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Three Rivers Heritage Trail features the best that the city of Pittsburgh has to offer, connecting major cultural venues, the downtown area, historical sites, and some of the city’s most well-known neighborhoods and parks along more than 20 miles of riverfront trails. Extended outward in three major paved, connected segments from Point State Park, the urban trail parallels its namesake three rivers—the Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela—that helped lift the city into prominence as America’s once industrial powerhouse.
Now, the pathway, which began as an idea nearly three decades ago and had its first groundbreaking in 1991—serves as an active-transportation and recreation asset, and major tourism destination, for more than a half million people each year.
Pittsburgh boasts more than 440 bridges, and several of the city’s most iconic in this category serve as connectors for the trail’s various segments. Managed by the nonprofit Friends of the Riverfront, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail also shares a corridor with, and links to, one of America’s most well-known rail-trails, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage, and serves as a major spine for the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition’s developing 1,500-mile trail network through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York.
Southern Segment: Station Square to Great Allegheny Passage (Monongahela River–South): 6.9 miles
A great place to begin your journey is on West Station Square Drive on the southern side of the Monongahela River. Here the Duquesne Incline, one of Pittsburgh’s two historical cable cars, travels up the steep hillside 400 feet on an 800-foot track to offer a panoramic view of Pittsburgh and the three rivers.
Heading east on a paved trail beneath the Fort Pitt Bridge, you’ll travel by Highmark Stadium and the Gateway Clipper Fleet before reaching historic Station Square, built in the 1870s to greet passengers of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad on their way from Youngstown. Ceasing all operations by 1970 and redeveloped in 1976, Station Square is now home to restaurants, bars, shops, and the Monongahela Incline, featuring extensive vistas of the city skyline.
Continuing along the river, you’ll pass under the Smithfield Street Bridge—a spectacular structure completed in 1883 with sweeping blue arches of steel—and then beneath the Liberty Bridge and into an industrial area with a series of shared roadways. Turn right onto Second Street, left onto McKean Street, and left onto Fourth Street, where the off-road trail picks up again at about 1.7 miles from the starting point. Note the brightly colored trailside artwork created on the 2016 national Opening Day for Trails by the local community and overseen by former Pittsburgh Steeler Baron “The Artist” Batch.
In another mile, you’ll approach the Southside Dog Park, just before the Birmingham Bridge. Here, you’ll be greeted by the larger-than-life sculpture The Workers (2012), which was made from scrap metal from local steel mills and celebrates Pittsburgh’s industrial past while embracing the present and future.
From the Birmingham Bridge, you’ll go another 0.7 mile through Southside Riverfront Park and the SouthSide Works, a trendy shopping and restaurant area, where you can cross the river on the beautifully restored pedestrian/bicycle Hot Metal Bridge, a 1900 rail trestle that once transported hot iron to the South Side and steel ingots to the northern side of the river. Continuing southeast another 0.7 mile takes you past the practice field for the Pittsburgh Steelers and toward a more remote section of trail that leads to Haysglen Street and a continuous connection with the Great Allegheny Passage.
Middle Segment: Strip District to Schenley Park (Allegheny River–South, Monongahela River–North): 6.8 miles
While the trail technically begins at 24th Street in the Strip District—an area known for its gourmet food and produce shops, eateries, and nightlife—the trail is closed to 11th Street due to nearby construction projects on this section.
A short 0.4-mile section of crushed-stone trail begins farther up the southern side of the Allegheny River in the Lawrenceville neighborhood, which begins at Bernard Dog Run, a local dog park, and ends at 43rd Street. Future plans call for eventually connecting this section of trail to the main section through the Strip District.
Begin your journey at 11th Street, which is also located one block from the Senator John Heinz History Center on Smallman Street. Heading west, you’ll skirt the southern side of the Allegheny River about 1 mile to Point State Park, at the confluence of the city’s famous river system, which marks the historical sites of Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt—strongholds of France and Great Britain in the mid-1700s.
