• Photo of Lemon House, Level #6, and Engine House on a beautiful summer day.

    Allegheny Portage Railroad

    National Historic Site Pennsylvania

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  • Picnic Area Road Paving Project

    The park picnic area will be closed from 10/6/2014-10/10/2014 for repaving. The picnic area is schedule to reopen on 10/11/2014. Check back for more updates.

Natural Features & Ecosystems


The mountainous terrain of the Allegheny Mountain section of the Appalachian Plateau posed a problem to the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal, leading to the creation and use of incline planes that came to be known as the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The terrain-influenced form of transit, once novel and innovative for its time, is the backbone of the park’s history.

The Main Unit of Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS lies on a dividing ridge of the Allegheny Mountains that separates two major drainage basins: the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Ohio River basin. The headwaters to Blair Gap Run, which eventually flow to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, are found within the park. At the Staple Bend Tunnel Unit, seeps and intermittent streams are found along the historic railroad trace, which is now a hiking and biking trail. These flow into the Little Conemaugh River, which eventually joins the Ohio River.

Did You Know?

Railroad track attached to a 'sleeper'

When the Portage Railroad opened on March 18, 1834, it was a single track line. The rule was when 2 drivers met the one who had passed the center post had the right to go on. The other driver had to back up. Some sat nose to nose until a magistrate determined who got to the center first.