t notice that much.
Be sure to pack plenty of water containers. You can replenish on the way, but you don’t want to go dry. I usually take a camelback and refill it twice.
There’s lots of trailheads along the way, so if you find that you’re tired sooner than you expect, you can bail off the trail. Be aware that once you hit Connellsville, however, that changes. After that, it’s a ~19 mile stretch to Ohiopyle with only a couple of access points. That stretch includes some of the best bridges, though .
If you haven’t already done so, check out http://atatrail.org/
Starting or ending in the dark isn’t that big a deal if you have a light. For a number of years when I was riding to DC I would start at Boston after work, around 7pm, and roll into Confluence at 2 or 3 in the morning. I ran into a rock that was hidden in the fog at Adelade but otherwise the trail is wide and clear of obstructions.
I agree with the idea of camping at Confluence rather than Ohiopyle. The only place at Ohiopyle is up that hill and you have to make reservations. At confluence, you just roll into the Outflow campsite and, if there’s someone at the gate, pay your nominal fee.
As I was often rolling it at 3 in the morning and leaving at sunrise, I usually didn’t see anyone at the gate.
There is a state park campground at ohiopyle but, it’s kind of a chore to get to. There is a sign that says to sign at the game wardens office or something like that, its pretty far away. I just stealthed it.
Mick is right on with the new ohiopyle vibe. We went on a monday thinking it would be empty but no, there are a lot of overweight people in lycra from jersey.
I grew up around there and, on a weekday during the summer you might see a couple people, mostly locals. Now it is packed in season, fall might be better though.
Confluence is awesome though, if you lock up your bike you’ll get sideways looks.
Kordite is speakin the truth, I really liked outflow (armycorps). There is a path right off of the biker section that leads you to the river where you can swim. Bit chilly for that now eh.
If you’re looking for somewhere cheap to stay indoors, the little convince store in town (right off the trail near the falls) rents out rooms. I think there’s only 3 or 4 rooms, so it can be tough to get a spot. However, at something like $15 for a night, it’s a great deal.
Last time I went I rode from Boston to Ohiopyle and arrived pretty late. My friend I went with hadn’t rode since he did the same trip (over 3 days) with his boyscout troop.
When we got there a park ranger informed us the park was closed and we were to leave. Luckily, we ran into some kayakers from Wilderness Voyageurs, and they told us to just set up camp next to their place. The guys there were really cool, and they even have heater showers. They did warn us about the train that comes by every 40 min (we were about 20 feet from the tracks), and that is why I would just keep going to Confluence, or stay at River’s Edge.
Pretty sad when we have a giant state park supposedly set aside for “we the people” and some douche bag in a badge can’t let you have a spot of dirt to sleep for the night…
Pretty damn sad…
I don’t think anyone makes me angrier than the woods nazis in this country anymore.
Not hard to find a spot of dirt to sleep on if you pull back from the road or where people can’t see you though… Even if you wake up at daylight to realize there were posted signs you couldn’t see in the dark LOL (and even then MOST people don’t care about someone on a bike crashing for a few hours and moving on).
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