Along the way you’ll pass by the Pittsburgh Convention Center and through the Cultural District, which houses several of the city’s top performance venues. The trail then makes a hard left turn southwest from the Point, switching back over the Smithfield Street Bridge in about 0.7 mile to continue toward South Oakland. An awkward merge point for I-279 and I-376 used to require an on-road detour, but the completion in 2018 of an off-road segment of trail, including the switchback ramp at the Smithfield Street Bridge, now allows a seamless trail experience to South Oakland.
Heading east, you’ll pass a trailside bike shop two blocks after the Smithfield Street Bridge, and then the north side of the Hot Metal Bridge in about 2.4 more miles. The trail curves on a southward then northward trajectory for about 1.4 miles, terminating at Schenley Park, a 456-acre green space with a café and visitor center, golf course, sports plex and ice-skating rink, swimming pool, trails, playgrounds, and the 15-acre Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Navigate this section by going straight on Second Avenue 0.3 mile, taking a slight left onto Greenfield Avenue, and then taking an immediate left onto Saline Street. Go 0.3 mile, and turn left onto Boundary Street. Go about 300 feet, and turn right onto Junction Hollow Trail. Go 0.5 mile, and take a slight left to stay on Junction Hollow Trail, which ends at Boundary Street, adjacent to some railroad tracks and Panther Hollow Lake.
Extending southeast from the intersection of Second Avenue and Greenfield Avenue is a currently closed 0.7-mile section of trail that is within an active construction zone. As of early 2019, this section was scheduled to reopen in the next couple years.
South of Hazelwood, a 1.4-mile section—also known as the Duck Hollow Trail—extending from the Glenwood Bridge north to Old Browns Hill Road was closed for repairs at press time. This trail connects to the Nine Mile Run Trail, leading another 1.5 miles to the 106-acre Frick Park.
This section from Point State Park and over the Hot Metal Bridge to Homestead is also considered a shared corridor with the Great Allegheny Passage.
Northern Segment: Millvale Riverfront Park to Westhall Street (Ohio River–North, Allegheny River–North): 6.8 miles
The best place to begin your journey on the northern segment of the trail is at Millvale Riverfront Park, just west of the 40th Street Bridge. This paved segment of trail curves southwest and then northwest through Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhoods.
In about 0.9 mile from the parking lot at Millvale Riverfront Park, you can opt to take a sharp left onto Herrs Island (also known as Washington’s Landing) via a historical rail trestle. This connector trail is mostly gravel and takes you along the island’s quiet communities and waterfront. Trail users on bikes are asked to ride slowly on the narrow pathway and dismount in certain sections—-especially near the waterfront restaurant patio and the marina, where heavy equipment operates.
Head south another 1.5 miles to Allegheny Landing, which is billed as one of the nation’s first urban riverfront sculpture parks. For a side excursion, head to nearby Sandusky Street for a museum dedicated to Pop Art phenomenon Andy Warhol. To reach the museum, head north through the park to Isabella Street, turn right onto Isabella Street, and then turn left onto Sandusky Street. Go one block to the museum, which will be on your left.
Over the course of about 1.1 miles, you’ll pass a series of major venues in the North Side, including PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Rivers Casino. The trail heads northwest another 2.1 miles, terminating at Westhall Street north of Brunot Island.
On-street metered parking is available throughout Pittsburgh, as well as paid parking garages. Farther out from the city center, free parking is available at Millvale Riverfront Park (70 River Front Dr.), Schenley Park (101 Panther Hollow Rd.), and Peggy’s Harbor marina.
For those taking public transportation to the trail, the Port Authority of Allegheny County operates a light rail system called the “T” that has half a dozen stations located near the trail. Bikes are permitted on board the T and all Port Authority buses are equipped with front-mounted bike racks.
