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Distance

12.45 mi

Elevation gain

1,765 ft

Technical difficulty

Moderate

Elevation loss

1,640 ft

Max elevation

1,213 ft

Trailrank

80 5

Min elevation

662 ft

Trail type

Loop

Moving time

3 hours 37 minutes

Time

4 hours 37 minutes

Coordinates

3424

Uploaded

September 20, 2021

Recorded

September 2021
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1,213 ft
662 ft
12.45 mi

Viewed 153 times, downloaded 0 times

near North Shore, Pennsylvania (United States)

I started this very interesting trek from “The Point” at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. The western terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage sits at 40.44190°N and -80.01323°W and is clearly labelled. This park is a must see and it hosts several attractions of historical significance to the United States of America.
Walk along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along the banks of the Monongahela River out of the downtown area. Sections of this trail heading towards the Monongahela Wharf Landing at the Mon Wharf parking area are single lane and is shared with cyclists. The Monongahela Wharf Landing area is also quite scenic so stop and take a few pictures or just stop for a moment and sit under a tree and look at the trains go by along the South Shore.
You’d take the historic and very architecturally elegant historic Smithfield Street Bridge at 40.43639°N and -80.00101°W. I’ve crossed this bridge many times and it always warrants a couple pictures. From this bridge there are very good views of the Pittsburgh skyline and Station Square. Get off at West Carson Street at 40.43211°N and -80.00381°W and turn right to get to the historic Monongahela Incline. This is located at roughly 40.43258°N and -80.00475°W. It is one of the oldest operational inclines in the United States. It costs $2.75 one way and you pay at the upper station on Grandview Avenue. You get great views of the Pittsburgh area from the incline as it makes its way along. There is an option just to walk along the P.J. McArdle Roadway if you desire.
The Upper Station is located at 5 Grandview Avenue at 40.43125°N and -80.00606°W and had an observation deck, the Patrick T. Fagan Overlook at 40.43156°N and -80.00660°W. It’s usually very busy out there most days so get there early to avoid the crowds. It has very clear views of the Pittsburgh skyline. You can see out well past the Oakland area. Make a stop at the Shiloh Street shops located at 40.43162°N and -80.00648°W. This is a small shopping area with a lot of restaurants, pubs, souvenir shops, ice cream shops, and so on.
There are a couple other overlooks along Grandview Avenue. One is located at 40.43232°N and -80.00806°W and the Paul F. Jones Overlook at 40.43377°N and -80.01033°W. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is located along Grandview Avenue at 40.43367°N and -80.01038°W and is one of the older libraries in Pittsburgh. The Grandview overlook is located at 40.43445°N and -80.01141°W just past Bertha Street. Just beyond this is the St. Mary of the Mount Church at 40.43461°N and -80.01162°W. It is closed because of the current pandemic but worth poking around at.
Follow Grandview Avenue past the intersection with the P.J. McArdle Roadway & Merrimac Street. This section of Grandview Avenue hosts a few fine dining establishments that offer good food and views of the Pittsburgh skyline. The next stop along Grandview Avenue would be the Duquesne Incline Upper Station. This is located at 40.43821°N and -80.01901°W. It is also a historic inline and hosts a museum in its upper station. There’s also an onsite observation deck that gives a very nice view of the Pittsburgh skyline and the three rivers. The cost is the same as that of the Monongahela Incline.
Follow Grandview Avenue right to Point of View Park located at 40.43924°N and -80.02134°W. This also gives a unique view of the Pittsburgh skyline and has the George Washington sculpture. The Emerald View Trail trailhead starts not too far from this sculpture at 40.43923°N and -80.02138°W and is clearly visible as a coarse gravel footpath heading downhill in the direction of the Ohio River.
In my opinion, this trail system is the best that the Pittsburgh area has to offer. It is mostly challenging, offers good views of the area, has a lot of varying gradients, an abundance of wildlife, and it’s mostly a hiking trail. Mount Washington was once known as “Coal Hill” and there are a lot of abandoned mines in the area along these trails. In fact, 92% of the land has been undermined. The groundwater flowing through these abandoned mines are acidic as it dissolves metals such as iron, aluminium, and manganese from the exposed mine surfaces. You’ll pass several of these small springs along the trail but caution not to consume the water.
The Emerald View Trail forks into the George & Guy Trail and the Expedition Trail at 40.44144°N and -80.02868°W. Take the George & Guy Trail leading to Horner Street. The other trail is just a short access trail along Lizardi Way. So the trail crosses Greenleaf Street and becomes the Greenleaf Trail at 40.44039°N and -80.03073°W. Keep in mind that the labelling is misleading because signposts still mark it as the Emerald View Trail1. This is a nice trail system that is of varying gradient and has an access point at Greenleaf Street at 40.43814°N and -80.03050°W. It forks into the Fort Schultz Trail at 40.43682°N and -80.03060°W. This secondary trail is short and worth exploring.
The Greenleaf Trail exits at Fingal & Republic Streets at 40.43631°N and -80.02734°W. From here several options exist. You can take Republic Street back to Grandview Avenue in a loop without having to traverse the trail network again or you can re-enter the trail and take either the Clarence Connector Trail or the Augusta Connector Trail. These are very short trails that allow access from Clarence and Augusta Streets respectively. They both go to Greenleaf Street and ultimately to Grandview Avenue. You can, however, take them as far as Well Street and then to go Sweetbriar Street at 40.43579°N and -80.02227°W. At the end of Sweetbriar Street is the Emerald View Park Trail access point 40.43159°N and -80.02309°W that loops back to Hallock Street at 40.42979°N and -80.01953°W. There is another secondary trail labelled the Turkey Run trail that I highly recommend. It’s not long but offers good gradients, lots of wildlife, and good views. This trail forks off the Emerald View Trail between 40.42944°N and -80.02194°W and 40.42939°N and -80.01997°W.
The trail network continues to Olympia Park and Mt. Washington Park for those that may be interested in exploring the area further. Walk with lot of water, a camera, and insect repellent. This one does require good footwear that offers lots of traction, especially if it is raining or rained prior to your trek.
Happy Trails.
Waypoint

