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The Best Bike Rides And Trails In Pittsburgh – City of Bridges Routes

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With many fantastic bike trails and quiet, scenic roads, you should have no trouble finding great routes to go cycling in Pittsburgh. The Steel City is super bike-friendly, with various businesses accommodating traveling cyclists.

Pittsburgh is known for being one of the best cities in the US for biking, so we’ve put together our favorite rides to give you a taste of what to expect.    

Best Bike Rides And Trails In Pittsburgh Flickr ImagePin

21 Best Pittsburgh Biking Trails And Rides

1. Great Allegheny Passage (best long-distance ride)

Group of young cyclists at the Great Allegheny Passage - Flickr ImagePin
Courtesy: daveynin on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Great Allegheny Passage, known as the GAP, stretches 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. It can be an ideal multi-day cycling trip, with the route passing through various towns with accommodation and places to eat.

You can also cycle shorter distances, with the option of jumping on a train to return home. The trail is off-road, mostly paved, and can be ideal for all cyclists. The trail begins at the Point State Park Fountain in Pittsburgh and ends at Rock Creek Park in Washington DC.

Surface Type: Mostly gravel

Ride Difficulty: Medium – depends on the distance covered

2. Frick Park Singletrack (best MTB ride)

Cyclists at the Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Flickr ImagePin
Courtesy: Norton Gusky on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This loop through Frick Park covers several trails that wind through the woods of this Pittsburgh park, offering a 10-mile round-trip. The ride begins and ends at the parking lot next to the tennis courts.

Frick Park is the largest historic park in the city and features woodlands and wildlife, with a nature center and other activities on-site, as well as many excellent mountain biking trails. The woods around Clayton Hill are also known for being home to a large variety of birds.

Surface Type: Off-road

Ride Difficulty: Medium – single track with moderately steep drops and climbs

3. Mount Washington Loop (best road ride)

Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Flickr ImagePin
Courtesy: bikesharedude on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Mount Washington Loop is a 20-mile road ride that takes you around the city, passing the Carnegie Science Center and Carnegie Mellon University. The route crosses bridges over the Ohio River, the Monongahela River, and the Allegheny River. It also takes you along Grandview Avenue in Mount Washington for some spectacular views over Pittsburgh.

The route begins and ends at Frick Park and takes you through various neighborhoods and areas of the city. It crosses the Hot Metal Bridge, the West End Bridge, and, after a riverside ride with views of downtown, the Andy Warhol Bridge.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate climbs and descents on roads with traffic

4. Three Rivers Heritage Trail (best urban trail)

Cyclists at the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, South Sid - Flickr ImagePin
Courtesy: daveynin on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is a 24-mile paved off-road trail that runs along the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. The ride offers fantastic views of the city and it can be easy to connect to other trails or different neighborhoods. The trail is also the starting point for the Great Allegheny Passage if you want to extend your ride to other towns.

With lots of amenities around and places to stop, this flat trail can be ideal for families and beginners. 

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Easy – flat, traffic-free path

5. Panhandle Trail

The Panhandle Trail is a 29-mile out-and-back off-road path that is also used by pedestrians. It stretches from Walkers Mill, Colliers Township, to Weirton, West Virginia. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead at Walkers Mill, and also at the West Virginia trailhead.

The flat, gravel trail lets you cycle through peaceful woodlands, alongside a creek, and through several small towns. This can be an easy ride for all levels. If you’re a beginner, you may want to turn around mid-way if you don’t want to cycle the almost 60-mile round-trip.

Surface Type: Gravel

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate distance on flat ground

6. Montour Trail

The Montour Trail stretches for 47 miles along the former Montour Railroad between Moon Township and Clairton. The flat, gravel trail is traffic-free so it can be ideal for family bike rides and beginners, with plenty of access points.

It can also be easy to connect to other trails if you want to cycle longer distances. Five other bike trails connect with the Montour Trail, including the Great Allegheny Passage, the Panhandle Trail, and the Bicycle Route 50

Surface Type: Gravel

Ride Difficulty: Medium – traffic-free path with long-distance connector options

7. Montour Woods Loop

The Montour Woods Loop is a 14-mile off-road mountain biking trail that loops through the 300-acre Montour Woods Conservation Area. The ride begins and ends at Moon Park, where you’ll find parking and restrooms (and a kids’ play area).