To reach the western endpoint on W. Station Square Dr. from I-376 E toward Pittsburgh, take Exit 69C to merge onto US 19 N/SR 51 N/Saw Mill Run Blvd., and go 0.1 mile. Take the SR 51/SR 837/McKees Rocks/West End exit, and then merge onto S. Main St. Turn right onto W. Carson St., go 0.5 mile, and turn left onto W. Station Square Dr. Go about 0.1 mile, and turn right into the parking lot.
To reach the Millvale Riverfront Park trailhead from I-279 S, take Exit 2B for E. Ohio St. toward SR 28 N. Continue onto East St., and go 0.1 mile. Turn left onto E. North Ave., and then continue onto Spring Garden Ave. Go 0.1 mile, and turn right onto Chestnut St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto the SR 28 N ramp to Etna. Turn left to merge onto SR 28 N, go 2.0 miles, and then take Exit 3B toward Millvale. Go 0.1 mile, turn left onto E. Ohio St. (signs for Millvale), and then take a slight left to stay on E. Ohio St. Go about 410 feet, and turn left onto Riverfront Dr. Go 0.4 mile, and look for the large parking lot straight ahead.
To reach the parking lot at 11th St. from I-579, follow signs to take the Seventh Ave. exit toward the convention center. Head northeast on Seventh Ave., and immediately turn right onto Grant St. In 0.1 mile continue onto Liberty Ave., and immediately turn left onto 11th St. Go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Waterfront Pl., and turn left into the parking lot.
YOU CAN'T ROLLER SKATE IN A BUFFALO HERD
wonderful landscape along Three rivers Heritage Trail along the S.Water St
but the terrible covering is asphalt broken in so many places, so it’s impossible to ride roller skates.
I was passing through town and couldn’t wait to ride this trail. It was a little disappointing in that I kept running into dead ends without good signage. Once you get out of the city it’s really nice and hooks up with another trail that will take you to DC (or so I was told).
My family and I started at Millvale and had a great ride into the city. The path is smooth and flat - I'd recommend a road or hybrid bike but this path was fine for any kind of bike. A must see is Bicycle Heaven which is just past Rivers Casino. Look forward to riding this trail again real soon.
Gets you up close to Pittsburgh - takes you past all the great things the city has to offer (a bit tricky to get over to the South Side is the only drawback)
Started in Homestead and rode the west shore to the end. Mostly shaded, running between the river and RR. Came back a bit and went over Liberty bridge to downtown. No trail here, you are directed on sidewalks with good signage. Went all the way around the point to the end just past convention center. Then jumped over the Warhol bridge (ramps provided) to the North Shore. Rode past PNC and Heinz fields to the Casino. Came back and crossed back to the point using the 279 bridge. A bit of a burner getting up the hill since its a high bridge. Took the sidewalk back to Liberty bridge. Don't try to take the little path along the river - it dead ends before the Liberty bridge. Use the sidewalks. Look closely for the sidewalk, and you can stay on the city side to ride the Furnace trail. This trail runs in between the lanes of 376, so it is noisy and not very scenic. Crossed back to Homestead area using the Hot Metal bridge. About 25 miles total. A very scenic day. From Homestead the trail continues as the Great Alleghany passage to Wash DC.
We've biked Pittsburgh numerous times and it's by far the only way to see Pittsburgh!! We usually park between Heinz and PNC in Gold Lot 2 ($5 All Day). Right across the street is the bike trail up and over the bridge, it comes right into Point Park. You can choose to the Monongahela on trail (by the Fort Pitt Museum) or travel onto Boulevard of the Allies and Smithfield Bridge across to Station Square. If you aren't comfortable riding in traffic, take the bridge from the park and you'll travel on some sidewalks going the opposite direction until you come to the bike trail headed toward Station Square. The trail comes out beside Southside. If you go behind the Hofbrauhouse there's a recently installed zigzag that lets you travel back down to the bike path which continues East. From there it continues behind Sandcastle, all the way down to the Waterworks. It actually continues to DC but Waterworks is as far as we've gone.
