Long exposure of Pittsburgh downtown skyline and Roberto Clemente bridge, on a sunny afternoon, as viewed from North Shore Riverfront Park, across Allegheny River.

Running Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Infrastructure, attractions and views make this a great year-round option.

The Three Rivers Heritage Trail is iconic Pittsburgh: a system of riverfront paths that weave through downtown along the namesake trio of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. Great views of downtown, landscaped corridors and lots of entertainment with plenty of food options make the trail a favorite among local runners (not to mention commuters and tourists). So lace up your runners and enjoy scenic miles year-round, as portions of the trail are plowed for snow throughout the winter. 

There’s also another reason to appreciate such a great running option downtown: It wasn’t always the case. Sure, Pittsburgh was idyllic when it was home to the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Lenape/Delaware, Osage and Shawnee people. But with industrialization, downtown became the heart of Pittsburgh’s steel industry. With the industry’s decline, it became a cradle of brownfield sites. Local visionaries began to revitalize the former mills around the time they broke ground on the first portion of the trail in 1991. Today, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail has grown to 33 miles in total. The portion heading south and east from Point State Park is also part of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), which continues all the way to Cumberland, Maryland, where it then joins the C&O Canal Towpath to Washington, D.C.

Recommended Route

A great option for a 7-mile, out-and-back run begins in Millvale where you can park for free at Millvale Riverfront Park. Run downstream on the wide, flat path, which is also known as the North Shore Trail along this section. You’ll have constant views of downtown across the Allegheny River. As you get closer to the confluence, run under bridges named for famous locals (Rachel Carson, Andy Warhol, Roberto Clemente) and past landmarks like the Andy Warhol Museum, PNC Park and Heinz Field. By the time you get to the Carnegie Science Center at the end of North Shore Riverfront Park, turn around for a straight-on view of the three rivers’ confluence, Point State Park and downtown. The portion of path by the stadiums and in Point State Park are regularly plowed when it snows, others sections nearby are usually plowed, too.

Getting There

By public transit, take the 1 Freeport Road Bus to the Grant Ave./E. Ohio St. stop and walk about 350 yards to Millvale Riverfront Park; by car, take state Route 28 to Exit 3B to River Front Drive into the park.

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Refresh & Refuel

The Pittsburgh Sandwich Society food truck is located at the Strange Roots brewery just a half-mile from Millvale Riverfront Park. 

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.