Along the Great Allegheny Passage: Ohiopyle

Ohiopyle Low Bridge Spanning the Youghiogheny River

Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania had as of the 2010 population a permanent population of 59. This small borough, however, comes alive during the summer months. Arriving in April, we beat the summer rush of adventure seekers on the rapids of the Youghiogheny River.

Restored Ohiopyle Rail Depot

Ohiopyle is also a trail town along the Great Allegheny Passage, a rail-trail linking Cumberland, Md. to Pittsburgh, Pa. Ohiopyle was also our starting point for our first venture on the GAP which would take us along the route of the old rail lines of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Union Railroad, and the Western Maryland Railroad. Our journey would extend from Ohiopyle to Frostburg, Md. and back.

Ohiopyle and the Low Bridge

We arrived in Ohiopyle later than expected, but early enough to get a bite to eat before beginning our day’s trek to Meyersdale, Pa. A tasty lunch at the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe was both tasty and filling. The bakery/cafe opened in 2011 and is one of many eateries in this community – a testament to the tourism brought to this trail town of 59!

The Yak and the Trail

Our first 11 miles of trail, between Ohiopyle and Confluence, are five-star rated by National Geographic. They write, “The beauty of the Southern Ohiopyle section of the trail rivals that of the Northern section. Rapids abound and there are plenty of places to leave the trail and find your way down to the rivers edge.”

One cannot overstate how gorgeous this part of the ride was; the rapids of the Yak River and the just-beginning-to-bloom flora around the trail were simply picturesque.

There is also history along the trail. The occasional marker recalls the mills and pioneers that once settled this wilderness. Maple syrup, rye whiskey, grist and saw mills were all trades undertaken by these early settlers.

Dry laid stone wall along the GAP

Little is remaining from the earliest settlers, but a marker near a dry-laid stone wall recalled these early Scots-Irish and German pioneers. Looking carefully, one can also spot what would have been the channels diverting water to and from the mills in the area.

This is the first part of a multi-part series on the Great Allegheny Passage. The next segment will be about the community of Confluence, Pa. The remainder of my photos from the GAP Trip are available on flickr.