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60-Minute Fixes: Pittsburgh

Hike, paddle, or ride in America's favorite steel town.
Backpacker_Magazine_PittsburghPhoto by Miachel D. Gianechini/G&G Studio Creations

America’s favorite steel town is a

city of surprising superlatives. This metropolis is home to over 2,600 acres

of open space, and ranks number one, not in I-beams, but trees per capita among

U.S. cities.

Hike

Six-hundred-acre Frick Park, the Burgh’s largest, has more than 10 miles of

trails in dense forest. For a stiff 3.5-mile quad-burner, start at the Environmental

Center and drop 400 vertical feet into a hollow along the Lower Riverview Extension

Trail to Fire Lane Extension. You’ll connect with Nine Mile Run, rife with white-eyed

vireos, pileated woodpeckers, and great horned owls. Regain elevation on the

Braddock and Tranquil Trails, and close the loop by cranking south to the Open

Air Shelter and Falls Ravine Trail. pittsburghparks.org

Paddle

Pop quiz: Which city has more bridges, Venice or Pittsburgh? The one with four

rivers—the Ohio, Monongahela, Allegheny, and Youghiogheny—takes

the prize 446 to 443, and makes Pittsburgh a great place to paddle. Rent a boat

from Kayak Pittsburgh ($14/hour) and head 6 miles up the barge-free Allegheny

to 42-acre Herr’s Island, home to the Three Rivers Rowing Association. Circumnavigate

the island and paddle back toward the skyline. kayakpittsburgh.org

Ride

With plans for the world’s longest urban linear park (it’ll cover 128 miles

along the city’s rivers) in the works, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a serious

bike town. Get a preview on a 25-mile circuit starting at the Smithfield Street

Bridge. Pedal the Eliza Furnace Trail upriver to the Panther Hollow Trail. Follow

this rolling macadam to the 300-acre Schenley Park for a lung-burning one-mile

loop. Then lollipop back onto Panther and head toward the city again on Eliza

Furnace. bike-pgh.org

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