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Introduction

The Great Allegheny Passage is crosses paths of trade and conquest, exploration and conflict. It will take you along the route trod by George Washington and countless Indians; the armies of the French who came to conquer the frontier and the British colonials who came to force them out. You'll travel along the waterways where pioneers built flatboats to ride the spring floods to their new homes in the west and where later farmers and miners took their products to market. You'll pass through what once was one of the most industrialized areas in the world.

In its journey from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Passage crosses the Mason-Dixon Line, the Eastern Continental Divide and runs through spectacular water gaps and gorges, often through miles of near-wilderness. The traveler passes by the sites of long-cold iron furnaces and coke ovens and a modern steel mill; dozens of worked-out coal mines and even through a couple of dairy farms.

These now-peaceful valleys were once the scene of tragic mining accidents where hundreds died and where, in the late 19th and 20th centuries labor and capitol clashed over working conditions and wages. You'll pass the owners' mansions and the laborers' company houses.

You'll experience all this history on a trail that's quiet, clean and safe, where you can pause and absorb the events that shaped the region and the nation, often on the very spot where they occurred. And, best of all, you're doing it under your own power and at your own pace.
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