Frick Park - Nine Mile Run Trail
Points of Interest
Trail Junction, continue straight.
Turn around here.
Park at the Frick Lower Play Area.
You will start your journey by taking a right down Lancaster Ave in Regent Square and down the steep lane to the "Lower Frick Park Play Area". Here you can park for free and port-a-potties are year round. Walk toward the port-apotties at the very end of the parking lot and onto the trail that borders a small wooland stream and the open fields. As you walk, you will see a trail on your left. This is the park of Nine-Mile Run Trail that we will walk. A larger, much steeper walk along Nine-Mile Run is available if instead of turning left, you continue straight along the stream. You will eventually reach a road and see 376 above you. Cross over the road into an open meadow and continue on for as long as you like. Whether you take the right or continue straight, this trail is a down and back experience that users can choose their own aventure on.
WARNING:This trail does flood in heavy rains. Board walk areas are EXTREMELY slippery when wet.
If you choose to cross under 376 and up into the hills on this trail, here is Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Melissa McMasters blog post about it:https://www.pittsburghparks.org/blog/2009/09/10/eight-unsung-spots-4-nine-mile-run/
You'll pass a big pile of slag to your left, and if you glance to your right you can make out the Summerset at Frick Park development through the trees. These slag heaps are reminders of Pittsburgh's industrial past and of the long and difficult journey this area endured on its way to becoming parkland. It's a fascinating story that I plan on exploring in more detail in an upcoming blog, but the short version is that this area was part of a grand plan for a water recreation center in Pittsburgh. A combination of funding issues, the prioritization of playgrounds over other park amenities, and the fact that the Duquesne Slag Company had purchased 94 acres in the Nine Mile Run Valley before government re-zoned it doomed Nine Mile Run for the rest of the 20th century.
It wasn't until the mid-1990s that the turnaround began, and project partners began to convert the slag heap into a residential development and the abandoned valley into parkland. The annexation of the Nine Mile Run Valley added 106 acres to Frick Park, officially making it Pittsburgh's largest park at 561 acres. So when you're on your hike, you are in the newest section in all the regional parks."