Mountain biking in the Pittsburgh Area

This section is under development. Please send comments and pointers to other riding areas to me at the address below.

Frick Park

Found within the triangle formed by the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, and Regent Square, Frick Park has what are probably the best mountain bike trails available inside the city limits. There are entrances to park trails from Beachwood Boulevard, Forbes Avenue, Bradock Avenue, Reynolds Street and Commercial (Forward) Avenue. Much of the riding in Frick park is multitrack. As it is a city park, bikers will often find themselves sharing the trails with pedestrians and their dogs.

Luckily, Frick Park does have some intermediate level technical single track, as well as some multitrack trails which see very little pedestrian use.

If you go into Frick from the entrance by the playground on Beachwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill, and follow the trail back into the park until the pavement ends, you will find a gravel trail that leads right around a sandpile into a small open area. On the far side of that open area is the entrance to the Roller Coaster one of the most difficult technical single track trails in Frick. Early on the trail will split a number of times, as a rule take the most level path - not turning up or downhill if there is a level path. If you don't end up on a park road near Commercial Street, you haven't done the whole roller coaster. If you didn't do any climbing you might have a missed right turn imediately after the hills that give Roller Coaster it's name.

Just before the end of the paved trail, there is a rougher trail on the left. Follow that trail into the woods and out into the Ultimate Field. At the far end of the field are 2 trailheads. The left one takes you down Off Camber a tricky little descent that drops onto the main trail connecting lower Frick to the nature center trails. The right trail had two options just inside the trees. Going straight takes you down another of the most difficult trails in Frick, Out the Back, a rutted, root covered nightmare. Turning left takes you into a network of trails that lead to the Roller Coaster and Teepee Logs trail.

Entering from Beachwood at the playground again, you'll notice a carved out bowl to the left. You'll often see folks doing sled riding in the bowl during the winter. At the bottom are two entrances that lead onto the Bowl singletrack. This network of trails dumps out at a 5-way intersection of trails (landmark: fire hydrant). The Goat Path trail to the right does a steep climb to the Ultimate field, and roller coaster. The downhill multitrack will lead to the the parking lot in the hollow, and the two multitrack trails which climb to the left will end up at the Frick Nature Center, and at the end of the Forbes bridge crossing the hollow near Bradock Avenue.

On the north side of Forbes 0.1 miles from the intersection with Bradock is the entrance to the public gardens. Go in this entrance, then turn right, a dirt path will work it's way back parallel to Forbes, then turn left along the edge of the hollow. Look for and take a right turn, then another as you start to descend. Garden, a tricky single little track descent into the hollow, is not recommended for the beginner rider. Depending on trail conditions, this trail can be trickier than the roller coaster.

Off of Reynolds Street in Point Breeze, past the cemetery are the lawn bowling fields. At the back of the lawn bowling fields is the entrance to the Hawthorne trail which runs along the Bradock (east) side of the hollow. For the single track rider, 50 feet past the entrance, on your right you'll find a multitrack trail going down. About 25 feet into that trail is a left turn onto a little singletrack spur we call Ridge Twisty that runs along the ridge and dumps onto the Hawthorne trail near a descent into the hollow.

There is a multitrack trail connecting the Forbes Bridge near Bradock to the Frick Nature Center. If you ride from the bridge towards the nature center you'll eventually pass a tree with 3 main trunks growing out of one spot. A singletrack descent we call Fast and Loose begins there and drops down into the hollow. Half way down there will be a left with a tree across the trail. That route ends in a very steep descent down to the bathhouse in the hollow.

If one follows the trails in the hollow to the southern end, then takes a right onto the road that the roller coaster dumps onto you'll get to Commercial Avenue. Across Commercial is a dirt lot (with a cable across the entrance). If you go into this dirt lot, then ride under the I-376 bridge and up the trail, you will have found your way to the Slag Heaps, one of Pittsburgh's less famous landmarks. You can ride trails on the Slag Heaps all the way down to the Mon.

Settler's Cabin

Settler's Cabin county park provides access to some of the best technical single track, and multitrack riding in the Allegheny county.

Some land accessible from the Settler's trail-heads is posted against trespassing, and many of the trails that provide the best riding are difficult to find without a guide. Settler's Cabin provides access to at least 30-40 miles of networked trails.

