In addition to the trails that get you away from roads, several areas of Pittsburgh offer bike lanes that provide some separation from traffic. Bike lanes are established along Beechwood Blvd in Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill, and also in Riverview, North, and South Parks.
Two other short trails are located away from motor vehicle traffic: The former bridle trails in Schenley Park are being re-developed for biking and walking, and the former driving test course on Washington Blvd has been converted to a half-mile velodrome.
Allegheny County Parks is currently conducting a survey and inventory of the park trails. This will lead to better park maps and clarification of the opportunities for biking of all kinds. In addition, the County is looking for routes that connect the parks to the trail system and, in turn, to other parks.
These trails are in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh parks.
Park Loop on Former Bridle Trails, Schenley Park
About three miles of the Schenley park trail system have been finished in packed crushed limestone. This makes a good surface for most bicycles. The trail forms a loop that begins and ends near the only traffic light in Schenley Park. Begin just south of the intersection where Overlook Dr ends on Greenfield Rd. Drop gently down the hill and bear right into the woods. You'll be on a packed crushed stone trail with gentle grades and has great views to the south, overlooking the Parkway. In about a mile you emerge at a 3-point trail junction near the swimming pool (fee); this is the midpoint of the trail. Right takes you to the pool; left takes you down a short slope to pass under the Blvd of the Allies Bridge. Go left here. After going under the Blvd of the Allies you'll swing right, get a look down at Panther Hollow Lake, pass the entrance to a small parklet, and cross under Panther Hollow Bridge (the one with the panther statues). After most of another mile you'll reach another 3-point trail junction. The right branch takes you into the picnic area next to the traffic light where you started. The left branch at this junction lets you continue another three-quarters of a mile, gently downhill, to a fork. Left at the fork takes you a quarter-mile on unfinished, often rutted, trail to Panther Hollow Lake; right at the fork takes you half a mile to the Schenley Visitor Center near Phipps Conservatory. Although they have been finished in crushed stone, all these trails are subject to erosion.
Rest rooms and drinking water are available at many picnic groves near the trail. Light meals are served at the visitor center near Phipps. Swim in season at the park pool. Other amenities are available not far outside the park.
Anderson Playground: There is only one traffic light in Schenley Park. It's at the intersection of Greenfield Rd, Hobart St, Bartlett St, and Panther Hollow Rd (which you probably think is the extension of Boulevard of the Allies into the park). It's actually a simple intersection, but everything changes names here. This is the best access point for the trail, as there is no other road crossing. Overlook Drive runs into Greenfield Rd just south of this intersection. You can park on Overlook Drive or Bartlett St.
There is also some parking and trail access at the Anderson Playground at the midpoint of the trail. This is near the intersection of Panther Hollow Rd and Blvd of the Allies.
Along Beechwood Blvd from Fifth Av to Browns Hill Rd
Signs and white lines along Beechwood Blvd set off both sides of the road as bicycle lanes. Beechwood Blvd takes you through several traditional Pittsburgh neighborhoods, including some quite fine homes. For the most part it is wide enough for cars and bikes to co-exist. It runs almost entirely in residential areas.
The bike lanes start at 5th Av at the tennis-court entrance to Mellon Park. They wind along Beechwood Blvd for 4.0 miles up and down hill across Forbes, along the edge of Frick Park, over Squirrel Hill, and down to the intersection with Browns Hill Rd. Unfortunately, the bike lanes also serve for parking. Unless you're collecting driver-side car doors, this is not an advantage.
Extensions of the ride
Along Beechwood Blvd you'll pass Frick Park Parklet, with playground. You can ride into the playground along the fitness course. At the bottom of the sled-riding bowl, you can enter a network of mountain biking trails. Alternatively, you can follow the paved trail in the playground to the end of the pavement and continue on a gravel trail into the "roller coaster", the most difficult single-track mountain biking trail in the park.
Beechwood Blvd: Anywhere along Beechwood Blvd in Point Breeze or Squirrel Hill.
On Washington Blvd between the Housing Authority Police Dept and Allegheny River Blvd, a former driver test course has been converted to a 0.5-mile track. The oval track with banked turns has races some evenings and is open to the public at other times. The infield of to the half-mile oval still has a variety of paved streets left over from the drivers test course. When it's not busy, this is a great place to take your kids to learn to ride. Details at www.acaracing.com or 412-255-2493.
