If your New Year’s resolution is to get into shape and lose weight — a perpetual wish for many Americans — by hiking, biking or jogging along parts of the 150-mile trail that connects Pittsburgh with Cumberland, Md., there’s a new book that will enhance your time doing it.

In his “Great Allegheny Passage Companion,” Bill Metzger, 75, of the Somerset County trail town of Confluence, has compiled a mile-by-mile review of what one can see along the Great Allegheny Passage — what once was the Yough River Trail in Westmoreland and Fayette counties. He has filled it with trail maps highlighting the topography, details that can’t be found in the thin trail brochure at visitor centers and historic photographs, many from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Readers will learn about the geography around the trail, the geology of the area and histories of the towns and people who have lived in the area that would become the trail.

Metzger said he wrote the book so those who use the Great Allegheny Passage can learn about the communities people walk by or riders pedal through. One hundred thirty miles of the trail lie within the state, and the focus of three-fourths of the Metzger’s 319-page book is the Pennsylvania segment of the trail. It is likely that no other author has compiled so much history of those small towns and villages in one book as Metzger has done.


A biker rides along the Great Allegheny Passage over the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park.


The trail, created along old railroad lines that served mills, coke ovens and mines from Pittsburgh through the mid-Mon Valley to McKeesport to West Newton, Connellsville and Ohiopyle, “strings together the history of Western Pennsylvania,” Metzger said. But, some of that history is hidden behind what Metzger called a “tunnel of trees” that no longer were trimmed when the railroads abandoned the corridor.

“I really want people to understand what is going on,” said Metzger, who lives a few minutes from the trail.

The book is replete with stories of the coal mines, coke ovens, lumber mills, paper mills and rail lines that forged the path for the trail, and the industrial titans — such as Andrew Carnegie, H.C. Frick and the Mellons — who owned the …….

Source: https://triblive.com/local/regional/trail-book-great-resource-for-great-allegheny-passage-hiking-biking/

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