There are many outdoor destinations that are well known in the Pittsburgh area. However, there are still hidden gems to be found, one of which is the Seldom Seen Greenway.
Truthfully, you could drive past the Seldom Seen Greenway and never know it’s there. I know that I have on many occasions. However, if you know where to look, it’s quite easy to find this neat little spot.
Here’s everything you need to know to find it and hike the fun trail here.
How to Get to the Seldom Seen Greenway
The parking area for the Seldom Seen Greenway (also known as the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway) is located along Saw Mill Run Boulevard (Route 51) on the edge of the Beechview neighborhood and at the base of Mount Washington just a few miles south of downtown Pittsburgh.
The parking area is located along the turning lane for turns onto Woodruff Street and the Wabash Tunnel.
It can be found at the following coordinates: 40.426153, -80.020991.
When driving here, you’ll need to approach from the southbound lanes as there’s no way to reach the roadway when traveling north without making a decent loop of several miles to get back into the southbound lanes.
When traveling in the southbound lanes, make sure to stay to the right and take the turning lane as if you were going to turn at the light. However, before the light, pull into the gravel parking lot next to the road.
This is the parking area for the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway.
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Hiking at the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway
While this public space is said to be 100 acres in size, only a small portion of it can be explored from this parking area unless you are willing to get your feet wet and cross the stream without a bridge.
Still, the roughly 0.4 of a mile out-and-back trail here packs a punch and is really neat to explore.
As soon as you leave the parking lot, you’ll be able to see the most impressive feature of the Seldom Seen Greenway: the Seldom Seen Arch.
This tunnel is a historic landmark and was constructed in 1902. This brick archway features layers of bricks that are laid out in a very unique way. Without a doubt, it’s architecturally one of the coolest tunnels I’ve come across in Pennsylvania and feels very impressive for the underside of train tracks.
Next to the trail, Sawmill Run flows through the tunnel deep in a gorge that is partially natural and partially man-made. In fact, it instantly reminded me a bit of the Gorge Trails that you find in some parks in the Finger Lakes of New York.
On the far side of the tunnel, a small 3-4 foot waterfall tumbles over a ledge in a scenic spot. While this is far from the tallest waterfall near Pittsburgh, it’s still a beautiful and surprising sight.
When viewing this waterfall, use care as the railing here is only about 18 inches tall and a fall here wouldn’t be fun.
Once you’ve seen the waterfall, make sure to turn around and look back towards the parking area. This is a great view of the tunnel and one of the most striking spots in the park.
From here, the trail continues into the woods. Several trails split off of the main trail, but likely lead nowhere as they are constrained by the banks of the creek.
Soon, the trail reaches the ruins of an old bridge before coming to the banks of Sawmill Run and ending.
At this point, you could continue to walk downstream a bit or cross the creek and try to find the trails that do exist on the opposite bank. However, for most, the best option is simply to retrace your steps back to your vehicle.
Overall, hiking the rather short trail at the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway won’t take you long at all (anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on how much time you spend enjoying the sights here). However, for those looking for an interesting and unique hike near downtown Pittsburgh, this is definitely worth adding to your Pittsburgh itinerary.
Looking for even more places to visit nearby? Check out Fall Run Falls, Bicycle Heaven, Beto’s Pizza, and Canton Avenue.
3 thoughts on “Hiking the Surprisingly Awesome Seldom Seen Greenway in Pittsburgh”
Enjoy the content in your articles. As a resident of one of Pittsburgh’s surrounding neighborhoods, it’s interesting to see areas I’ve never seen let alone heard of. It’s a good way to spend a day that’s relatively inexpensive.
There are longer trails in the upper part of Seldom Seen Greenway. You can get to them in two ways: 1. By entering the area as described, then walking SE along the RR tracks until you cross Saw Mill Run, then follow the trail S up a steep slope near Brashear High School, and then the trail then bends W, and N, and W again, and S before petering out. 2. From Tropical Park at the top of the hill in Beechview, go to SE corner of park and follow trail E.
Went to Seldom Seen Greenway over the weekend, it was pretty but not as pristine as these photos look. There is a lot of graffiti and the trails have a lot of broken glass. Sad.