Exploring the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage

Granite monument at the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.

The Mason and Dixon Line Park is a small but educational park at the southernmost point of the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania.

History of the land dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland that lead to the surveying of the Mason and Dixon line.
History of the land dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland that lead to the surveying of the Mason and Dixon line.

Surveyed to settle a land dispute between two prominent English colonial families (the Penns and the Calverts), the Mason-Dixon line later became famous as the line between free and slave states prior to the Civil War.

Granite monument showing the family crests of both the Penn and Calvert families at the Mason and Dixon Line Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.
Granite monument showing the family crests of both the Penn and Calvert families at the Mason and Dixon Line Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Today this is a beautiful rest stop along the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150 mile rail trail between Cumberland, MD and Pittsburgh, PA.

The granite Mason and Dixon "sitting blocks" at he Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.
The granite Mason and Dixon “sitting blocks” at the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.

How to Find the Mason and Dixon Line Park

The Mason and Dixon Line Park is located a mile south of the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage, at the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

A map to the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.
A map to the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.

The closest trail head to the park in Pennsylvania is located at Deal in Somerset County, 4 miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line at GPS coordinates 39.76149, -78.93096.

The Deal Trail Head of the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
The Deal Trail Head of the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County.

From Deal you simply head south on the Great Allegheny Passage, where initially you’ll cross the Eastern Continental Divide one mile into your journey.

The Eastern Continental Divide, just north of the Big Savage Tunnel and the Mason and Dixon Park, along the Great Allegheny Passage.
The Eastern Continental Divide, just north of the Big Savage Tunnel and the Mason and Dixon Park, along the Great Allegheny Passage.

A mile south of the Eastern Continental Divide, you’ll come to the Big Savage Tunnel, which itself is more than half a mile long.

Bicycle at the northern portal of the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Bicycle at the northern portal of the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail in Somerset County.

Exiting the tunnel, you’ll pass the Big Savage Overlook.

Big Savage Overlook along the Great Allegheny Passage, just north of the Mason and Dixon Park in Somerset County.
Big Savage Overlook along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Finally, 4 miles south of Deal, you’ll reach the Mason and Dixon Line Park, at GPS coordinates 39.72287, -78.90284.

Granite obelisk marking the Mason-Dixon Line along the Great Allegheny Passage.
Granite obelisk marking the Mason-Dixon Line along the Great Allegheny Passage.

What You’ll See at the Mason and Dixon Line Park

There are several informational displays at the Mason and Dixon Line Park that help you understand not only the historical significance of the survey, but also how it was actually done.

Techniques used to survey the Mason-Dixon line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, on display at the Mason and Dixon Line Park.
Techniques used to survey the Mason-Dixon line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

A cast bronze marker plate with a replica survey-chain and Mason and Dixon’s signatures makes for a great “straddling the border” photo-op.

A bicycle straddling the Mason-Dixon Line along the Great Allegheny Passage at the Mason and Dixon Line Park.
A bicycle straddling the Mason-Dixon Line along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Granite “sitting blocks” that spell out “Mason & Dixon” are also Instagram-worthy.

Granite blocks that spell out "Mason & Dixon" along the Great Allegheny Passage.
Granite blocks that spell out “Mason & Dixon” along the Great Allegheny Passage.

The Mason and Dixon Line Park was dedicated on June 20, 2014, and is just one of many historically significant stops along the 150 mile Great Allegheny Passage.

Sign denoting the sponsors of the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.
Sign denoting the sponsors of the Mason and Dixon Line Park along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Nearby Attractions

If your hiking/biking to the Mason and Dixon Line Park from the PA side, you can’t help but pass through the  3,294 foot long Big Savage Tunnel.

Bicycle at the southern portal of the Big Savage Tunnel, just north of the Mason and Dixon Line Park.
Bicycle at the southern portal of the Big Savage Tunnel, just north of the Mason and Dixon Line Park.

The Big Savage Tunnel is is one of the structural marvels of Pennsylvania, opened in 1912 and abandoned in 1975.

The well-lit and refurbished Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County PA.
The well-lit and refurbished Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage in Somerset County, PA.

The Salisbury Viaduct is another amazing engineering marvel along the Great Allegheny Passage, and is roughly 10 miles north of the Big Savage Tunnel.

Rusty Glessner taking in the sunrise over the Salisbury Viaduct.
The author standing on the Salisbury Viaduct at sunrise along the Great Allegheny Passage.

The views from the Salisbury Viaduct are incredible, and for many folks this is one of the highlights of the entire 150 mile-long Great Allegheny Passage.

An epic sunset over the Salisbury Viaduct along the Great Allegheny Passage.
An epic sunset over the Salisbury Viaduct along the Great Allegheny Passage.

If mountain vistas are your thing, be sure to check out “The 14 Best Scenic Overlooks in the Laurel Highlands” for directions to ALL the best views in the area!

The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook.
The author photographing an autumn sunrise at Baughman Rock Overlook in the PA Laurel Highlands.

The Laurel Highlands are home to an incredible array of waterfalls – be sure to check out “23 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands” for directions to the best ones!

The author at Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
The author at Yoder Falls in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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