Running in Pittsburgh

Photo of Pittsburgh railroad tracks near Schenley Park

The best running routes in Pittsburgh are shown in the map below. They include running routes in Pittsburgh's three major parks: Schenley Park, Frick Park, and Highland Park; on the South Side, Eliza Furnace, and Duck Hollow trails along the Monongahela River, runs involving Washington's Landing on the Allegheny River, and road loops of all sorts throughout the city.

Two things about this list:

Runs by Major Running Area in Pittsburgh

Urban runs in the east parts of the city - Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, etc.

The road running in this area can be quite good, and is a little flatter than many other spots.

Facilities: Outside of the parks, facilities are more limited and less predictable. Friendly places to stop include the CMU University Center, the Pitt Cathedral of Learning, the east end's The Climbing Wall, and Whole Foods on Centre, Schenley Plaza, and Mellon Park.

Schenley Park

Schenley Park [wikipedia], located near the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh campuses, is a 456 acre park with enough running trails to easily squeak out 7 mile runs in the park alone, and more if you put your mind to it and don't mind some repetition.

Schenley, like most of Pittsburgh, is very 3-dimensional: many of the trails here can be connected at different heights - such as running out on the outer Bridle Trail, and then back up Overlook Drive. You'll barely know that you're only 100 horizontal feet from where you were running previously. Similarly, the Panther Hollow Trail on the north/northeast side of the park loops around on itself--not only are the two sides quite different, but the parallel Faloon Memorial Trail, 50 feet higher, is entirely invisible from the lower trail and vise-versa! Because of this, it's tough to give or follow great directions for running in Schenley, but the park isn't so large that if you get lost you'll be more than a mile or two from where you want to be.

Seasons: Great from spring through fall; in winter, conditions can range from great, to icy, to cross-country-skiable. Good choice for summer - you can find shade pretty reliably.

Water and toilets: Plentiful, see map below for a partial list. There is only one water fountain that operates year-round (at the oval); several, but not all, port-a-potties remain open year round. Click the map to open it in Google Maps.
View as an interactive google map

Cautions: If you like crashing through the woods, keep an eye out for poison ivy, particularly on the sides of Schenley near 376. It has quite a bit. The major trails and carriage roads are wide and not a concern.

Frick Park

Frick Park [wikipedia, official site], located east of Schenley (and CMU and Pitt), is a 561 acre park with miles of running trails. Frick is also renowned for its mountain biking trails and can make for very fun trail running if you head off the major dirt tracks. Frick is less developed than Schenley, and is larger, but is still only a mile and a half or so from CMU. There are more trails and fewer paved areas. You'll share Frick with more mountain bikers. Still not huge - you can explore large portions of the park in a 7 mile run - but nice. The Nine Mile Run restoration, completed in about 2009, added several additional miles of running.

Connection options:

Seasons: Like Schenley; great in all seasons but can get icy in winter.

Facilities: Fewer than Schenley. Water and toilets available summers at the entrance near Beechwood Blvd, at the bottom of the Falls Ravine Trail, and a few other spots.

Outside the City

Tracks and measured routes

View as an interactive google map

Trail Conditions

Tweets by @pghtrails

Road and Trail Status

Run list by distance

Distance (mi)TerrainRoute
4Flat roadsEllsworth-penn-5th
5Trail, moderate hillsSchenley short loop
5.7Moderate hill, roadsEllsworth-penn-shady-forbes
6.1Moderate hill, roadsElls-penn-shady-schenley loop
7.1Trail, moderate hillsSchenley extended loop
8-11Run to frick, run in frick, run home
Add a .6mi loop around the Schenley track for good measure.

Pittsburgh running groups

Well-known Pittsburgh Races

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