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  1. #1
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    Singletrack Mind in Pittsburgh

    Ok, so I just recently moved back to the 'Burgh from the Wild, Wild West and I have been jonesing for some good singletrack. My preferences lean more towards the deep woods stuff rather than the out and exposed, dirt and mud as opposed to rock and gravel. The trails don't have to be exceptionally technical, but I am not looking for a casual stroll that is going to lull me to sleep (so please, no rail-trails). Trail length isn't that big a deal, either. I'm more than happy running over the same mile stretch of track if it's interesting and offers a challenge.

    So, any advice?

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    Ok, I found a good one today: Sewickley Heights Borough Park. I didn't have a whole lot of time to explore, but what I found was right up my alley. Here's my take...

    The good: Good singletrack that rides fast. Mostly deep wooded stuff with hard-pack dirt, some good tight technical sections, some good features (tight creek-bed crossings), plenty of exposed roots, stumps, and rock. Moderate elevation changes and wide trails with long straights to build speed. Good trail markings, pretty easy to find your way around and back to the car.

    The bad: Like any other mixed-use trails, you're sharing right-of-way. However, since the park advertises that it allows dogs off-lead, you have to be that much more careful. Most people I crossed on trail were exceptionally nice, but sightlines aren't always ideal for picking up people or dogs ahead of time. Also, there seems to be some very oddly placed trees across the trail that you'd swear are speed-bumps.

    All-in-all, just what I was looking for. Trails vary in length and circle back towards the parking area, with many trails cutting back over one another: you can easily pick a route customized to how much riding you want to do. Access is very good and trails are in great shape; you can tell they get a lot of use. For me, the location is perfect (I live 20 minutes from the park) for an evening ride after work. Although, the park does close at 8pm.

  3. #3
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    look over at www.porcmtbclub.org. Lots and lots and lots of great stuff within a short drive from Pittsburgh (if not in the city limits). My favorites are North Park and Hartwood. I like Frick too b/c its so close (less than 2 miles from my door). Also some great stuff at seven springs I hear, hae yet to go myself.
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  4. #4
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    I've heard Laurel Mtn has some great stuff. Haven't checked it out yet but hoping for a trip this coming weekend. It's not exactly "local" for you but it's within reason.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by swestenzweig
    Ok, I found a good one today: Sewickley Heights Borough Park. I didn't have a whole lot of time to explore, but what I found was right up my alley. Here's my take...

    The good: Good singletrack that rides fast. Mostly deep wooded stuff with hard-pack dirt, some good tight technical sections, some good features (tight creek-bed crossings), plenty of exposed roots, stumps, and rock. Moderate elevation changes and wide trails with long straights to build speed. Good trail markings, pretty easy to find your way around and back to the car.

    The bad: Like any other mixed-use trails, you're sharing right-of-way. However, since the park advertises that it allows dogs off-lead, you have to be that much more careful. Most people I crossed on trail were exceptionally nice, but sightlines aren't always ideal for picking up people or dogs ahead of time. Also, there seems to be some very oddly placed trees across the trail that you'd swear are speed-bumps.

    All-in-all, just what I was looking for. Trails vary in length and circle back towards the parking area, with many trails cutting back over one another: you can easily pick a route customized to how much riding you want to do. Access is very good and trails are in great shape; you can tell they get a lot of use. For me, the location is perfect (I live 20 minutes from the park) for an evening ride after work. Although, the park does close at 8pm.

    leave the trees in, unless they are unrideable.

    where are you located? that would helps us get you to your 'local' spots.

    juding by your local spots Settlers Run, Bavington, Frick, Schenely(both in Downtown pittsburgh), and North Park will be closer ones for you.

    If you want a guided tour around Frick or South Park(shouldnt be to far for you because of how close 79 is to you) i know those places very well. Sections of south park are fast flowly wooded single tracked, some other sections are well alittle more log piled...

    also this week PORC will be riding at Boyce Park(other side of allegheny county from you) at 6pm and light are optional for this one, but bring one and they will go after dark.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by swestenzweig
    Ok, so I just recently moved back to the 'Burgh from the Wild, Wild West and I have been jonesing for some good singletrack. My preferences lean more towards the deep woods stuff rather than the out and exposed, dirt and mud as opposed to rock and gravel. The trails don't have to be exceptionally technical, but I am not looking for a casual stroll that is going to lull me to sleep (so please, no rail-trails). Trail length isn't that big a deal, either. I'm more than happy running over the same mile stretch of track if it's interesting and offers a challenge.

