Some of the best places to enter the trail system are at the Environmental Center off of Beechwood Boulevard or at the playground further up Beechwood.
644-acre Frick Park is located between the Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods on Pittsburgh's easternmost border. It is the largest of the city's four parks and provides a variety of recreational activities and facilities including: tennis courts, softball fields and children's playgrounds, and a bowling green.
An oasis in the midst of post-industrial Pittsburgh and it's "burghs" for hikers and cyclists including mountain bikers (by special arrangement), Frick Park also provides a haven for birds and other wildlife. It is considered one of the best places in the city for birdwatching.
Upper Frick Park is home to the Frick Woods Nature Reserve (currently being restored) and the new Frick Environmental Center which opened to the public on September 10, 2016.
Frick Park Trails
The Frick Park trails are mostly mutli-use crushed gravel doubletrack interspersed with some singletrack. The trail system travels over diverse terrain. You might find youself cycling through steep valleys along the edges of steep rock strewn cliffs, open fields or cruising alongside gentle wooded slopes or the Nine Mile Run, a recently rehabilitated stream that runs along the eastern edge of Frick Park for about 1.8 miles to The Monogahela River in the south.
Besides the well-known existing and mapped trails at Frick Park, there is quite a network of unchartered paths with names such as Slate Hill, the Tepee Logs Trail, Out the Back Trail, the New IMBA Trails, or the popular Roller Coaster Trail (unofficial trail names). Recently, during the IMBA Trail Care Crew visit to Pittsburgh, PA., several new trails were built at Frick Park. They are not even on the maps yet. The trails travel within a relatively compact area, and intersect eachother so you can do multi-mile rides depending on how you design your loops.
The best way to learn the Frick Park trail system is to ride with someone who knows the ropes. The Pittsburgh Off Road Cyclists (PORC) helps to build and maintain the trails at Frick. They have regular group rides and events. You can also try one of the local bike shops for a shop ride you can join up with or just get out there and discover the trails for yourself.
Expect to share the trails with hikers and dog walkers. Watch out for dogs off-leash. Avoid widening the trails or riding when trails are wet to prevent erosion.
You'll find trails that see little interference from pedestrians if you veer off of Beechwood Boulevard and pedal into Frick Park from the entrance by the playground.
Roller Coaster Trail
Trailhead: Enter the park from Beechwood by the playground and follow the paved trail until it changes to gravel (right). Follow the gravel trail into a field. The entrance to the trailhead can be found on the far side of the field.
This is Frick Park's most famous trail. In the first 150 feet it can get confusing as numerous trails branch off the main track to the left and right. Stick to the "most level path". Don't go uphill or downhill if there is that flat space in front of you.
You will enter the series of extended rolling hills from which the trail got it's name. Be on the watch for a sharp right-hand turn. Take it and follow the trail to its end on an access road near Commercial Street.
For those interested in technical challenges, try some of the intersecting trails. You'll find everything from long climbs and hairpin turns to steep drops and descents.
Note: As several areas of Frick Park are currently undergoing redevelopment, some of the singletrack in those areas may be off limits to all trail users to encourage the regrowth of natural habitat.
Points of Interest
The new state-of-the-art center opened to the public on September 10, 2016. It was designed with public input and stakeholders. The goal was to provide a "living laboratory" and lead the way in environmental building design and protection, energy conservation by using solar panels, filtering and treating wastewater before release on-site and use of sustainable construction materials.
Here, learners of all ages can participate in hands-on environmental education in a building that was designed to be the"greenest building in the world". There is a community gathering and reception area, an amphitheater built into the hillside, public restrooms and offices. The historic wildflower filled reserve is undergoing landscape restoration with new native plantings and gardens
Henry Clay Frick, noted American Industrialist and Andrew Carnegie's associate, bequeathed 150 acres south of Clayton, his Point Breeze mansion to the City of Pittsburgh for use as a public park. He also arranged for a $2 million trust fund for long-term maintenance for the park, which opened in 1927.
Frick Park is noted for its distinguished architecture, which is the work of John Russell Pope, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
Pittsburgh City Parks and Recreation
Phone: (412) 255-2539
Frick Environmental Center
Phone: (412) 586-4576
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (Main)
Phone: (412) 682-7275