Mountain Maryland Scenic Byway

An aerial view of a train docked at a small depot station surrounded by trees full of yellow fall leaves.
13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21532

About the Byway

Once a major center in the US coal industry, the Georges Creek Valley was historically known as "The Big Vein" for its thick seam of bituminous coal, famous for its clean-burning, low-sulfur content that made it ideal for powering ocean steamers, riverboats, locomotives, steam mills, and machine shops. Due to the discovery of the bituminous coal, Lonaconing built the Iron Furnace, which was the first in the United States to successfully use coal and coke fuel, rather than charcoal, to produce pig iron. The massive furnace produced nearly 75 tons of iron per week at its height of production and supplied dowels for the C&O Canal's lock walls. With coal as the main export, at the advent of the railroad, rail lines were built from Westernport to Frostburg and Cumberland to transport products across the country, with Allegany County lines including the George's Creek and Cumberland Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.


Exploring the Byway

The Mountain Maryland Scenic Byway begins in the heart of Cumberland at the Canal Place Heritage Park and Western Maryland Railway Station, where you can enjoy recreation on the C&O Canal Towpath, Great Allegheny Passage, and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad excursion train. Follow Route 40 and Route 36 through the Narrows and historic Mount Savage, where the very first iron rails were produced for rail lines in the United States. Continue on the route to explore the Evergreen Heritage Center, complete with the brand new Living Off the Land Agricultural Museum, and the City of Frostburg's Main Street and Arts and Entertainment District. Stop into the Frostburg Museum for a look at the area's coal mining history and the life of the citizens of Frostburg during its foundational years. As you continue on Route 36 down through Lonaconing and Westernport, stop at the Lefty Grove Memorial Park, the Iron Furnace and Park, and the Westernport Railroading Museum. As you make your way back to Cumberland on Route 220, stop off at some of the Potomac River access points for fishing or paddle trips. 


Points of Interest Along the Byway

C&O Canal National Historical Park and Towpath
13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD
Evergreen Heritage Center
15603 Trimble Road NW, Mt. Savage, MD
Dans Rock Overlook
Old Dan's Rock Road SW, Midland, MD
Lonaconing Iron Furnace and Park
Main Street, Lonaconing, MD
Lefty Grove Memorial Park
3 Union Street, Lonaconing, MD
Dans Mountain State Park
Recreation Road, Lonaconing, MD
Black Oak Bottom Boat Access
Black Oak Road, Rawlings, MD