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North Park. Rider: Greg Heil

Steel City MTB: 5 of the Best Rides Near Pittsburgh, PA

Explore the 5 top trails that are popular with the passionate mountain bikers of Pittsburgh.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

North Park. Rider: Greg Heil
North Park. Rider: Greg Heil Photo: Brandon Henry


The rolling hills and winding river valleys of Western Pennsylvania have confined the city of Pittsburgh into a relatively small geographical area. When driving from north to south, there's no evidence that you're approaching Steel City until suddenly you round a bend in the road and see a skyline filled with skyscrapers directly in front of you! The steep-sided hills and deep forests of Western PA offer the perfect habitat for technical, challenging singletrack mountain bike trails to thrive.

An optimal trail habitat is the first ingredient required for an incredible mountain bike scene, but the riders and the culture are perhaps even more important. After all, somebody has to build and maintain the trails!

In the grand scheme of the sport, the fat tire scene in Pittsburgh is ancient. For over 30 years, Dirt Rag Magazine called Pittsburgh home. One of the mountain biking publications on the planet, Dirt Rag waved the banner for a counter-cultural approach to mountain biking. They promoted the somewhat underground mountain biking culture found in the northeastern USA while simultaneously focusing on singlespeeding, endurance riding, rigid steel bikes, and so much more.

Dirt Rag, may it rest in peace, was indicative of the passionate mountain bike culture found here in Pittsburgh, and that culture continues to thrive today. Mountain bike trail systems surround the city of Pittsburgh and, indeed, cover all of Western PA. Ranging from old school East Coast tech-gnar to new school flow lines, the breadth and diversity of the mountain biking opportunities in this corner of the nation are downright impressive.

In this guidebook, you'll find just five of the dozens of incredible trail systems around Pittsburgh. These five highlights were hand-picked based on local experts' advice and are intended to offer a glimpse into the diversity of mountain biking in the region.

Frick Park, right in the heart of Pittsburgh, is an incredible urban trail system that, by all rights, shouldn't exist in the middle of a city. And yet it does.

North Park is a popular crowd-pleaser, filled with miles and miles of delightfully diverse mountain bike trails.

Hillman State Park, also known as Bavington, is the place to go for both time trial-style XC riding and long days of cross country pedaling.

If tech-gnar is more your style, the brutal trails of Moraine State Park are guaranteed to challenge—or at least give pause to—even the most accomplished riders.

Finally, if you're looking for a beginner ride devoid of technical features, the brand-new trail system at Alameda Park proves that the local riding scene only continues to progress and evolve.

While the legend of Dirt Rag Magazine may fade with time, the mountain biking culture of Steel City will never die!

Routes included

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