You won’t believe you’re in the middle of a major city when hiking Frick Park’s trails! Read on for a history of the park and trail recommendations for every level of hiker.
I love Frick Park. My love affair first began when I visited my in-laws and was able to run to the park from their house. I had just begun my love of trail running and thought it was AMAZING that a park this large could exist in a major city. (Trust me, when you’re from out of town, it seems like there are MANY ways to get lost in Frick).
Fast forward five years and we were picking a Pittsburgh neighborhood to live in. I knew I had to be near Frick if we could make it work. I now live a 10 minute walk from this amazing city oasis and frequent it at least once a month (when I’m not visiting the many other wonderful trails near Pittsburgh!)
As always, follow the principles of leave no trace when you're exploring the wonderful trails of Pennsylvania! Pack out all trash, stay on trail, and leave it better than you found it. For more information, check out the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
Best Trails In Frick Park
There are a ton of trail options in Frick Park! From hilly single track to wide-open fire trails, there’s an option for everyone on the 17 miles of trails the park offers.
Frick Park trails can be used for many purposes – walking, hiking, running, and mountain biking. According to TrailForks.com, there are 63 trails in Frick Park. Dogs are allowed in Frick Park, but must be leashed other than when in the dog run area.
Nine Mile Run
Nine Mile Run is a three-mile-long trail that is extremely popular. The site of a former industrial dumping ground, a $7.7 million dollar restoration and partnership between Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the city of Pittsburgh removed slag heaps and sewer lines in 2006. To access this trail, there is parking on Commercial Street. The trail follows Nine Mile Run, a tributary of the Monongahela River, with many wooden boardwalks and bridges.
Irongate Trail is a 1-mile single-track trail that stretches from Riverview and Blue Slide Park down to Tranquil Trail and Nine Mile Run. It is a steep trail (over 350 feet of elevation with 7% average grade) that is primarily traversed by mountain bikers in the downhill direction. This is one of my favorite trails as it’s usually pretty empty. If you want to give yourself a challenge, start at the bottom and climb up.
Riverview is a fire lane trail that connects Beachwood Boulevard and the Squirrel Hill side of the park to the lower Frick Park trails. It is 1.2 miles long and is good for beginners. It also connects to Riverview Extension and Lower Riverview (0.7 miles)
Dinky Bridge Trail
Dinky Bridge is one of my all-time favorite Frick Trails. While it’s only half a mile long, this singletrack trail has a fun, rollercoaster feel. It’s a more challenging alternative to Braddock Trail, which runs above it and is a great way to get from Braddock Ave down to Nine Mile Run. Avoid on wet days, as it can get very muddy and slippery.
Tranquil Trail cuts through the middle of Frick Park. This 1.7-mile long trail is a fire road with a 3% average grade and runs almost the length of the valley. It connects the Lower Frick Parking lot with the Point Breeze park entrance. NOTE: This trail is now closed as construction occurs to rebuild the Fern Hollow Bridge.
Braddock Trail is a 1.5-mile easy trail that is right off Braddock Ave, in Regent Square. It gives a great view of Tranquil Trail, below. It’s very beginner-friendly, with even footing and 3% average grade. This is a great trail for an after-work walk with a friend, but can be crowded at peak times. If the parking lot off Braddock is full, there are tons of street spots in the neighborhood.
Every Frick Park trail has something different to offer! For a complete list of trails in Frick and their difficulty, visit HikingProject.com (and check back here for updates as I complete all the trails)!
About Frick Park
Frick Park is 644 aces, making it the largest municipal park in Pittsburgh. The park stretches from Point Breeze to Squirrel Hill, Edgewood, and the Monongahela River in the south. The park is home to the 15,500 square foot Frick Environmental Center, as well as a dog park and a playground.
In 1919, Henry Clay Frick gifted 151 acres to the city of Pittsburgh on his deathbed. He also arranged for a $2 million dollar trust fund for park maintenance. He did this, not out of the kindness of his heart, but rather because he had promised his daughter Helen that he would. Thanks Helen! The park opened in 1927 after the city had obtained an additional 150 acres using the trust fund.
Frick’s most recent addition is my favorite, the beautiful Nine Mile Run. This heavily polluted stream and former industrial dumping site was restored between 2003 and 2006 and stretches the park’s border to the Monongahela River.
For an pretty-cool-even-if-you’re-not-a-history-nerd interactive map of the history of Frick Park, visit this website.
Frick Park Amenities
Frick Environmental Center
The Frick Environmental Center is a joint project between the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh. It is certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. According to Pittsburgh Parks website, the center “provides families, students, and learners of all ages with a state-of-the-art space for hands-on, experiential environmental education. The Center serves as the classroom base for programming that extends into the surrounding park woodlands, streams, meadows and trails.” The Environmental Center is located at 2005 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.
Blue Slide Park
If you’re not a Pittsburgh native, but familiar with Frick Park, you may have Mac Miller to thank. His album, Blue Slide Park, is named after this playground. This playground is located just off Beachwood Boulevard on the Squirrel Hill side of the park. Also, please note the fence area paint job – I helped work on it during a volunteer shift!
Frick Park has a lot to offer both Pittsburgh residents and non-residents alike. If you’ve visited Frick, let me know your favorite trails in the comments below!