Starting Point

This waypoint sits at the terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail at "the point" in downtown Pittsburgh in Point State Park.
River

Mon Wharf Landing

This waypoint sits along the Mon Wharf Landing.
Bridge

Smithfield Street Bridge

This waypoint sits at the historic Smithfield Street Bridge.
Waypoint

Monongahela Incline Lower Station

This waypoint sits at the Monongahela Incline Lower Station on East Carson Street.
Waypoint

Monongahela Incline Upper Station

This waypoint sits at the Monongahela Incline Upper Station on Grandview Avenue.
Panorama

Patrick T. Fagan Overlook

This waypoint sits at the Patrick T. Fagan Overlook.
Panorama

Paul F. Jones Overlook

This waypoint sits at the Paul F. Jones Overlook.
Panorama

Thomas A. Gallagher Overlook

This waypoint sits at the Thomas A. Gallagher Overlook.
Panorama

Duquesne Incline

This waypoint sits at the historic Duquesne Incline.
Monument

Points Of View Monument

This waypoint sits at the Points Of View Monument.
Intersection

Expedition Trail

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Expedition Trail.
Waypoint

Expedition Trail Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Expedition Trail Trailhead.
Risk

Horner Street Crossing

This waypoint sits at the Horner Street Crossing of the Emerald View Trail.
Risk

Risky Overlook

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and an unmarked overlook. You should exercise EXTREME CAUTION if venturing out along this path and do not attempt this in rainy weather,
Waypoint

Wyola Street Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Wyola Street entrance to the park.
Intersection

Republic Connector Trail

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Republic Connector Trail
Waypoint

Republic Connector Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the Republic Connector Trailhead
Risk

Street Crossing

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and a major street crossing.
Intersection

Clarence Connector Trail

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Clarence Connector Trail.
Waypoint

Clarence Connector Trail Trailhead

This waypoint sits at Clarence Connector Trail Trailhead.
Intersection

Augusta Connector Trail

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Augusta Connector Trail.
Waypoint

Augusta Connector Trail Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the Augusta Connector Trail Trailhead
Intersection

Oneida Connector Trail

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Oneida Connector Trail
Waypoint

Oneida Connector Trail Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the Oneida Connector Trail Trailhead
Intersection

Turkey Run Trail Loop

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Turkey Run Trail Loop
Intersection

Turkey Run Trail Loop

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail and the Turkey Run Trail Loop
Waypoint

Emerald View Trail Trailhead

This waypoint sits at the fork of the Emerald View Trail Trailhead at Hallock Street.
Risk

Mine Runoff

This waypoint sits at one of the Mine Run Offs along the Turkey Run Trail Loop

1 comment

  • Photo of Trini Hiker

    Trini Hiker Sep 20, 2021

    I have followed this trail  View more

    This trail is one of the challenging trails in the Pittsburgh area but well worth doing.

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