GAP Mile 138 - 150: Pittsburgh
Tags on this page: GAP, Pittsburgh, Waterfront, South Side, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Eliza Furnace, Homestead
The final stretch of trail takes you through three distinct areas of Pittsburgh on your way to the heart of downtown, with plenty of woods covering your head. At this point, the trail should be all paved, but expect to now have more run ins with traffic, bridges, and less of the straight and narrow.
The first area you will encounter is Homestead and The Waterfront, which will come into view once the trail joins E Waterfront Driver along a separated shoulder trail. Easy trail parking is at the Pump House, a site of a 1892 battle between steel union workers and Pinkerton guards. The trail snakes between chain restaurants along The Waterfront and the
Monongahela River, with a bigger variety of restaurants and attractions towards the center of the shops. Our personal favorite is Burgatory, an delicious upscale burger and shake place, though be ware of the long waits if you come on a weekend. The trail then winds around Sandcastle Water Park and parking lot before going back into the woods between boroughs. As you travel through the next few miles, be on the look out for mirrors to guide you through blind spots and fellow bikers on tight turns, and for people stopping to observe nesting eagles on the nearby Hays Mountain.
Trail Navigation - To The Point!
Once you get to South Side, there is a choice to make on which trail to take to get to downtown Pittsburgh. You can take the south side of the trail, which involves a few small parking lot/street detours, but will eventually get straight to the point by making a loop up Station Square Drive and across the Fort Pitt Bridge. This will get you straight to The Point while avoiding streets, but the walkway is fairly tight and may require bike dismounting to pass others. The other option is the north side of the trail, which will run a straight bike path until the Smithfield St Bridge, where the last few blocks have to be navigated with street traffic. Remember to obey all traffic laws, but a purposeful biker going through the side streets of downtown should be more than able to make it to The Point. Both ways are indicated on the map below.
Point State Park, or "The Point", is a great scenic stop, but not great for loading, so many people will choose South Side as the load/unload spot for their GAP travels, and choose to loop through both trails for their journey to the point and back.
The trail section just west of The Waterfront is the most recently constructed section of the trail. Being smaller trails, the trail was not a single complete unit until the section from the Eagle Observation to Sandcastle was completed on June 15th, 2013, to create the single continuous trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland.
The next proper area is Pittsburgh's South Side, right at the 145 mile marker. South side is a great taste of Pittsburgh proper, as it is as chaotic and relaxed as is typical Pittsburgh. At this marker is South Side Works, a collection of shops and restaurants, as well as ample spaces for parking to load/unload your bikes for a long ride. If you are looking for a hearty meal and a beer after your ride, you can't go wrong with the German restaurant Hofbräuhaus, which is right alongside the trail. If you need a restroom or a quick tune-up, the local REI is very helpful and also across from the trail. From here, you can take the north or south trails to the point and downtown Pittsburgh.
If you took the south trail, you will take a short road detour and make your way to Station Square, the last small neighborhood on the way to downtown. Station Square has a large collection of restaurants and bars, but also holds government building and tech businesses alike. The biggest place will be the fountain around the Hard Rock Cafe, which moves in time to the music in the square. Past this area is the Duquesne Incline, a popular sighting spot and date night.
Congratulations, you made it to Point State Park, Fort Duquesne and the end of the Great Allegheny Passage! Enjoy the famous fountain the the view of the three rivers, and then go downtown to find your bite to eat!
How to use the table: The table below contains points of interest for this section of the trail! Click on the heading of each section in order to get a sorted list of items (i.e. see all items by Mile on the trail, or all places with Food.) The upper right contains a search bar -- use this to find all items with a specific word (i.e. all 'locks' or all 'attraction'). All items below also exist on the map above, grouped and labeled by type for clarity and convenience.