This is a great place to stop. An overnight stay in Cumberland is always a good thing. This is my son's favorite hotel in the world (maybe because the hot tub). I must admit that the hot tub is a welcome treat after a day behind the handlebars. There's a cool pedestrian mall (Canal Place) at mile marker '0' where the GAP meets the C&O Canal with a bike shop and a restaurant. There are plenty of other lodging options including B&B's as well as mainstream hotels. There are also camping options nearby. Cumberland has a gang of lodging options, restaurants, stores, and bike shops. If you are starting your journey here, you will have no trouble obtaining bike rentals. If your plan includes riding the C&O Canal to D.C., this is a great spot to get your bike serviced, spend the night, or to pick up trail supplies. The towns along the C&O are fewer and further between so you may want to stock up. Cumberland food
Cumberland bike shops
Frostburg has a lot to offer. There are a bunch of restaurants and lodging options. Unfortunately, it's a steep climb from the trail head up to the main street in town. You will find ample hotels, campgrounds, laundromats, restaurants, & stores here. If you are heading east, you will also notice a change in the trail here. Instead of running on the grade of an abandoned railroad, the trail now runs, intermittently, alongside an active railroad track. You will also enjoy stretches of paved trail and may even see an old steam-powered locomotive competing with you to make it to Cumberland. Frostburg food
Frostburg lodging - I stayed at the Trail Inn which was comfortable and clean. Breakfast is included with the price of a private room, and they offered group rooms and tent sites.
Meyersdale is one of the larger towns and has a number of options for lodging, and food. There's no mainstream hotel but there are a handful of B&B's with the Levi Deal Mansion topping the list.
Rockwood is a nice little town. Choose from the handful of B&B's (one even has a bike shop in the back). There's a couple restaurants, a little grocery market that shares a building with the local pub and a main street with a bunch of quaint shops. Rockwood food
Confluence is one of my favorite trail towns! It's picturesque, with a gazebo positioned in the middle of the town square. There are a couple nice B&B's to choose from and there's a nice restaurant for dinner , a pub for after dinner and a diner for breakfast.
Confluence lodging - The River's Edge is my favorite place in Confluence. It's a cozy B&B located on the bank of the Youghiogheny river which is also home to the finest restaurant in town. Great river views from the porch and surrounding gardens and in the warmer months you can dine on the porch. This is a very popular destination for cyclists riding from Ohiopyle.
Ohiopyle is an excellent town to spend some time because it's Western PA's whitewater mecca. The place is packed on the weekends with kayakers, rafters and cyclists. There are a bunch of B&B's and even a small motel. I hope you made reservations in one of the many B&B's because the nearest campground is a 1000 vertical foot climb from the bike trail.
Ohiopyle food - There's a handful of spots to get a decent meal but the entire town is very tourist dependent. So there's always the chance that if the weather is bad your options may be limited.
Ohiopyle lodging - Ohiopyle has a number of options for overnight accommodations.
Connellsville’s coke factories once fueled the regional economy. Many of the town's buildings, churches and residences are indicative of this prosperous past. Today’s local favorites are Youghiogheny Glass (National Register building), Bud Murphy’s Pizza and El Canelo Mexican Restaurant. You will find the River's Edge Campground near mile marker 92 (actually located in Adelaide). It's wedged between the GAP trail and the Youghiogheny River. They have a pool, showers, supply store, restaurant, and even Chinese take-out delivery. Camping doesn't get easier than that. Click here to learn more about Connellsville.
Pampering yourself in Dawson is going to be a challenge. However, what this town lacks in gourmet dining and accommodations they make up for with campgrounds and canoe rental. This is your town if you are a camper and you have brought food with you.
The old train station has been restored and is now the Trail head Visitor's Center which has some of the nicest public restrooms on the GAP (West Newton Visitor Center 724-872-5586). Check out the restaurant overlooking the trail called the Trailside. They are famous for their strawberry salad and cold beer. There's a couple B&B's in town and primitive camping six miles south along the trail.
West Newton food
West Newton lodging
Boston has become a very popular spot to start and end trips because there's plenty of parking and it's safe (relatively) to leave your car. There's a GAP visitors center that provides the printed trail maps. There is also pizza shop a friendly pub, and a McDonalds over the bridge and up the hill.
Unfortunately, McKeesport has very little to offer in the way of amenities. The town has seen roughly half of the population move due to the general economic downturn which descended upon the region when the steel making industry moved elsewhere. Other than a quick stop at the convenience store you should just keep on pedaling. The trail passes through the Homestead Waterfront mall a four miles down the trail towards Pittsburgh. There you will find many restaurant choices in addition to lodging options.
The bike trail passes through the Homestead Waterfront Mall which offers everything you would see at a typical mall. The mall has restaurants, hotels, and lots of retail shops (although, there's no bike shop). The mall does have a Dick's Sporting Goods and a Target which would carry a minimal selection of bike equipment. Lots of good food and a couple hotel options. REI is another 4 miles down the trail, located in South Side Works mall, a little closer to Pittsburgh. They have an excellent selection of bike clothing and accessories.
Homestead food - There are too many food options to list. There's several fast food places, lots of chain restaurants like Friday's, Red Robin, Longhorn Steakhouse etc. There's a decent local brewery that's two blocks from the trail called Enix.
overnight parking is available at the Pumphouse. The Historic Pump House welcomes cyclists to the property to enjoy bike-amenities such as restrooms in the nearby Water Tower, bike racks, benches and picnic tables. Overnight and daytime parking is available in return for a small daily donation or an annual membership as a Trail Head Friend. Click here to become a friend of the Trail Head. Regardless of whether you become a friend or donate on a per usage basis, overnight parking requires you to complete a registration form. All parking is at your own risk. Rivers of Steel is not responsible for damage or theft to vehicles or vehicle contents.
You made it! Get yourself cleaned up because there's plenty to do in Pittsburgh. The trail passes within 50 feet from the bar at the Hofbrau Haus which is located on Pittsburgh's South Side. They serve giant beers and the food is decent and reasonably priced. Once you get cleaned up, ride across the Hot Metal bridge and up Panther Hollow through Shadyside to a neighborhood called Point Breeze. There you will find the Point Brugge restaurant. This place serves mussels with a red curry coconut milk sauce that is so delicious that you will want to tip the bowl back to get every last bit.
Pittsburgh lodging - there are many lodging options in Pittsburgh. The list below focuses on hotels that are on or close to the trail. For the more adventurous there are dozens of B&B's and many folks that rent out rooms through airbnb and vrbo. If you're on a tight budget I suggest you leverage the Warmshowers program.
bike shops and rentals