Pittsburgh City Trails

Pittsburgh will surprise you with a number of walking and biking trails right in the heart of the big city. Don’t waste another minute – pack your bags, stow your bike and get to America’s Most Livable City to experience the great outdoors!

The North Shore Trail runs five miles along the Allegheny River. Consider parking at Washington’s Landing, head north-east (away from Downtown), past Three Rivers Rowing boathouse, under an overpass and you’ll find the North Shore Trail. There you’ll find a brick archway that seems like a trail portal.

The trail along Washington’s Landing has beautiful scenery, several nice little gazebos, and a bistro/café where the trail actually passes between the building and the patio.

The switchback ramp connecting Washington’s Landing with the mainland has a couple of fun 180 degree turns. Once on the mainland, the trail starts as a dirt path along a city street. As you approach the Heinz Lofts you’ll see a half-dozen large metal boxes between the trail and the street, these are the “free blue bikes” that are available for public use.

At the West End Bridge the North Side Trail becomes known as The Chateau Trail and ends at Westhall Street about a quarter mile from the McKees Rocks Bridge.

The trail along Allegheny Landing located between the Ninth Street Pier and Fort Duquesne Bridge in Pittsburgh is a sculpture park with labor as its theme. It is accessible and accommodates people arriving on foot, on bikes, in wheelchairs and in boats. The upper level is comprised of irregular bluestone paving and trees provide shaded spaces to relax in the summer. The lower level is concrete imprinted with plants and brings you within right alongside the river. The park also has abundant seating positioned for spectacular river and city views.

Statues & Memorials:
Roberto Clemente: Right-fielder, Golden Glove recipient, Baseball Hall of Famer and great humanitarian, Robert Clemente played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. A statue depicting his 3000th Major League Baseball hit is located outside PNC Park. First base has soil from Puerto Rico (his birth place), second base has soil from Forbes Field (his home field for many years) and third base contains soil from Three Rivers Stadium, (the stadium in which he played). Sadly, Clemente was killed in a plane crash bringing relief to Nicaraguan refugees.

Willie Stargell: Number 8, Willie Stargell was bigger than life when he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s. His statue is poised to hit a baseball. He was affectionately called “Pops” and hit three home runs in the 1979 World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Back to the trail continue west:
Korean War Veterans’ Memorial: Positioned and shaped to capture sunlight through its vertical design, the memorial stands as a testament to the veterans of the Korean War. As the sun travels the horizon, columns of light shine onto the ground with words highlighting veterans’ experiences during the war.

Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial: Bronze sculptures depict soldiers reuniting with their families, touching memories for many veterans of the Vietnam War. Figures are surrounded by a steel dome based on the shape of an inverted lotus blossom, a Buddhist symbol of peace.

Ever Watchful: The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: features a figurative sculpture of an officer looking over his shoulder, keeping watch over the city.

Langley Observatory Clock: Inspired by the astronomer and astrophysicist Samuel P. Langley who headed Allegheny Observatory from 1867 to 1891. With its form and materials, the artwork depicts the passage of time and the industrial history of the city.

Mister Rogers Tribute To Children: Enter this quiet place to reflect on the life of native son, Fred Rogers. His familiar pose, in sneakers and sweater, reminds visitors of his message of neighborliness and legacy of love.

Museums and Culture:
Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History: Offers a history lesson on photography. The Museum, designed in the Victorian style, features the early era of picture-taking with period music playing in the background.

Andy Warhol Museum: A celebration of the life and work of Pittsburgh artist Andy Warhol with an extensive collection of pop art.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: Encourages children to learn through play using a variety of interactive exhibits and crafts.

Mattress Factory: A contemporary art museum with different rooms or environments created by various local, national and international artists.

Carnegie Science Center: Combines hands-on exhibits, robot exhibition, SportsWorks, planetarium, OMNIMAX Theater and fun for all ages. Located at One Allegheny Ave.

Manchester Craftsman’s Guild: Provides art education, jazz concerts and after-school activities.


At the Fort Duquesne Bridge, there’s a series of ramps that lead to the bridge’s footpath. The trip across the Allegheny is brief, and probably represents the biggest climb of the day. The bridge ramp leads to Point State Park in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. It’s okay to ride your bike out of the Park but you cannot ride around the actual fountain – there are “no bike” signs in that section. Once outside the park, cross over Liberty Avenue to the Boulevard of the Allies and turn right at the Smithfield Street Bridge. Cross the Monongahela River using the sidewalk on the Smithfield Street Bridge.

Take the first right turn off the bridge, descending toward the Grand Concourse Restaurant and keep left at the Landmarks Bldg (marked with P&LERR sign), down a short flight of stairs leading to the trail. Make a right turn on the trail.

The trail leads south along the Monongahela River. There’s a four-block section that’s not complete yet, so turn right on Second, left on McKean, left on Fourth, straight on 4th (onto cobblestones, at Bingham), across the RR tracks, then right on the trail. The signs are good. Just past the detour, you will be on the South Side Trail.