From Southside you can cross at the hot metal bridge and take the trail back West toward the point. This side provides GREAT views of the buildings and water. It travels between two highways completely separate from traffic and is always fun to giggle at the cars backed up as you effortlessly pass on by. From this side the trail ends at the Smithfield bridge. You'll either have to take roads or travel back across the bridge down to the 376 bridge.
On the North side you can take the trail from the Point up to the strip district. This side is really fun because you'll travel under the bridges and right along the water (no guardrails!) It also connects with the David Lawrence Convention Center which is great to ride between the waterfalls!
If you chose to stay on the North Shore the trail runs West past Rivers Casino which is as far as I like to go and East all the way to Waterfront.
Overall the trail is fairly flat with the slightest of hills. Great access points and very well marked. It's possible to see all of Pittsburgh without riding in traffic! Our most favorite trail that we could ride all day long!!!
We parked behind hienz factory and rode all the way down to Neville island we went past pnc park and hienz field. Then we crossed the bridge to pointe park. Then up to the strip for lunch. This is a great way to expierence Pittsburgh. Riding this trail is very easy and with all to see you hardly know you have traveled any distance before you know it you got 20miles under your belt. I highly recommend this trail.
In June, whilst on holiday from the UK, I read that the trail had finally been completed linking Downton to the rest of the Great Allegheny Passage. In my rash old age I decided to hire a bike from Golden Triangle Bikes and embark on what most people would think of a marathon 85mile ride which included the Three Rivers Trail, Steel Valley Trail and finally the Montour Trail. Here are my thoughts, and apologies if you read this again on the other routes:
The Three Rivers Trail is generally easy to follow apart from the new section – strangely enough! Somehow I found myself bereft of signs and riding through a car park before spotting a small sign in the distance. To be fair, this could quite easily be excused as this part of the trail had only been open a week, but it did set a precedence for other parts of my ride unfortunately.
From a scenery perspective, this area of the trail to Homestead is rich in industrial heritage which of course compromises the ‘get away from it all’ tranquility! The trail surface is well maintained and very easy to ride especially given that there are virtually no inclines.
It was so nice visiting the city on bikes. We parked at the free lot below the incline.We had lunch at Station Square and then rode over the bridge to Point State Park.We then went over the bridge to the North Shore which is beautiful. We then rode over to the Strip District bought a few things. We rode back to Station Square emptied our bike and rode down the South Side. We had a liter of beer at the Hofbräuhaus. Which was so much fun. Then back to the North Shore to the Casino.My wife was enjoying the casino more than me so I jumped back on the bike and rode for another hour. All said I put in 34 miles and a ton of memories. I have been to the Burgh countless time but this was the most fun I have ever had there.My hats of to the Three Rivers Heritage trail!
As a newer cyclist this is the trail I have been riding the most, as I work to build my distance. I park about a half mile from Western Penn and ride to the park in Millvale. This is just about a 12 mile round trip ride with just a few small hills between PNC Park and the Casino. Yes you might have to dodge some geese in the early morning along with some kayak renters but it is not that bad. Your best bet is to ride this trail before 11am. if you want to ride at night I suggest you make sure there is no Steeler or Pirate games as there is way to many people on the trial going to and from their parked cars and they also take up all the free trail parking spaces.
My wife and I biked The Three Rivers Heritage Trail System on a beautiful Saturday in late June. We start on the North Shore Trail under the 31st Street Bridge. When we got to PNC Park, what a zoo. The Pirates were playing Boston and the trail packed with fans walking to the game. We then took the Ft Duquesne Bridge over to Point State Park. The Duquesne Bridge is a beautiful bridge to bike over. The dedicated lane is very wide and the railing is high enough to make you feel really safe crossing the Allegheny River. The Ft. Pitt Bridge crossing the Monongahela River over to the Station Square Trail was another story. The dedicated lane was very narrow and the safety railing was not as high as the seat on my bike. We decided to walk our bikes over the Ft. Pitt Bridge and the long off ramp. We proceeded to Station Square where the North Side Trail begins and took this trail to the South Side Works. Then it was back over the Monongahela River via the Hot Metal Bridge and following the Eliza Furnace Trail back to Downtown and the Point State Park. Then it was back over the Ft Duquesne Bridge to pick up the North Side Trail back to the car. Over all a great day in the saddle exploring the trails of Pittsburgh.
