Walking is one of the easiest and most leisurely ways to exercise and get healthy! Fortunately in the Northside, there are plenty of places to get out and get fit. Here are a few of our favorite walks in the Northside.
As the Northside’s token green space, Riverview Park is a place not only conducive to walking but designed for it. With wooded paths, the walking trails at Riverview Park are a nice break from city scenery and offer a little bit of fresh air, all within the boundaries of Pittsburgh.
The 287-acre park is known for its wooded trails, and it touches the borders of Brightwood, Brighton Heights and Observatory Hill and is within five miles of all other Northside neighborhoods.
Riverview’s easiest trail is the Observatory Trail, which starts behind the visitor center and is a wooded, half-mile loop through the park. The two-mile Riverview Drive loop is longer, but only challenges walkers with slight grades as it winds around the park.
Riverview’s most challenging trail is the Wissahickton trail which combines Archery Trail, Riverview Drive and the Bob Harvey Trail into a challenging, hilly two mile hike that covers most of the park.
The North Shore Trail
One of the most visible and frequently used walking trails in the Northside is the North Shore Trail. It stretches 3.4 miles along the Allegheny and Ohio rivers and is used by runners, bikers, walkers and very often visitors to the Northside who are looking for a scenic route to the two stadiums.
The trail is from Washington’s Landing to Rivers Casino and offers great views of the skyline along the way. Other notable sites along the trail are several new war memorials, PNC Park, Heinz Field, a memorial for Mr. Rogers and Steelers and Pirates sites.
“This trail, more than any other we know, breathes with the strength and vibrancy of the city,” said the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on its website. “It offers vistas up and down the rivers, the development on the North Side, downtown and close-ups of the contrast between old industry and new.”
As a portion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail System, it will hopefully someday connect to the South Side trail, through Sandcastle and all the way down to Washington, DC.
Once a year, people come to the Northside from all over Pittsburgh to walk and run up urban stairs for Fineview’s Step-A-Thon, but Northsiders looking to stay in shape can tackle the challenging five-mile course year round.
As well as being a unique way to see the historic neighborhood of Fineview, the many staircases can be a cost-free urban gym for those who are brave enough and committed enough to trek up them.
The incline and many turns of the Fineview stairs make them one of the most challenging walking courses in Pittsburgh, but its final hill is the real killer for those determined to finish. The Raising Main staircase is the course’s final challenge, and the fourth largest staircase in the city. It’s estimated that climbing the Raising Main staircase is the equivalent of climbing a 17-story building.
As a reward for the long, sweaty and challenging trek up, the course ends at the scenic overlook on Catomic Street, one of the many stunning views of the city that give Fineview its name.
(Photo courtesy Melissa McMasters)