    So, any advice?
    Frick Park is my back yard, and love it dearly. I am spoiled being able to ride down my driveway and in to the woods. Trouble lately has been the arrogant dog owners who blatantly disobey the leash law.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by swestenzweig
    Ok, so I just recently moved back to the 'Burgh from the Wild, Wild West and I have been jonesing for some good singletrack. My preferences lean more towards the deep woods stuff rather than the out and exposed, dirt and mud as opposed to rock and gravel. The trails don't have to be exceptionally technical, but I am not looking for a casual stroll that is going to lull me to sleep (so please, no rail-trails). Trail length isn't that big a deal, either. I'm more than happy running over the same mile stretch of track if it's interesting and offers a challenge.

    So, any advice?
    Frick Park is my back yard, and love it dearly. I am spoiled being able to ride down my driveway and in to the woods. Trouble lately has been the arrogant dog owners who blatantly disobey the leash law.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrix
    I've heard Laurel Mtn has some great stuff. Haven't checked it out yet but hoping for a trip this coming weekend. It's not exactly "local" for you but it's within reason.
    The best singletrack in western PA, IMHO. Our favorite riding spot before we moved to WV. Loved it so much now that we're moving back to PA, we're looking at Ligonier for its proximity to Laurel Mtn.
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  9. #9
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    Hartwood Aces is a great place to ride, hell I have ridden those trails all summer and im still finding stuff I havent hit yet.

    http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp...ode=15238-1193
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  10. #10
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    If you dont mind a little driving you should check out Duff Park and Pleasant Valley Park which are both conveniently located right off of Route 22 in Murrysville. Roaring Run in Apollo is also great, probably my favorite place to ride. Boyce Park is good, lots and lots of singletrack but dont ride there after a big rain. The Laurel Highlands is a great place to ride especially if you want to do an all day epic ride. Try Laurel Mountain State Park, 7 Springs Mtn Resort, and Hidden Valley Ski Resort. The Laurel Highlands are not far at all from Pittsburgh, just jump on the Turnpike and take the Donegal exit.

  11. #11
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    quote=davis](Laurel Mtn) The best singletrack in western PA, IMHO.[/quote]


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepXJ3
    Hartwood Aces is a great place to ride, hell I have ridden those trails all summer and im still finding stuff I havent hit yet.

    http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp...ode=15238-1193
    I want to get out there this fall. I am spoiled having Frick so close and there to are trails I still haven't rode there but I get tired of these encounters with dog owners.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    .

    also this week PORC will be riding at Boyce Park(other side of allegheny county from you) at 6pm and light are optional for this one, but bring one and they will go after dark.
    Park closes at dusk with big fines for getting caught after dark. They lock gates to some parking spots, so hard to not get caught.

    I pm'ed you on another site. Wanna ride soon?

  14. #14
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    Another spot is Brady's Run Park near Beaver. Take 60N past the airport and it's about 35 min. from downtown PIT. (Sorry, I meant "dahntahn, n'at") :-)

  15. #15
    The White Jeff W
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    I'll have to check out Laurel Mtn. A little over an hour drive from here.

    yz blue I rode Brady's run this summer & had a tough time finding any trails. I found one that started on the road up to the softball fields and another on on the other side of the valley that started up the hill behind the horse ring after riding the road to the top. What else is out there? I looked at the map across from the ice rink but not much help.
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  16. #16
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    1 hour to the north
    moraine state park. super technical ride with tons of rocks and it is the only MTB specific trail in w. pa. you share no trail there.

    1.5 hours north
    Kennerdell- about as backwoods epic as you can get. i rode for 5.5 hours a few weeks ago and didnt see another rider. huge river climbs huge technical DH's (huge for wpa). a really good mix of buffed single track and technical singletrack. you wont find a finer place to ride in WPA.

    i do the trailwork at moraine so pm me if you have questions, i also have maps of Kdell so pm me if you need something. Just do it well in advance b/c i have a 10 day old baby and i am slow getting to this stuff.
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  17. #17
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    Quote Originally Posted by jralz
    Park closes at dusk with big fines for getting caught after dark. They lock gates to some parking spots, so hard to not get caught.

    I pm'ed you on another site. Wanna ride soon?

    probably why the ride wer canceled lol....

    the guy who said this should of know about this

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13
    I'll have to check out Laurel Mtn. A little over an hour drive from here.

    yz blue I rode Brady's run this summer & had a tough time finding any trails. I found one that started on the road up to the softball fields and another on on the other side of the valley that started up the hill behind the horse ring after riding the road to the top. What else is out there? I looked at the map across from the ice rink but not much help.