To balance the good features of Settler's you'll also find lots of poison ivy, crab apple thorns and numerous recorded encounters with deer ticks (see Lyme Disease FAQ.).

From the city, take I279 south. Past the I79 exit, get off at the Cambell's Run Road exit. Take a left at the end of the exit, then another left past the gas station (maybe 75 feet). Head under the parkway and up the hill. At the top of the hill take a right into the park. Go past the wave pool (on your right), and take a left at the next major intesection into the park proper.

We typically park in the Tomahawk picnic area. To get there take the road to a T intersection, turn left. Tomahawk is the first picnic area on the right. About 2/3 of the way back the parking area for Tomahawk (on the left, with your back to the road) is the head of a trail that drops down into the woods.

This trail will quickly T onto another levelish trail. Explore.


If you take Route 28 to 910 and go north (away from the river), you will immediately go up a hill and bend to the left after getting on 910. Right near where the hill crests, there is a little poorly maintained road on your right. If you look for it, you might notice a sign for a brick company. Take this road until you come to an overpass (about 1-2 miles). Park in the turn around area just before the overpass. Ride your bike further up the road, up hill to your left. You'll ride about 200 yards and come to a power cut and trailer court. Enter the power cut to the left of the road, and when it drops off steeply in front of you, look to your right for a trail that enters the woods.

Harmarville provides miles of single track riding. The Harmarville ATB trails have recently (early summer) been logged. What condition the loggers will leave the trails in, is unclear.


The folks at Dirty Harry's in Verona have a standing Thursday evening ride which sometimes goes to Harmarville or around Verona. Contact them for more information.

Robinson Towne Centre/Brother's Grim

Behind the Hills store at Robinson Towne Centre is one of two trailheads for a network of trails. These trails are also known as the Brothers Grimm trails because many riders actually enter the area from Montour Run Road across the street from this local bar/restaurant called the Brothers Grimm.

The Brother's Grimm entrance can be found by taking the Montour Run exit off the Parkway near old airport and IKEA., and turning left at the first crossroad, go past Wikes Furniture, past YMCA, around bend and right into the parking lot for a blue factory. The trailheads are near the entrance to the parking lot.

Having not ridden these trails much, I can't really comment, but the people at Ambridge Cycle Shop swear it is the best local riding.

One of the "Month of Mud" races are held on these trails.

Boyce Park

There is a trailhead leading off from the parking lot near the Soccer Field in Boyce Park. Near the entrance of the parking lot, there is a road with a "Do Not Enter" sign. Ride back 200 yards on this road, under some high tension electrical lines, then look for a entrance to a wide single track on the right. Expect cruising single track with only moderate amounds of climbing.

Knob Hill Park

Take I-79 North to Warrendale exit. Turn left, then first right, and next left to Knob Road. Knob Hill Park is the next left.

The mountain bikers at the Ambridge Cycle Shop recommend the trails at Knob Hill Park. Call them for more information.

One of the "Month of Mud" races are held on these trails.

Brady's Run Park

In Beaver County near Beaver Falls, Brady's Run Park offers technical single track riding. Take Route 60 to Chipawa exit, turn right, go three miles to park on right. Trailheads lead off from near the Ice Arena.

One of the "Month of Mud" races are held on these trails.

Moraine State Park

North of Pittsburgh, Moraine State Park offers some technical single track riding. Take I-79 north to the Moraine State Park exit and follow signs. Trailhead is on the north shore.

One of the "Month of Mud" races are held on these trails.

Mineral Beach

Take Route 51 through Library, past Trax Family Farms, right turn into Mineral Beach, a swimming pool and park area. There you will find a single track 4 mile loop. (Additional trails?)

One of the "Month of Mud" races are held on this trail.

Riverside trails along the Allegheny

There is a dirt road that goes from Allegheny river lock #3 for a few miles up stream (through the funny little town of Barking). It follows the railroad tracks. You can ride along the sides of the tracks both up and down stream from that road. I've found that you can ride all the way from Oakmont, past New Kensington, and in to Arnold, about 10 miles each way. It's flat and along the river the whole way, a very nice mountain bike ride.

Hidden Valley and Seven Springs

There is supposedly some great single track riding at both Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. Also, there are supposed to be many miles of cruising multitrack that connects Hidden Valley and Seven Springs ski areas together. In the wintertime these trails are cross country skiing trails. Contact the bike shop at Seven Springs or Hidden Valley for more information and maps.

