Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

Quick Facts

Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site


(814) 886-6150

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad constructed over the Allegheny Mountains. The Allegheny Portage Railroad operated between 1834-1854 and was considered a technological wonder in its day and played a critical role in opening the interior of the United States to trade and settlement. Built on a system of ten inclined planes and a nine hundred food tunnel carved through solid rock, it played a vital role in linking eastern United States to the west. Stretching across 36.6 miles, the park is narrow and linear. Natural resources common to the northeastern Appalachian region, such as oak forests and white-tailed deer, can be seen along the historic railroad trace and throughout the surrounding lands. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site is located in southwestern Pennsylvania approximately 12 miles west of Altoona, between Johnstown and Hollidaysburg. Today's park covers 1249 acres. The main unit contains the Summit Level Visitor Center, the historic Lemon House, Engine House #6 Exhibit Shelter, the Skew Arch Bridge, picnic area and hiking trails. The Staple Bend Tunnel unit is located approximately 4 miles east of Johnstown, PA. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site continues to host a summer lecture and concert series on Saturdays.

Map of Allegheny Portage Railroad

Latitude, Longitude: 40.469166, -78.544874



  • Bicycling

    Bring your bike and ride the 2.5-mile trail back to the historic Staple Bend Tunnel.

  • Hiking

    The Allegheny Portage Railroad has many trails and places to explore. Hike the old trace of the level sections of incline planes 10 through 6. Take a stroll down to the Skew Arch Bridge or relax and walk the Nature Trail.

  • Historic Sites

    The visitor center, located immediately off of US Route 22 at the Gallitzin Exit, is the best place to start your tour. The park moviegives a concentrated overview of the park story and lasts approximately twenty minutes. The movie is a dramatic interpretation of what it was like to work and travel on the Portage Railroad.

    The Engine House 6 Exhibit Shelter contains a reproduction of the machinery that would be in Engine House 6. At the top of incline #6 were several buildings. Among them was a building to house the stationary steam engines. While actual plans for the buildings have not been located, remains of the foundation for the engine house are preserved in an unique exhibit structure. Within the Engine House 6 shelter building are exhibits to explain the workings of an engine house and a "Discovery Room" of interactive exhibits. At the east side of the Engine House Exhibit Shelter is a platform that permits you to look down the length of Incline 6 to the Skew Arch Bridge. The Bridge can be enjoyed close up by hiking down the trail or driving to the traffic island on which it is preserved. In the area surrounding the Engine House are places for demonstrations of period work skills. When the weather cooperates costumed rangers will help immerse you into the 1840s.

    The Lemon House is a restored 1840s stone house. While the house is on its original location, there is a great scarcity of information available about the home. Plans or contracts for building the house remain elusive. Documentary evidence is lacking to explain how the tavern was operated and what the menu may have been. Much of the restoration was founded on archeology work, period artwork, and documentation of other 19th century taverns in the local area.

  • Picnicking

    There are tables near the park visitor center for those wishing to have a quick meal or snack. Alternatively, some visitors enjoy using the empty amphitheater as a resting place. A shaded picnic area with a covered shelter and comfort station is located a half mile walk from the park's historic area. There is parking much closer but it is a separate area of the summit facilities.

    For the picnic area only, drivers take the Cresson Summit exit of U.S. Route 22. Westbound drivers take the exit marked "Cresson Summit" and turn left at the end of the exit ramp. The picnic area is on the left side of 'old route 22' and is marked with a large wooden sign. Eastbound drivers take the exit marked "Summit" NOT the Cresson US Route 53 exit that preceeds it. At the end of the ramp turn right onto 'old route 22' and watch for the wooden sign on the left as you start down the long hill.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter sports are available.



The park is located just off U.S. 22 approximately 12 miles west of Altoona and 10 miles east of Ebensburg. Take the Gallitzin Exit and follow the signs.


Approximately 2 1/2 hours from Greater Pittsburgh International Airport. Commuter flights may be available to the Johnstown Municipal Airport (45 minutes away) or the Altoona/Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, PA (45 minutes away).

Public Transportation

Amtrak stops in Johnstown and Altoona. There is no public transportation to or within the park.

Phone Numbers


(814) 886-6150