Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I hope you get some inspiration to run somewhere new from my log of Ultra Running Destinations. These are all places I’ve visited, so can personally recommend them for an ultra adventure. Hope you have a nice stay!

Great Allegheny Passage - Cumberland, MD to Pittsburg, PA

Great Allegheny Passage - Cumberland, MD to Pittsburg, PA

I learned about the Great Allegheny Passage, the GAP Trail, from a bike trip several coworkers made from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington D.C. over the course of a week.  My focus is on shorter weekend trips, so at the time I heard about it didn’t think much about it.  However, while preparing for the Wilderman, the only off-road Ironman distance triathlon in the world, I wanted to test myself with a 12 hour ride on my mountain bike (the expected time to ride 112 miles (180k)).  The 150 mile (240k) GAP Trail, just a three-hour drive from my house, would be a perfect place for a pretty ride and one likely to take around 12 hours given its packed limestone surface.

While I rode the trail on my mountain bike, this trail makes an excellent first ultra running destination given the services along the trail and easy surface.  I wouldn’t recommend starting from Pittsburgh as that section is very urban, but that is the exception, so any other starting point, especially from Cumberland, MD has great scenic views.

My plan for the weekend:

12:00 Friday - Leave Columbus, OH by car with my bike
15:00 Friday - Reach Pittsburg, PA and park at Station Square
16:00 Friday - Get picked up by shuttle for the two-hour drive to Cumberland, MD
18:00 Friday - Arrive in Cumberland, MD and check into hotel (Fairfield Inn and Suites)
21:00 Friday - Go to bed!  Wake-up time at 03:00 to start
03:00 Saturday - Go time!
15:00 Saturday - Arrive in Pittsburgh, PA
19:00 Saturday - Back in Columbus, OH and dinner with family

The trip went almost exactly according to plan given the excellent weather and no surprises along the way.

Highlights of the trail are:

The GAP Trail is also part of the larger Great Eastern Trail, and inland version of the Appalachian trail, and connects to the C&O Canal Towpath Trail in Cumberland that goes all the way into Washington D.C.  Any portion of these trails make for a great ultrarunning destination weekend.  Especially if you want to test yourself on your first solo unsupported run.  If you are visiting Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, PA or Cumberland, MD, these trails make for a convenient and efficient trip with plenty of shuttle options to get you from your start or finish!

Tracks

Start: Cumberland, Maryland
Finish :
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Distance : 150 miles / 240k

Gallery


Crossing borders on forest trails - Schwanberg, Austria to Maribor, Slovenia

Crossing borders on forest trails - Schwanberg, Austria to Maribor, Slovenia

Danube-Ipoly National Park - Budapest, Hungary

Danube-Ipoly National Park - Budapest, Hungary