Laurel Highlands (Forbes State Forest/Linn Rund State Park)

Laurel Highlands allows mountain biking on many of their cross country skiing and snowmobile trails. As mountain bike trails they offer everything from casual cruising on dirt roads to extremely challenging single track on the caliber of that found in West Virginia. The terrain is very rocky in places and sometimes hidden by ground cover (like a field of 3 foot high ferns) - Laurel Highlands is really beautiful.

To get to Laurel Highlands take I76 (the PA turnpike) to the Donegal exit, turn left at the exit, and about a half mile down the road turn onto PA 711 North. Take 711 a number of miles (10ish) until it hits US route 30. Head east along 30 and look for signs to Laurel Highlands and Forbes State Forest. There are multiple parking areas so you can choose to be close to the particular trails you want to ride.

The Shadyside Ski Shop runs a mountain bike rental shop at Laurel Highlands. You can stop by their rental shop or their Pittsburgh store (off Aiken in Shadyside) for maps. Their rental shop at Laurel Highlands is not a fully equipped bike shop, but they do sell Powerbars and GatorAid. Important Note: plan on either buying drinks from the shop, or bring your own water - water refills are few and far between at Laurel Highlands.

The maps that the rental shop have highlight ATB routes, but there are a lot of trails open to bikers are not shown on the map. Carry one anyway, it's easy to imagine getting lost in Laurel Highlands.

The maps distinguish between "roads" and "trails" and while roads are generally multitrack, but this doesn't ensure they provide easy riding. Beam Run Road, for example, is pretty rocky so you can't just cruise on it.

The singletrack trails at Laurel Highlands are often marked only by blaze marks. As a rule, these are pretty easy to find, but there are places where where you might need to stop and look around a bit. Trails with blue and red blaze marks are open to mountain bikers. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) is marked with yellow blaze marks and is closed to ATV's, horses and mountain bikes. Be forewarned, it's quite easy to accidentally stumble onto LHHT from the other trails.

My impression was that the "best" terrain wasn't reserved for the hikers. Lots of very challenging trails are open to bikers. One patch of the LHHT we accidentally stumbled onto had some sections that were just impassable on mountain bikes. By impassible I mean, 4 foot high rocks with not enough clearance for bars or crank (maybe when my bunny hop improves).


Multitrack from Ohiopile to Confluence along the a converted rail right-of-way, some single-track that I haven't explored much. Bike rentals are available at Ohiopile for hourly and day rates.

Alleghany National Forest

2 hours north of Pittsburgh, the Alleghany National Forest offers some great beginner and intermediate trail riding. The southern region near buzzard swamp provides for real scenic riding. One of the hiking trails was quite technical and fun, but nothing as hard as Frick. The scenery was great though, with wild turkey and deer.

The park rangers say there aren't any particular trails dedicated to mountain bikes. They suggest the ATV trails, but this can be unsafe with ATV's travelling past at 40mph.

Cannan Valley, WVA

Host of the "24 Hours of Cannan" race.

Pocahontas County, WVA

Four and a half hours away from Pittsburgh by car, Pocahontas County, West Virgina is home of Snowshoe Mountain Resort and Elk River Touring Center.

Snowshoe offers 100 miles of mountain biking trails. They rate their trails by difficulty: Easiest, More Difficult, Most Difficult (just as ski slopes are rated). Their difficult trails are more difficult than anything you will find in this area (including the most difficult sections of the Laurel Highlands trails). For more information call Snowshoe's Mountain Biking center at (304) 572-1000.

The Elk River Touring Center is about 10 miles from Snowshoe and has a mountain bike shop, a bed and breakfast, and serves as trailhead for a huge network of trails. Each spring the Elk River Touring Center hosts the WVA Fat Tire Festival (described as the "Woodstock of Mountain Biking"), with races, tours, camping and evening campfire jam sessions. For more information call the Elk River Touring Center at (304) 572-3771.

For weather conditions, check extended forecast for Elkins.

Thanks to:

Bill Chiles <>
Mike Blackwell <>
Jason Lee Roehrig <>
Tian Lim <>

Under development

This page is under constant development. If you have any suggestions for additions or comments please send me mail. Personal reviews of any of the included areas or other local areas are very welcome.

Copyright (c)1995,1996 John Kolojejchick and original authors. All rights reserved.