The Big Savage Tunnel is Closed for the Winter but the Great Allegheny Passage Isn’t!

Just because the Big Savage Tunnel is closed until April doesn’t mean that you can’t use the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail during the winter months. There are still lots of things to do in the Trail Towns. Although the trail may only be bike-able if you have a fat bike or a ski bike, there are other outdoor activities and events in the Trail Towns that are just as fun.

Photo by Paul WiegmanFor instance, you could take a trip down to the Levi Deal Mansion in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, spend the night, and rent a pair of snowshoes to hike on the trail for the day. Ohiopyle also has plenty of attractions year round. For those who love adventure, there is ice climbing available not far from the GAP trail. You can also catch a shuttle to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob House, which are especially impressive when covered in a serene blanket of snow.  You can also travel between the towns by cross country skiing, which is a fantastic way to use the trail and experience winter in the Laurel Highlands.  There is also Ohiopyle’s Winterfest, which provides opportunities to try different outdoor winter activities to see what appeals best to you.

Several of the Trail Towns also host indoor events during the winter months. For instance, Confluence hosts its Sip and Stitch on the second Tuesday of every month where you can grab a cup of tea and work on your latest knitting project. They also have a bluegrass jam session called Fiddleheads that happens the third Tuesday of every month. Rockwood’s Mill Shoppes and Opera House also hosts a variety of family-friendly events ranging from plays, to music, to themed dinners, although it changes month to month.

You can also use the GAP trail to bike up to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for their annual Winter Beerfest. It hosts up to three hundred craft beers from around the country. There is unlimited sampling, food, and about ten thousand other craft beer enthusiasts. In Southside Works, which is right off the GAP trail, there is a Chili+Winter Festival too. This family-friendly event has chili samples from a variety of restaurants, ice sculptures to marvel at, and local crafts and goods for purchase.