The MTB trail takes you along well-maintained woodland routes over and alongside creeks, with moderately steep climbs and drops. You’ll also find good opportunities for wildlife-viewing in these tranquil woods.

Surface Type: Off-road

Ride Difficulty: Medium – MTB trail with some moderate gradients

8. Ohiopyle State Park

The Ohiopyle loop ride lets you cycle along several connector trails through Ohiopyle State Park. The loop is an 18-mile round-trip MTB ride with lots of steep climbs and descents, making it more suitable if you have some mountain biking experience behind you.

The ride begins and ends at the parking lot at the Ferncliff Natural Area, next to one of the access points for the Great Allegheny Passage. There’s also a bike rental store adjacent to the parking lot so you don’t need to haul your own bike.

Surface Type: Mostly off-road

Ride Difficulty: Hard – off-road trails with steep climbs and descents

9. Westmoreland Heritage Trail

The Westmoreland Trail is a flat, gravel trail that, at the moment, runs in two sections, from Trafford to Export and from Delmont to Saltsburg, through historic communities. The western portion between B-Y Park in Trafford and Lincoln Avenue, Export is a scenic nine-mile rail trail that is also used by pedestrians and cross-country skiers.

The eastern section of the trail runs for just over eight miles from Athena Drive in Delmont to Water Street in Saltsburg. But there is scope for the two heritage trails to be connected. The eastern section connects to the West Penn Trail in Saltsburg.

Surface Type: Gravel

Ride Difficulty: Easy – flat, accessible gravel path

10. Butler-Freeport Community Trail

The Butler-Freeport Community Trail stretches for 21 miles between the communities of Butler and Freeport. This can be an easy ride on a flat, mostly gravel path, with some paved sections as well as some short off-road sections. The trail is traffic-free, with lots of access points, making it ideal for family bike rides.

The trail begins at Kaufman Drive in Butler and ends near Main Street in Freeport. Much of the trail runs alongside Butler Creek and through peaceful woodland.

Surface Type: Mostly gravel

Ride Difficulty: Easy to medium – easy, flat ride on a traffic-free trail

11. Lakes And Creeks Loop

This looped road ride begins and ends at McDowell Square shopping center. It covers 33 miles and takes you alongside and across several creeks and lakes, with lots of trees and natural scenery.

The majority of the roads are generally quiet, making it a relaxing cycle route for road cyclists. The ride also takes you through Peters Lake Park and Mingo Creek County Park.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate on-street climbs and descents

12. Ghost Town Trail

The Ghost Town Trail is a beautiful and well-maintained trail that runs for 46 miles through historic coal-mining communities and natural landscapes. The trail includes several sections, with the longest one being the 32-mile stretch between Blacklick and Ebensburg.

The main section of this flat, National Recreation Trail begins at Saylor Park in Blacklick and ends at Rowena Drive in Ebensburg, traveling through woodland and alongside Blacklick Creek.

Surface Type: Gravel

Ride Difficulty: Medium – flat, traffic-free path with moderate distances

13. Moraine State Park

This eight-mile loop around Moraine State Park can be an easy to moderate ride depending on your mountain biking experience. The route features rocky off-road terrain with short, steep climbs and descents, along with some technical riding through a forest.

The ride begins at the parking area on Alexander Ridge Road and loops around the park, passing alongside the northern shores of Lake Arthur.

Surface Type: Off-road

Ride Difficulty: Easy – short MTB ride

14. North Shore River Trail

The North Shore River Trail runs along the north shore of the Allegheny River and alongside part of the Ohio River. The route is mostly paved, so it can be ideal for all levels. There’s also a lot of access points and places to stop along the way, making it a good beginner or family ride.

The trail follows the route of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and can offer some stunning views across the river to downtown Pittsburgh. It also passes the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field.

Surface Type: Mostly sealed

Ride Difficulty: Easy – short, paved trail away from traffic

15. West Penn Trail

The West Penn Trail runs along the former West Penn Railroad and stretches around 15 miles from Saltsburg to Blairsville. The trail can be easily connected to the Westmoreland Heritage Trail if you want to extend your ride.

