Conquering the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) with friends and lots of camera gear

Join me on an incredible four-day journey as we cycle along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) bike trail from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cumberland, MD. With my Trek bike, biking accessories, and camera gear in tow, we set out to explore the stunning landscapes and historical landmarks along this iconic trail.


For this trip, I took my Trek bike, fitted for maximum comfort and efficiency. To capture the breathtaking scenery, I brought along a Nikon Z 30 camera, a DJI Mini Pro drone, and an Insta360 x3 for immersive 360 shots. I did encounter some color issues in a few scenes, but overall, the equipment performed exceptionally well.

Traveling with my bike on a rack, my Tesla’s range was affected, requiring two charging stops on the way back and one en route to Pittsburgh. Despite this minor inconvenience, the Autosteer convenience and pleasure of driving the Tesla made the journey enjoyable.

The Adventure:

Beginning in Pittsburgh, we embarked on a cycling adventure that took us through the city’s industrial suburbs, past its famous amusement park, Kennywood, and along the Monongahela River. As we ventured further, we passed through peaceful stretches adorned with towns that once flourished with mining, steel, and glass industries. The trail followed the winding Youghiogheny River, leading us through the oldest and most popular section of the trail in Ohiopyle State Park. Here, we witnessed dramatic rocky outcroppings, wooded banks, and cascading waterfalls that captivated our senses.

Underestimating the impact of the additional weight and 2% incline, the trail proved more challenging than anticipated. However, the wonderful camaraderie, friendly people we met along the way and the awe-inspiring landscapes made it worthwhile. In Ohiopyle, I had a setback when I cut my foot on a sharp concrete edge while retrieving my laundry after dark. This meant I had to at least skip the third day, possibly to go home altogether and give up the trail.

Continuing the journey, the rest of the group rode through charming towns like Confluence, where the Youghiogheny and Casselman Rivers converge with Laurel Hill Creek. The surrounding mountains and the recreational opportunities offered by the Youghiogheny Lake River Recreation Area added to the allure of this area. They pedaled on, crossing viaducts, and experiencing breathtaking views as we made their way to Meyersdale. The trail led them through tunnels, including the newly restored Pinkerton Tunnel, and offered scenic river overlooks that allowed them to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

Fortunately, we could patch up my foot and a day’s rest allowed me to rejoin the group for Day 4. I was happy with this turn of events because I really didn’t want to go home early.

As we continued our journey from Meyersdale to Cumberland, we encountered a series of impressive landmarks. The 909-foot Keystone Viaduct gracefully curves over Flaughtery Creek to the east of town, offering a scenic view of the surrounding landscape. To the west, the 1,908-foot Salisbury Viaduct soars above the Casselman River, providing a remarkable vantage point. Just a short ride away, cyclists can explore the decorative iron Bollman Bridge and venture through the 3,294-foot Big Savage Tunnel, the longest tunnel on the Great Allegheny Passage. This tunnel, with its dimly lit interior, creates an immersive experience that heightens the sense of adventure along the trail.

Another notable feature along this section of the trail is the Eastern Continental Divide, which serves as the high point of the GAP at an elevation of 2,392 feet above sea level. This scenic location offers a great photo opportunity for day riders and those embarking on multi-day trips.

As we approached Cumberland, we were rewarded with a sense of accomplishment for completing this memorable journey. The Great Allegheny Passage highlights the rich history of the region, from its origins as an abandoned railway corridor to its transformation into a thriving destination for cyclists, runners, and walkers. The trail is maintained by dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure it remains safe and enjoyable for thousands of visitors each year.


After returning home, I spent some time learning how to use Davinci Resolve Studio to edit the video footage from our adventure. Below is the final video, highlighting the beauty and challenges of the Great Allegheny Passage.


Our four-day adventure on the GAP trail provided an unforgettable perspective on this iconic route. Despite the challenges, we created lasting memories, reveled in the natural beauty, and appreciated the historical significance of the trail. Don’t hesitate to embark on your own cycling adventure!

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