Quick Getaway for Fall
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• What to do: The scenery changes dramatically along a new leg of the Great Allegheny Passage that officially opened in June in Homestead and connects with a well-marked existing bike route to Boston -- a round trip of roughly 24 miles. It brings riders up close and personal to Pittsburgh's industrial heritage -- U.S. Steel Edgar Thomson Works, Braddock Locks and Dam on the Monongahela, warehouses and rail yards -- and transforms into bucolic trails at Boston (where you can continue on to Washington, D.C., if you want).
• Where to start: Anywhere in the Waterfront complex in Homestead, but many park at the Pump House lot, across from Lowe's Home Improvement store. You'll have a short ride on the sidewalk before reaching the paved bike trail.
• What to see: You'll cross a new 170-foot-long bridge in Whitaker over six sets of active train tracks, then follow the trail behind Kennywood's rollercoaster and Pit Fall. In Duquesne, you'll cross a 110-foot-long span in the RIDC industrial park and then another bridge over the Mon into McKeesport. The route follows the shoreline then turns off the bike trail, over active railroad tracks and into town. Follow the white bike symbols on the sidewalk on Lysle Boulevard. A Great Allegheny Passage sign at the McKeesport Municipal Building on Lysle invites cyclists to use the restrooms there. The route follows along Gergely Riverfront Park and you'll pick up the bike trail again to cross the Albert V. "Bud" Belan Bridge (15th Street Bridge) that connects McKeesport with Port Vue and Liberty over the Youghiogheny River.
On the other side, cross Liberty Way (be careful with the traffic -- this is the busiest spot you'll cross) and follow the route on lightly traveled River Ridge Road (we never saw a car on it) and connect once again to the bike trail. You'll soon pass through Dead Man's Hollow, where the trail along the Yough becomes flat, shaded and beautiful. There are public restrooms on the left at Boston Ballfield Park and farther down the trail bike and kayaking rentals, shops and eateries in Boston.
• Fun factor: Definitely 8, for the back-door peek of Kennywood.
First Published September 30, 2011 12:00 am