GAP Mile 60-95: Confluence, Ohiopyle & Connellsville

Tags on this page: Ohiopyle, Connellsville,GAP, Bike Packing, Bike Touring, Lodging, Camping

Confluence is an outdoor recreation person's dream.  So named because it is the confluence of the Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers and provides excellent rafting and trout fishing!  Numerous B&B's, restaurants, bike shop, and other services as well as a great bike-friendly Army Corp of Engineers Outflow campground, all located near the GAP.    If you are a fly fisher you will want to break out your pole while in Confluence with excellent fly fishing found right in town on both the Casselman and Youghiogheny rivers.  And while riding west, strap your pole on your bike.  There are numerous river access points along

on the GAP  between Confluence and Ohiopyle and cold water released from the Youghiogheny dam keeps the middle stretch of the river (the stretch running roughly between Confluence and Connellsville) fishable most of the year, even in the hot summer. This section is heavily stocked with fingerlings several times a year and the entire stretch is fair to good trout water.  

 

The eleven-mile section from Confluence to the town of Ohiopyle is one of our favorites on the GAP, with limited-to-no development and road crossing once you leave Confluence.  Cyclists will parallel the Youghiogheny River keeping company with river rafters and kayakers, fly fishers, hikers and a Bald Eagle or two.  Mountain Laurel, the Pennsylvania state flower is found alongside the GAP in abundance in this section. 

Ohiopyle is another great Trail town that understands outdoor recreation.  The small town with a population of 59 (US Census) is surrounded by 20,500-acre Ohiopyle State Park This area has been a tourist attraction since the nineteenth century for the cool climate, waterfalls, outdoor recreation and the numerous resorts that were built along the Youghiogheny River.  While most of the old resorts are gone, modern day tourism began in the 1960's with what is now called adventure sports; notably white-water rafting at Ohiopyle.  With the advent of the completion of the GAP, cyclists will find thousands of tourists visiting this town on weekends and restaurants and B&B's can fill up fast.  Plan on stopping here for the many photo opportunities and great food.  Two of our favorites eateries are the Falls Market Restaurant and the Ohiopyle House Café.  Be sure to visit the visitors center observation decks. 

Less than a half mile from departing Ohiopyle west, cyclists will find another excuse for stopping at the aptly named Ohiopyle High Bridge, a 663" railroad bridge above the Youghiogheny where rafters and kayakers can be observed "shooting" the rapids. 

 

After leaving the crowds and activity of the town of Ohiopyle, riders for the next fifteen miles will enjoy again the serenity and beauty of Ohiopyle State Park.  Like the ride approaching the town of Ohiopyle, this section features little to no man made intrusions.

Approaching the town of Connelsville, cyclists are met with uninspiring views from inspiring railroad bridges of industrial areas necessary to support the economy of a small Western Pennsylvania town and surrounding  region.  The history of Connelsvile is an interesting one; this town of about 7,000 had a populations of 22,000 at the turn of the twenty century and due to coal and coke production in the 1800's was reputed to have more millionaires per capita than any other US city.   As better heating sources than the coal and coke produced in this area evolved, the economy of the area faltered.  Connellsville, only 50 miles from, Pittsburgh offers many varied amenities for users of the GAP which runs right through the middle of the town.  There is a bike shop, several B&B's including our favorite the Connellsville Bed and Breakfast, the Cobblestone hotel and suites, and several good places to eat.  Try the Valley Dairy for diner style food and great milkshakes!  There is a supermarket on the west end of Connellsville GAP and although we have never done so, cyclists can overnight at one of the nearby Adirondacks.   

 

Just 3 miles west of Connellsville is the very nice Rivers Edge KOA which features cabin rentals (unfortunately now a 2 night minimum which is not very GAP through-rider useful,) tent sites, clean showers and a swimming pool.   Our experience with Rivers Edges has been that the campground is well managed and does not seem to experience the noise often prevalent in these commercial type campgrounds that cater to travel trailers.  Once again, ear plugs are helpful as the  railroad tracks are just across the river. 

 
 

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