    JeffW - We park by the ice rink and then head up the hill behind the horse ring. At the Y behind the horse ring, bear to the right and go about 300 yards. There is a trail on the left. Take this up and toward the top, it will split 3 ways. To the right, there is a log bridge and it connects to a loop. Straight will take you to the top of the hill. If you go left, follow that up and cross the paved road and stay left toward the trees and it will reconnect to the singletrack. This will take you toward the log loop and we always take left turns on this trail any time there is a split. After the log loop, you will come out at the top of the original hill, the same place if you would have gone straight during the first climb.

    Cross the little gully and keep following the single track. This will eventually connect to the trail if you had gone right at the top of the first hill (but the log bridge). Keep following this and eventually it will bring you out at the picnic pavilions at the opposite end of the park where you started. From there, you can cross the road and bridge and there is another section over there that if you follow, it will come out on the road near the softball fields. We cut back in on the left across from the softball fields and follow that trail which ends near the sign you were looking at across from the ice rink. A full scoop is around 9 miles and has a nice mix of ups and downs.

  19. #19
    the fat kid
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    for fast XC/AM stuff, I still love north park. you can do 20mi and not hit the same trail twice. I've been riding it since I was just a wee chap and it never gets old.

    I will agree Hartwood is also very good riding, but eventually you have to ride back up the hill like Frick.
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    Thanks for the great advice. To answer some of your questions, I am in Bellevue about 8 miles north of downtown.

    I got a chance to hit Frick Park this past weekend with a buddy of mine. Some good technical runs, a few good roller coasters, and lots of close-quarters stuff. From what I was used to, the elevation changes were cake. Dog owners and runners weren't really a problem, except that there were a whole lot of 'em. Still, for an out-and-back quick run through some trails, you can't beat it if you live close.

    My next venture is going to have to be North Park. From what I remember of NP, it's set up pretty well for pedestrians and bikes and its got a whole lot of acreage. Not sure about the MTB trails, but the idea of less density has got plenty of appeal. I'll have to check around for some trail maps, but if anyone has some good pointers or landmarks to hit let me know. I'll probably head out there Sunday.

    Laurel Mountain and Morraine... I may have to try and hit at least one of those before the riding season is done.

    Thanks for all the help and stay above the handlebars!

  21. #21
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    You NEED to hit Laurel. It's worth every second of the 1 hour drive, trust me. No real climbing, unless you come back up Fish Run, but the technical rock is awesome. Ride the lower end by the picnic area, that's the best stuff.

  22. #22
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    Question. What do you all consider a "epic" in WPA? Are you riding the same trails more than once? Big loops? Covering much ground between point A and B or confined to a certain area? Just wondering...
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
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  23. #23
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    I plan to move into some area between western Pittsburgh and the airport. Any local trails around there? Maybe in the Coraopolis, Green Tree, Rennerdale triangle. Any trail network in Settler's Park, etc.?

    I can try the other trails mentioned above, but it'd be nice if there's a set not mentioned in the west end that I could hop on after work easily or with the girlfriend. (I'll be working near the airport.)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelspeed
    I plan to move into some area between western Pittsburgh and the airport. Any local trails around there? Maybe in the Coraopolis, Green Tree, Rennerdale triangle. Any trail network in Settler's Park, etc.?

    I can try the other trails mentioned above, but it'd be nice if there's a set not mentioned in the west end that I could hop on after work easily or with the girlfriend. (I'll be working near the airport.)
    You won't be far from Bavington. Awesome trails, not real technical but miles and miles of tight singletrack mostly in pine forest. Look at porc sight for directions. You can't go wrong riding there!!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelspeed
    I plan to move into some area between western Pittsburgh and the airport. Any local trails around there? Maybe in the Coraopolis, Green Tree, Rennerdale triangle. Any trail network in Settler's Park, etc.?

    I can try the other trails mentioned above, but it'd be nice if there's a set not mentioned in the west end that I could hop on after work easily or with the girlfriend. (I'll be working near the airport.)

    near the airport youll have settler's cabin and bavington. Bavington(AKA hillman SP) is the fastest, flowiest least technical singletrack around.

  26. #26
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    Sounds good...

    Good to hear there's some trails over on the west side. Thanks folks!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    near the airport youll have settler's cabin and bavington. Bavington(AKA hillman SP) is the fastest, flowiest least technical singletrack around.
    After just celebrating two years in Pittsburgh, I think I'm going to venture out and try either Bavington or Hartwood Acres next week.

    Does anyone ever hear of problems with break ins of cars at either location?

    I have heard that Hartwood Acres is full mostly of log crossings, is that all the riding is there, or can someone give me a better description?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottRPriester
    After just celebrating two years in Pittsburgh, I think I'm going to venture out and try either Bavington or Hartwood Acres next week.

    Does anyone ever hear of problems with break ins of cars at either location?

