western entrance to the tunnel
Watch the closing of the tunnel
great views from the big savage tunnel
The tunnel is closed during the winter scheduled to reopen the first week in April
One of my favorite landmarks on the GAP is the Big Savage Tunnel. On a sizzling hot day in 2010, I climbed the 20+ miles from Cumberland to the Big Savage Tunnel. It was a little before noon and the air temperature was already 94 degrees with no clouds in the sky. The sun was baking me on the climb. The Big Savage Tunnel is at the top of the climb and was a welcome treat because it's like a giant natural refrigerator. The air temperature inside the tunnel was easily 20 degrees cooler than outside. It was so much cooler that a thick fog had formed reducing my vision significantly. The fog was so dense that the ceiling lights weren't able to light the trail...I couldn't see the ground I was riding on. Halfway through the tunnel I could hear the voices of other bikers but they were hidden in the thick fog. They were slowly riding towards me and only became visible once they were within 20 feet from me. It was the coolest thing.
One of the most spectacular views along the GAP is on the southern end of the tunnel. From the top of Big Savage Mountain you can see for miles. The banner image at the top of this page was taken from that vantage point. It's difficult to make out in that image, but the town of Cumberland lays in the distant valley.
Here's some more details about the tunnel: The Big Savage Tunnel is an abandoned railway tunnel located about 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. The Big Savage, Borden Tunnel, and Brush Tunnels are part of the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail. It was originally built for the Connellsville subdivision of the Western Maryland Railway. The mountain and tunnel are named for John Savage, an early surveyor who narrowly avoided becoming a victim of cannibalism in the area in 1736.
The tunnel was renovated for use on the Great Allegheny Passage trail. It is the longest tunnel on the trail. The tunnel is closed between roughly December 15 and April 10 each winter to protect it from icing damage.
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