Here’s a good problem to have: There are so many trails packed into this 1,100-acre park that connecting them all can be confusing. But the maze of short singletrack trails is well-blazed, so it’s not hard to improvise as you go. Most trails are named after their blazes: White Blaze, Orange Blaze Black Dot, etc. There are stacked loops on top of stacked loops tucked into stacked loops. That means there are a lot of intersections to contend with, so pay attention to signs, and start with a group ride if you can.
So what’s the riding like? You’ll find great XC trails here. There isn’t much elevation change (the park’s ski hill has only about 160 feet of vertical), but all the tight turns can create quite a workout for riders pushing the pace. The terrain has some roots and rocks, but nothing that goes past intermediate. Bottom line: This is a great place for beginners or to train for a XC race.
Beyond the trail system, Boyce Park, located east of Pittsburgh and right outside Murrysville, has all the fun and games you’d expect, plus a few surprises. Pavilions, a public pool, and sports fields are all available. Plus, you’ll find an archery range, a wave pool, a skate park, and a (small) ski area with lifts and a lodge. The park is named after William D. Boyce, an Allegheny county native and founder of the Boy Scouts of America.
For a great five-miler, start at the Log Cabin parking area, which is centrally located to all the trails. Head north on White Blaze White Triangle Trail. Turn left to take White Blaze clockwise as a warmup. Loop that around back to White Blaze White Triangle, head back to the parking lot, and take the gravel Outer Trail until a left on Blue Blaze Yellow Dot. Stay on Blue/Yellow for a little over a mile, turn left on Switchback Trail, and continue to Roller Coaster. Roller Coaster ends on While Blaze, which returns to the parking area in either direction.
Avoid the Parkway from the east if it’s even close to rush hour. Sitting in tunnel traffic before or after a ride is terrible. Allegheny River Boulevard to Sandy Creek Road to Saltzburg Road to Center Road is rarely busy.
Where to Eat
Udipi Cafe is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall that serves authentic (entirely vegetarian) south Indian food. Take Cooper Road near the skate park to Old William Penn Highway and keep your eye out for this hidden gem. Don’t bother trying to find their website; they don’t have one. The address is 4141 Old William Penn Highway in Monroeville.