Along Riverview Drive, Riverview Park
Riverview Park is perched on the side of one of the North Hills, overlooking the Ohio River. Riverview Dr is a paved 2.1-mile loop road that includes a bicycle lane. Picnic groves are perched not far from the road wherever they can find a toehold. The bike lane is popular with pedestrians and joggers. However, the loop road is wide and one-way. Since this isn't a through route, traffic is slow and there's plenty of room to pass.
The trail is on the hillside, so it's far from flat. From the entrance near Allegheny Observatory, it runs downhill for a mile to the intersection of Riverview Drive and Woods Run Rd, then back uphill for 1.1 miles to the start. It loses 140 feet of elevation on the way down and regains it coming up.
Rest rooms and drinking water at many picnic groves near the trail. There's a swimming pool at the top of the hill. Other amenities available not far outside the park.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed northbound from Pittsburgh on US19, at the corner where US19 turns left from Marshall Av to Perrysville Av about 3 miles north of the West End Bridge.
Riverview Av: About a mile north of where US19 turns onto Perrysville Av, turn left on Riverview Av just before the Byzantine Seminary. In a tenth of a mile, turn right on Riverview Dr. Park along Riverview Dr.
Around North Park Lake, North Park
Bicyclists, joggers, walkers, skaters, baby buggies, dogs, kidcycles, and anything else that moves can be found on this very popular 5-mile loop alongside the road around North Park Lake. The lake forms an irregular "Y", and the trail follows the lake shore. Sometimes it is alongside the lake, sometimes picnic groves lay between the trail and the lake. Aside from the traffic, it's pleasant and scenic. Since this is a loop trail, it has no official ends. People start at any parking area and can go either direction. Going clockwise is the preferred direction as it has no street crossings although there are parking entrances to cross.
This is really a bike lane rather than a bike path, as it isn't very well separated from the automobile traffic. For the most part, the paved trail is directly adjacent to the road, separated only by white lines. It's narrow, too—as much as 7' wide, but don't count on more than 6'. Think of this as a 5-mile sidewalk with cross traffic minimized. The adjacent road is fairly busy, too.
The inside of the "Y", Lake Shore Dr, is now one-way northbound for cars and has separate 5' lanes for northbound bikers, southbound bikers, and pedestrians. This improves 2.1 miles of the 5-mile lake loop. The rest of the loop is a good shoulder for 1.3 mi on Pearce Mill Rd and narrow sidewalk or shoulder for the other 1.6 mi.
Rest rooms and drinking water are available at many picnic groves near the trail. Swim in season at the park wave pool. The boat house has kayak and canoe rentals for the ambiguous who want to combine two activates in one trip. Other amenities are available not far outside the park. Including bicycle rental on the trail at the corner of E Ingomar Rd and Kummer Rd
A connector trail about a mile long runs from the McKinney Rd soccer fields out of the park to connect with the future Harmony Trail.
Vicinity: Directions begin from the intersection of US19 with the Yellow Belt (Ingomar Rd). To reach this point from Pittsburgh, go north on US19 for approximately 10 miles.
North Park Lake: From the intersection of US19 and the Yellow Belt (Ingomar Rd), go east on the Yellow Belt for 1.6 miles following signs for North Park. At this point the lake and trail will be on your left. Park at any convenient place around the lake.
Alternate route: You can also reach the trail from PA8. From the intersection of PA8 and the Yellow Belt (here called Wildwood Rd), go west on the Yellow Belt for 2.8 miles to North Park.
Along Corrigan Drive, South Park
A paved path runs 2.2 miles through the park on the east side of Corrigan Drive. Like North Park, this path is popular with walkers, joggers, dog walkers, and everything else. Even on a December weekday it will be busy. In addition to the path, at the north edge of the fairgrounds, a 0.75-mile paved path goes over the hill to the "heart course", a 0.75-mile exercise trail. On the other side of the heart course, a 0.25-mile path returns to Corrigan Drive at McConkey. You can use these to stretch the trip out to a bit over 3 miles.
Rest rooms and drinking water are available at many picnic groves near the trail. Swim in season at the park wave pool. Other amenities are available not far outside the park.
An undeveloped leg of the Montour Trail is only a mile to the south. Unfortunately, there is no good way of getting there yet – but the trail council is looking for a good connection.
Vicinity: Directions begin headed southbound from Pittsburgh on PA88 (Library Rd) about a mile south of the Yellow Belt.
Corrigan Dr: At well-signed Corrigan Dr, turn into South Park. Corrigan Dr runs through the park. Use any handy parking lot.
Maps, guides, other references
USGS Topographic Maps:
Text version from 2002 edition. Conditions will have changed; you are responsible for your own safety.