I have yet to find a really good route to North Park, one that doesn't involve at least either some bad-traffic stretches or some significant hills. This seems to be a pretty good one, though; and has only limited difficult spots. This route (and article) was adapted from an earlier article by John Pane. It's probably a good idea to look at a map while reading this, or (better yet) to bring one along with you.
First, you need to get to Babcock Boulevard going north from Millvale. I suggest you do this by going to Etna via the 62nd Street Bridge, taking Butler Rd. west from the center of town, turning right on Parker Rd., and riding the hill up and down until you reach Millvale. (See the "Bridges" file if you're unclear on how to do this.) When you get to the bottom of the hill, the road will end at the Blue Belt. Turn right to follow the Blue Belt north. Soon you'll be on Babcock Boulevard. (Make sure that if you hit a T intersection where the Blue Belt turns left, that you go right instead, to stay on Babcock.)
You can stay on Babcock all the way to the Northway Mall, but once I'm past McKnight I prefer using Evergreen Rd. for as much of the trip as I can. Evergreen is an older road which runs parallel to Babcock, often within sight of it. It's a bit narrower, and rolls more, but it has much less traffic, and doesn't have the commercial strip Babcock has in places. There's also a small park in Ross township which you'll pass on Evergreen, but miss on Babcock.
Eventually you'll come to the Green Belt, where you have to turn right to stay on Babcock. This puts you on a 4-lane uphill stretch with traffic on the heavier side, but fortunately the stretch doesn't last long. When you get to McKnight Rd., continue straight across onto Peebles Rd. Follow this road to the end, where it T's at the edge of North Park. Turn left to go into the park. A swimming pool/hiking trail area will be to your right. More of the park can be reached by continuing up the road a little, and turning right onto Babcock.
If you go down Babcock to the junction with the Yellow Belt, you'll be near the center of the park. A food store is a short distance east on the Yellow Belt, and a small lake will be visible on the far left corner. There is a 5-mile bike/walk/jogging trail that circles the lake, which you may want to try while you're at the park. There are also picnic grounds and various other facilities.
When you want to go back, you can take Babcock south again. You can follow this road all the way back to Millvale if you want (though you'll be thrown onto McKnight for a short stretch); or if you want to try a little different route, follow it as far as LaRoche College and take a left onto Duncan Rd. shortly after. (The sign for the road was down last I went there.) Follow Duncan east, across Peebles, and a little while later turn right onto Thompson Run Rd. There are some up-and-down sections of Thompson Run, but near the end there's a nice long downhill, which eventually puts you back on Babcock again. Turn left to head home.
John Ockerbloom (email@example.com)
Thanks to John Pane for original article.