The trail now has more than 6 miles completed. The new trailhead is in Millvale and the Millvale Park. Get off 28 in Millvale and go under the railroad viaduct. The trail has been extended to the Old State Prison in Manchester, another 2.5 miles of trail not on the Rails to Trails description. The worst part (and the most interesting is the center section across from downtown Pittsburgh. The city often hosts events along the river and blocks part of the trail without warning, or creates congestion that makes for real pedestrian dodging. At the same time, the sculptures, kayak rental station, waterfall feature, submarine, casino, large flocks of geese, and two stadiums make it an interesting ride. If there is an event along the water, there are alternate routes along the buildings between the two stadiums with several winding links up and down the grade to the river.
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail system is a great and unique way to see the city. I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire life and continue to be amazed by this urban and environmental space. The Trail system provides a great way to get around the city, especially as an alternative to sidewalks along busy streets. The signage system in place on the trail provides interesting information about the area's history, and can be used to create a self guided tour for locals and visitors alike.
The South Side part of the trail has a lot of variety and still needs some work in a few places. I live on the South Side and can access it at several places. The section from the from the Hot Metal Bridge to near Sandcastle is paved and for me is a great place to sprint and warm up for an evening ride around the city. This section passes the practice football field for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh.
Going toward the city the trail is near the South Side Works shopping area with restaurants and a REI store just in case one needs parts or a repair. At this time the trail is crushed stone for a few hundred feet but is paved near the Birmingham Bridge and boat launch area. From there the trail curves through a wooded area. Than it goes under the S. 10th Street Bridge and continues to a sand plant. For now bikers have to cross a rail track and ride on some cobble stones to detour around that area. Then it links up with the Pittsburgh Riverwalk at Station Square part of the trail.
Almost all the time you can see the river with some great views of the city. This is still a new trail and more people are beginning to discover how nice it is.
"This trail runs along the Allehgehney River from Milvale to the old state prison. It runs next to PNC Park (home of the Pirates) and Heinze Field (home of the Steeler). It includes an awsome view of downtown Pittsburgh and ""the point"".
Thas path has many pedistrians so you have to be careful while riding it. I speak from experience when I say never ride when Steelers have a home game. You will be dodging drunk tailgaters."
I start my ride in the southside under the glenwood bridge. At the moment there isn't a good trail head there. I just park the car and ride near the tracks for 3/10 a mile. The south side trail goes about a half mile past sation square and is smooth asphalt. Staion Square is very busy and is more for pedestrians then bikes. There is no trail through down town but it is fairly easy to get to the north side. The nothside trail is concreate from hinze feild to past PNC park then it turns to a much bumpier dirt.
"This is a good trail for biking and roller blading. Unfortunately, the trail is not very long and I wouldn't go out of my way to visit this trail unless I lived close by. The trail only follows the river for a couple miles. It would be a great trail if they extend it atleast several more miles northeast towards the Coraopolis and Sewickley area and a few miles west towards Squirrel Hill. Until that happens, I won't be back."
"The best thing about the Jail Trail is its surface: mirror-smooth asphalt! It's also a great link between Pittsburgh's Oakland and downtown neighborhoods, bypassing the unpleasant and traffic-ridden uptown streets. My only complaints are headwinds and noise from the parkway traffic. Interestingly, though, you ride between the eastbound and westbound lanes at times, and during rush hour, you move faster than the traffic. Haw haw! "
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