The West Penn Trail begins at Saltsburg Canal Park and ends at Newport Road in Blairsville. The route generally follows close to the Conemaugh River and crosses it several times. The ride is mostly flat but with a steep section at Bow Ridge. It features gravel, paved and off-road sections.

Surface Type: Mostly gravel

Ride Difficulty: Medium – challenging sections with some steep climbs

16. Bridges Loop

The Bridges Loop is a 30-mile road route that journeys around Pittsburgh and crosses 10 bridges, including six on the Allegheny River and four on the Monongahela River.

This is an on-street cycling route that passes through several city neighborhoods, with views of the city skyline from the bridges. The route also passes through the scenic Highland Park and Point State Park.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Medium – on-street route with moderate climbs

17. South Park Trails

The South Park Trails take you through the second largest park in Allegheny County. This ride covers some of the various routes within the park’s off-road trail system and lets you ride over 15 miles through woodland. You’ll find a combination of tight singletrack, short climbs and descents, and gravel tracks. 

The park has played host to several BMX competitions over the years.

Surface Type: Mostly off-road

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate distance MTB ride

18. North Park Outer Loop

The North Park Outer Loop ride is an on-street route that begins and ends at North Park Golf Course. This can be a picturesque ride along quiet tree-lined roads with surrounding parkland scenery.

The 13-mile route loops around the scenic North Park Lake and passes a bike shop that has a Clubhouse bar with coffees, juices, and snacks for refueling during a mid-ride stop.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Easy – short, paved route

19. Tomlinson Run State Park

Just across the western state border, Tomlinson Run State Park features a looped ride on a paved surface that begins in West Virginia and crosses in and out of Pennsylvania. This is a mostly on-street route, but on quiet roads with limited traffic and farmland scenery.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate distance with some climbs and descents

20. Peters Township Loop

This Peters Township Loop is a 17-mile road ride that begins and ends at the McDowell Square shopping center. The route travels through Peters Lake Park and crosses over the scenic reservoir before following country roads as you head back toward Canonsburg.

There are a few sections with moderate climbs.

Surface Type: Sealed

Ride Difficulty: Medium – moderate on-road climbs and descents

21. Brady’s Run Park

Brady’s Run Park features a 15-mile mountain bike trail with lots of steep climbs and descents that might be challenging for beginners. This off-road route travels through the scenic park surrounded by forests and natural areas.

The trail starts and ends at the playground just south of Brady’s Run Lake.

Surface Type: Off-road

Ride Difficulty: Medium – steep off-road climbs and descents

Bike Rentals And Tours Around Pittsburgh

There are a few places around Pittsburgh where you can rent a bike or take a tour, particularly around downtown and for touring the Great Allegheny Passage.

However, some of the locations on our list are more suitable if you bring your own bike. The city also has bike-sharing systems for easy rentals across the metro area.

Bike Laws

Before you head out on your bike around Pittsburgh, you might want to check out the Pennsylvania bicycle laws. We have included some of these as a quick guide but this is not legal advice, so it’s advisable to check the laws yourself.

  • Helmets must be worn by any cyclist or passenger under the age of 12. However, it’s recommended that all teens and adults wear a helmet while cycling.
  • Group riding on roads is allowed with no more than two abreast.
  • Bikes are required to have working brakes. You may also need a bell or sounding device depending on local laws.
  • Cycling while under the influence of alcohol is illegal, as a bike is considered a vehicle.
  • Front light and rear/side lights or reflectors are required for cycling at night.
  • E-Bikes are generally allowed where regular bikes are allowed, except for some transit authorities and some bike paths. E-bikes are allowed on several main bike trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage.

Final Words

Cycling around the City of Bridges can be a scenic experience, whether you’re looking to head out on the road or check out the off-road trails.

Pittsburgh is home to some awesome rides, both urban and rural, so there’s something to suit everyone.

Have you checked out any of these rides already? Tell us about it. And if you want to encourage your cycling buddies to plan a trip to Pittsburgh, share this.

Glenn Harper
Glenn Harper
When I’m not contributing articles to Bike Push, I can often be found cycling on the rural roads around me. If I can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, I’ll consider it a win.

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