By Sara Petyk

If you’re looking for a fun day out with the kids look no further than the bike trails on Pittsburgh’s Southside for the perfect mix of outdoor exercise and relaxed family time.

The Southside Trail is part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail system in Pittsburgh. This three-mile section starts in the Southside Works and runs along the Monongahela River to Station Square. Depending on the speed of the group, it can take anywhere from 25-40 minutes to bike the entire section one-way.

The Three Rivers Heritage Trails are great for biking with kids because no motor traffic is allowed and they are wide enough for safe navigation by inexperienced, young riders. When you are preparing for a day out biking with the family, be sure to bring helmets, sunglasses, sunblock, and water bottles for everyone. Food and restrooms can be found along the trail.

Southside Works

428 S. 27th Street
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 488 – 9112
Business Directory Listing

If you start your ride at the Southside Works end of the trail, pay parking can be found at any of the Southside Works garages. Bike rental is also available at this end of the trail. Bikes, as well as trailers and tag-alongs for the kids, can be rented through Golden Triangle Bike Rental.

(Source: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Golden Triangle Bike Rental

South Side Works
517 South 27th Street
Pittsburgh, PA
Hours: Mon to Sun – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: Comfort/hybrid bikes $8/hr; Children’s bike $5/hr; Tag-along $5/hr (w/bike rental); Child trailer $5/hr (w/ bike rental) or $8/hr (w/out bike rental)
Business Directory Listing

The Southside Trail is located along South Water Street and follows a strip of green land running between the street and the shopping area. This area is called Tunnel Park and it hides a secret—there is an active train line that runs right through the Southside and if you’re standing on the grass as a train comes by you’ll feel the vibrations of the passing cars!

(Photo Credit: Sara Petyk)

Pino Gelato

436 South 27th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat – 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sun – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Business Directory Listing

If you’re looking to cool off, walk up to the central square of the Southside Works and enjoy the in-ground water fountain that shoots streams of water into the air or visit Pino Gelato for an ice cream or cold drink. If you’re looking for more than a snack, there are a wide variety of cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants in the Works.

(Photo Credit: Sara Petyk)

South Shore Riverfront Park


As you bike along the trail toward the city from the Southside Works, you’ll enter Southside Riverfront Park. This is one of my favorite spots if I’m riding the Southside Trail because the park offers plenty of free parking and is close enough to the Southside Works to make it easy to enjoy those amenities as well. Southside Riverfront Park is located at the end of South 18th Street. Free parking can also be found just down the trail at the end of South 4th Street near the Liberty Bridge.

A gorgeous tree canopy runs right up to the river and shades this section of the Southside Trail. As you bike through, take a minute to read some of the informational signs about the history of Pittsburgh and the Southside.

(Photo Credit: Sara Petyk)

Station Square

125 West Station Square Drive
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 261 2811
Hours: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Restaurants and venue hours vary

The western end of the Southside Trail runs right into Station Square, where you can continue your ride into the shopping complex. This is a perfect spot to stop and take a rest before riding back to your starting point.

Kids will love to watch the fountain show in the heart of Bessemer Court that runs every 20 minutes. It also offers a fun way to cool down on a hot day. There are several restaurants around the court, lemonade and pretzel stands, and New York Original for shaved and Italian ice, so snacking here is almost a requirement!

Biking with the family is a fantastic way to spend time outside and build memories, as well as healthy habits for your children. Enjoy the day and when it’s done, get ready to plan your next family bike day out!

Sara Petyk started her company Your Active City to show off the great city of Pittsburgh. Her biking and walking tours can found at

Comments (7)
  1. Jason says:

    I much rather prefer running/cycling at: where I can avoid the downtown thugs altogether

    1. James Love says:

      Jason if you do as I stated below Sir you shouldn’t cross the trouble makeers. I’ve done this on a regular basis and never had any issues so far on any section of Rail Trails I’ve used since 93.

    2. southsider says:

      Jason is ignorant.

  2. beth says:

    I really enjoy the Millvale to downtown trail. It is very scenic and you get great views of downtown as you ride past PNC park and Heinz field. It is different every day! If you want to take it further, keep going past the Casino another 3 miles for a good 12 mile round trip ride. I plan on stopping for lunch sometime at Jerome’s restaurant. I find the Southside trail too chopped up, too much road traffic.

