The trail starts at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and connects with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park which follows the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland; a distance of 184 miles. From Cumberland, the trail follows the Great Allegheny Passage towards Pittsburgh, turning off at Garrett to the Flt. 93 Memorial at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.The trail continues east to New York City following many existing trails across Pennsylvania, with the final leg from New York City to the Pentagon mostly following the East Coast Greenway.

The trail is shaped as a triangle forever connecting these three sites.

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