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Best Fall Trips 2012: The 141 mile Great Allegheny Passage rail trail

The 141-mile Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) rail-trail winds over the rivers and through the woods of western Maryland and southwestern Pennsylvania. Built mainly on abandoned rail beds, the packed, crushed limestone route is free of motorized vehicles. A 15-mile-an-hour speed limit ensures a leisurely pace for cycling, hiking, strolling, and birding. Spend a weekend, or a full week, exploring part of the route and the historic trail towns along the way.

Frostburg, Maryland (mile 15), hosts the Appalachian Festival, September 14-15, on the Frostburg State University campus. Free events include regional music and dance, goat milking and beekeeping, and traditional arts and crafts. October 5-7 is PumpkinFest in Confluence, Pennsylvania (mile 60), and the West Newton, Pennsylvania (mile 114), Miracle on Main Street Parade and Light Up Night is November 24.

Extend your ride all the way to Washington, D.C. (about 334 miles total) via the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath. Mountainside Bike Tours specializes in custom Washington-to-Pittsburgh itineraries. Options include lodging, gourmet meals, luggage transport, and side trips to Antietam National Battlefield and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

Read the other selections here.
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