The South Side Trail is 4.62 miles in length and is part of the almost completed 37-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail that runs along the Monongahela River and parallels to an active rail track (with a separating fence). On this scenic trail you can spend a great day of fishing, picnicking or boating. The South Side Trail is mostly paved and there are many places along the trail to see the active barges on the river along with old buildings and abandoned barges of the past. The trail is used for biking, walking and skating. It also takes a detour across the Hot Metal Bridge and connects with the Eliza Furnace Trail (part of
the 150 mile Great Allegheny Passage) to Schenley Park in Oakland and to downtown at First Avenue.

The central area of the trail is the South Side Riverfront Park. The park’s entrance is at 18th Street on the shore of the Monongahela River and features a picnic area, public boat launch, canoe launch and the trail head of the Riverfront/South Side Trail.

At the Smithfield Street Bridge the South Side Trail ends and the trail becomes known as the Station Square Trail which ends at the Duquesne Incline.

Museums and Culture along the way on and off the trail:
The Bost Building: Built in 1892 as a hotel, it became the center of American labor history’s most dramatic episode – the Homestead Lockout and Strike. Located at 623 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead, and part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

City Theatre: A professional not-for-profit performing arts organization specializes in the production of new plays and is made up of several theatres, rehearsal areas and prop studios.

La Fond Galleries: Exhibits contemporary art in an award-winning building designed by architect Ross Bianco. There are two galleries located on street level, with one of those housed in a two story atrium.

Carnegie Library South Side Branch: Offers Wi-Fi, computers for public use, books, videos and CDs. The Library also offers a place for rest and quiet thought.

The Michael Berger Gallery: Is a not-for-profit enterprise underwritten by the Michael and Sherle Berger Foundation. The Foundation serves the community by enabling the Gallery to exhibit original works of art by internationally prominent and emerging artists and to sell them at prices affordable to the average art collector.

Duquesne Incline: One of Pittsburgh’s most recognizable icons. This attraction has served as public transportation, via funicular railway, since 1877. Utilizing two original 1877 cable cars, the Duquesne Incline is a working museum. The Upper Station, on Grandview Avenue, includes a platform for the public to view the Incline’s historic hoisting equipment, as well as displays regarding the history of the Incline and the City of Pittsburgh. The spacious
Observation Deck overlooks the beautiful Golden Triangle of Downtown Pittsburgh, and surrounding area including the upper Ohio River valley and lower Allegheny River Valley, ranked the second most beautiful view by newspaper USAToday. You are permitted to transport your bike on the incline during off-peak rush hours.

Sculpture of George Washington with Seneca leader Guyasuta : Atop Mount Washington is a very special bronze monument entitled, “Point of View” by James A. West, a local Pittsburgh sculptor. The two figures are shown at an overnight Council Fire in October 1770 discussing the future of this highly prized region.

There is a split between two paths. Make a slight right uphill, and to stay on the actual South Side Trail, which has parallel paved and unpaved sections.

The parallel paved and limestone paths diverge. Stay on the paved path, which leads to a dead-end, you don’t have to backtrack, just look for a passage in the trees on the left and you’ll be on the unpaved trail and back on course.

Continue south, you are now on the Baldwin Borough Trail, as you pass the Steelers training field. If you look further down the Mon River you can see glimpses of the Glenwood Bridge and the blue tubes of Sandcastle Water Park in the distance. Eventually you will come to a sign that says “end of trail”, continue on the pavement until it dead-ends in a little paved loop by the train tracks. The ballast is dangerous, sharp, and very close to an active train track. It’s not recommended to continue beyond the trail end.

Turn around for a short ride to the Hot Metal Bridge which includes a bike lane. On the other side of the Mon River, turn right for about a 1/2 mile, and enter the Eliza Furnace Trail. (marked by a water fountain). This is a wide, paved trail. In contrast to the shaded and picturesque trail on the west bank, the Eliza Furnace (also known as the “Jail Trail” because it runs alongside the county jail) is urban, flat, paved, and wide–much nicer than the road.

Take the trail to the end at Golden Triangle Bike Rentals (Gatorade machine), ride a ramp up to the Smithfield Street Bridge, then down Boulevard of the Allies to Point State Park. After going through the park’s tunnel you bear right to get on the Ft. Duquesne Bridge. On the North Shore, use the ramps to get off the bridge and down to the street, no need to lug your bike on stairs.

Clock time is about 3 hours, riding time about 2 hours with a few stops along the way, total distance is 23 mph.

This is a very nice ride; it’s a varied, flat trail with lots of different views.

For more information, additional itineraries and services on the Great Allegheny Passage, visit www.gaptrail.org.


Region: Great Allegheny Passage
Activity: Bicycling, History

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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