    I have heard that Hartwood Acres is full mostly of log crossings, is that all the riding is there, or can someone give me a better description?
    Hartwoods has alot of fun XC trails. The log crossing are fun but the biggest ones have go arounds. there is alot packed into that small park. flowly smoothness, rocky goodness, small to meduim sized wheelies drops, big logs, big log piles, and even some skinnies.

    Niether location should have any breakins....hartwoods is a really rich part of allegheny county and bavington has noone out there beside other mountain biker on sundays.

  29. #29
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    You might also want to check out Deer Lakes Park if you like nice singletrack. Deer Lakes is mostly just fast singletrack with frequent log crossings and a few short steep climbs. It's not the most challenging place to ride but it's a really fun place to ride.

  30. #30
    the fat kid
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvictaS1
    You might also want to check out Deer Lakes Park if you like nice singletrack. Deer Lakes is mostly just fast singletrack with frequent log crossings and a few short steep climbs. It's not the most challenging place to ride but it's a really fun place to ride.

    My buddy and I were just talking about how we need to head over there and do some clean up. Its always in shambles when I've been there. With a little effort, it could be turned around
    I ride faster than I should.

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    Still discovering the places myself

    I recently moved to the Moon Township area from San Jose, CA.. been out to Bavington once and Frick a few times.. Settler's Cabin last weekend, ended up riding what I think were renegade motorcycle trails. Big park, lots of promise, does anyone know if the management is friendly towards getting a maintenance crew in there, and possible cleaning up some of the trails?

  32. #32
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    i think www.porcmtbclub.org has some stuff on settlers cabin. they were going to do some work ther i think with the trail crew.
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  33. #33
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    Gearhead,
    Deer Lakes should be in good shape. Unless there is some new stuff down in the last couple of weeks all of the trails are good to go. I spend a lot of time there and try to keep it cleaned up as I go.

    Dave

  34. #34
    the fat kid
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    Thats good to hear then. I havent been there in a good while, so it may have been cleaned up since my last ride. I'll have to head out there and see how it looks.
    I ride faster than I should.

  35. #35
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    i was out at deer lakes a couple weeks ago, it was my first time riding there. the trails were in good shape. i think we rode just about everything but being first timers out there we kinda backtracked a lot, with all the multiple loops you can do out there the trial layout can be a bit confusing. all in all though it was a very fun place to ride, i'm used to riding laurel mtn, 7 springs, ect so riding somewhere without rock gardens was a nice change of pace.

  36. #36
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    Yes, compared to Laurel Mountain, Deer Lakes is smooth. Totally different style of trails. I wish I could find a good rock garden in there, I've looked for a long time and they just aren't there. It's weird, Hartwood is 5 miles away and has completely different geology. If you put it all together, you can get 15-16 miles out of Deer Lakes without back tracking.

    Dave

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveg66
    Yes, compared to Laurel Mountain, Deer Lakes is smooth. Totally different style of trails. I wish I could find a good rock garden in there, I've looked for a long time and they just aren't there. It's weird, Hartwood is 5 miles away and has completely different geology. If you put it all together, you can get 15-16 miles out of Deer Lakes without back tracking.

    Dave
    So what's the real deal? The trail reviews on this website say almost the opposite, that there are multiple log crossings and the trails include lots of tree roots and rocks?

    And is this located in Tarentum?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveg66
    Gearhead,
    Deer Lakes should be in good shape. Unless there is some new stuff down in the last couple of weeks all of the trails are good to go. I spend a lot of time there and try to keep it cleaned up as I go.

    Dave
    I was just at Deer Lakes late last week. I don't know any of the trail names; it was my first time riding there, but I did a short loop up above the last parking lot (the circular one) and the trails were fast, clean and a lot of fun. I prefer Boyce Park so far, trailwise (probably just because I know them better, for now), but Deer Lakes has the added pleasure of tacking on 9 or 18 incredible holes of disc golf!
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  39. #39
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    The most recent review on this site is from 2004. There have been quite a few logs down, ramped, removed, bypassed, etc..... since then. Right now, there are only a few. As for rocks and roots, there are some small areas, but not as many as Hartwood, and nothing like Laurel Mountain. Mostly smooth twisty single track, with some short, steep ups and downs. I think it's a great place, not really technical, but fun trails and a good workout. The park is located in Russelton, for some reason the post office calls it Tarentum. Let me know if you want the tour.

    Dave

  40. #40
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    rock garden = moraine st. parks' "mtb trail" bring extra tubes if ya run lil tires

  41. #41
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    reviving an old thread here, but does Hillman still have some decent trails?

    I'll be in the Coraopolis area in August....
    thanks for the info
    future nature

  42. #42
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    Yes it does

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