  3. James Love says:

    The Rail Trails in Pittsburgh area are great. For the Trail near Station Square you may start near Duquesne Incline and ride stright down to Station Square with a nice Trail head off S. 18th Street along with the Hot Metal Trailheads. This trail now ends in lower Baldwin. It picks back up in the Waterfront behind Eat N Park the uses side walks up to the High Level Bridge then Continues below Kennywood with a Trailhead at 2nd and Grant in Duquesne then down to McKeesPort. In Port use Lysle Blvd keep to right down ramp turn right with street crossing below Walnut then it continues along Walnut down under 15th St. Bridge to Versalles Crossing the Boston Bridge. Make two 2 rights to Trail, Make a right and go to Washington D.C. or make a left to Dead Mans Hollow back to Port. Back at South Side Works go across the Hot Metal Bridge turn right to Pather Hollow Trail or turn left to Jail. You can have alot of fun on these Trails. Look up Friends of the River Front Montour Trail Great Allegheny Passage Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. West Penn Trail Ghost Town Trail 5 Star Trail Coal Coke Trail Ohio Pyle State Park. If you have questions you may also call Jim Love at (412) 377-5160 and I’ll be happy to help you if you have questions. In Perryopolis for two people at Perry O it costs $45.00 per night. In Connellsville at Melody’s near Wal Mart $50.50 per night.

  4. James Love says:

    In Pittsburgh Transit riders may take PAT 1 2 to Millvale then walk to trail near ramps. Walk towards 40th Street Bridge but cross over to left and walk under 8/28 to river crossing Norfolk Tracks. turn right walk to Washington Landing or walk to Western Pen. Near West End Bridge near Casino you may walk steps to West End Bridge to use side walks over to steps to West Carson Street. Alot of people say I’m nuts for this however if you want to use Mass Transit to get to Connellsville you can do day trips with Mass Transit by using PAT Westmoreland Transit and FACT BUS. Connellsville to Mount Pleasant County Market use the Uniontown Connellsville Bus then use WCTA Routes 16 or 8 to Greensburg Bell Way to Route 4 to Pittsburgh. From Pittsburgh use FACT Uniontown Pittsburgh Express to get to Burger King near I-70 to get to Westmoreland County Park to walk down to the GAP. When you ge to BK on your right keep to the right and walk to your right all the way to the 2nd park enterence then walk stright down to trailhead., Also Uniontown Pittsburgh FACT Express to get to Perryopolis in the square. Here you may walk stright when Operator lets you off till you get to a Rail Tunnel. As you get to tunnel turn right and walk down to trailhead acoss the street. Back in Perryopolis at School to your left as you exit bus cross street then to the right turn down road to the right which name of that road is river road thats very steep coming up from Whittset Ball fields. If driving from Station Square to keep along Great Alleghheny Passage take S. PA 837 through Homestead to McKeesPort. Or after leaving Homestead take S. PA 837 to Drovoesburg Bridge then cross McKeesPort Duquesne Bridge left Walnut to get to Little Boston or go stright through Glassport to Elizabith to S, PA 51 to get to trailheads between Little Boston and Connellsville by using PA 201 N. to get to West Newton or PA S. 201 to get to Sheets Wendys in Connellsville, Vanderbilt. If Driving from Connellsville to get to Ohiopyle the easiest way is to take S119 to Fayette County Fairgrounds make that left go to stop sign turn right across Dunbar Creek with a sharp right (beware both ways that bend at bridge is a death trap if not careful!!!!) Take that road until it t’s off then turn right down past Kentucky Knob and watch steep hills down to PA N 381 Stop Sign. Turn right passing Falls to the Trailhead/Visitor Center on your right.

  5. James Love says:

    West Penn Trail and Ghost Town Trail are very isolated but very beatiful. Make sure you have plenty of food and liquid. For Transit riders take PAT 1 to New Kensington then take WCTA Route 15 to Hot Dog Shop at PA 981 and walk down PA 981 approx. 4 miles to Saltsburg by crossing the Kiski/Conemaugh RIver to Trailhead. RIver changes names under this PA 981 Bridge. When you head east on West Penn Trail that was a PA Western Division Canal West Penn Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad right of way you will walk about 11 miles to Westinghouse Road. This Rail Trail is cut off at Camp Ground so just before the Camp Ground you will have to turn right up and down Hills until you get to Conemaugh Dam near PA 981 then once at dam go stright under and over Railroad Bridge where you will cross over Canal tunnel and 2 of 3 Railroad tunnels up a steep hill then back down and cross the bridges over to Westinghouse Road area to Blairsville to the Ghost Town Trail to Blairsville through another 32 miles to Ebensburg PA. Warning this Trail is very isolated do to damming of River with US 22 being rerouted so don’t look for food bedding etc. at Westinghouse. Go to Black Lick for food. Bedding not sure yet on that unless you walk long distance to Wal Mart area on US 22.These trails also link to the Hoodle Bug Rail Trail coming from Indiana PA.