Photo: Brett Rothmeyer

Pittsburgh Mountain Biking - North Park

Come for the freeride trail and skills park, stay for the miles of singletrack.

Whether you’re new to mountain biking or have been riding for years, North Park will be on your local to-do list. It’s the epicenter of Pittsburgh riding. 

North Park’s 3,000 acres are heavily forested, with something for everyone: sports fields, off-leash dog areas, a massive swimming pool, an ice rink, a golf course. And trails. Lots and lots of trails.

Mountain biking here started with Dr. J, created when rogue trail builders teamed up with the county and the trail advocacy group Trail Pittsburgh to develop a legal freeride trail accessible to the public—one of the few in the United States. 

The construction of Dr. J turned up the heat on an already active trail building area, spawning a skills park with jumps, skinnies, and drops. Add that to the 40-plus miles of trails that wind through the area, and you have a well-built and well-signed trail system that’s constantly evolving and improving. (Join the effort here: www.trailpittsburgh.org/.)

The singletrack is mostly beginner to intermediate levels with a few more challenging sections. (Keep your eyes out for trailside features that will keep advanced riders on their toes.) A mix of roots and rocks peppers the area, and there’s a growing number of smoother, bermed flow trails as well. 

Photo: Brett Rothmeyer

Recommended Ride 

Get your intro to North Park on the Red-Blue Loop, with terrain that all riders will like. The 8.6-mile loop starts at the corner of North Ridge Lane and Pearce Mill Road. Park and ride toward North Ridge Lane and turn right onto the trail right after the restrooms. Don’t be daunted by the sustained climb at the very start; after that it’s all rolling terrain.

More Information

www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/north-park/index.aspx

www.trailpittsburgh.org/parks/north-park/

Getting There

From downtown, McKnight Road is the most direct way to get there.

Where to Eat

No debate: Over the Bar Cafe. This North Park institution is inside the renovated boathouse on 75-acre North Park Lake. Tip: Wait times are often long, so during your ride, use your phone to get in the virtual line. Try the Dirt Rag (RIP) Delight, a burger (beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie) topped with pickles and peanut butter. Time your meal for sunset and eat on the patio overlooking the lake. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.