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Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Heritage Trail
Out of the ruins and pollution of factory districts and rail yards, Pittsburgh has transformed itself: an industrial wasteland is now the cleanest and greenest way to get around Steel City—as well as the safest. On the 24-mile journey along three separate segments of Pittsburgh’s rivers, now known as the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the regular biker or common foot traveler will find some of the most spectacular views of Steel City’s iconic skyline and bridges. Besides brightening neighborhoods, providing panoramic views, and encouraging healthy lifestyles today, the trail has become a national example of the repurposing and recycling movement that has snowballed its momentum into projects as grand as this one at the very heart of America’s Rust Belt.
The Three Rivers Heritage Trail stays true to its roots; even these garden- and flower-lined pathways, once railroad lines, were originally forged out of iron and steel to carry the legendary industries of Pennsylvania around the globe. Sites that were once mills, glass factories, and furnaces are now paved with bricks and adorned with benches alongside the rivers. Paved pathways, natural stone borders, and a canopy of green—or red, orange, and yellow for the season—provide a peaceful and picturesque way to explore Pittsburgh. Thousands of volunteers dedicate themselves on a continuous basis on a variety of projects from planting trees to picking up trash (which you can do while you walk the trail, too!).
Featured along the trail are historical markers, highlights of Pittsburgh’s past, known as Interpretive Signs. They bring to light the significant places, events, people, and wildlife that have made the Three Rivers Heritage Trail’s area their home throughout time. The signs encourage individuals to enjoy a unique perspective on the city of Pittsburgh. You can view these signs online here or get outside and onto the pathways to find them all yourself.
The Three Rivers Water Trail functions in tandem with the Heritage Trail and provides a system of 23 total access points for non-motorized recreational boats on the Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio, and Youghiogheny Rivers. All 23 access points, whether it be a beach, ramp, or dock, are public access, free of charge, and require no permit or registration to launch. Find more information on the Three Rivers Water Trail here and view an online map to locate the nearest access point.
Visit the Friends of the Riverfront website to donate, volunteer, or join the Friends in their endeavor to bring a better Pittsburgh to Pennsylvania through the maintenance and creation of the Three Rivers Heritage and Water Trails.
Friends of the Riverfront
2345 Preble Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15233