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Hays Woods

Since the URA is buying Hays Woods and a new park will follow, does anyone know: 1) what biking opportunities are currently in Hays Woods? 2) where the (unofficial) trailheads are located?
2016-06-11 06:01:04
Google maps w/ bicycling shows the trails.
2016-06-11 06:24:35
The two most easily accessible entry points are at the end of Agnew road & at Glass run near the intersection with Cathell road. The trails shown on Google maps are a mixture of fire roads, walking trails and goat paths, many of which are not bikable (IMHO). If it's your first visit (by bike or car) I'd suggest entering at the end of Agnew. There is some on-street parking there, but it's residential so please be respectful. From here there are two dirt roads/trails that are bikeable even on non MTB. The road to your left will require a little bit of walking your bike, but it follows the ridge to a spot above the intersection of Carson and Becks run, looking down at Pages Dairy. The Road going straight is the longest and flattest and has more connections to other trails. It will take you out along the ridge where the eagles nest is (please stay on the road to not disturb the nest!) and at it's eastern end looks down on the Glenwood bridge It's not unusual to encounter people on ATVs, walking dogs off leash, burned out stolen cars and even hunters during various seasons. We all seem to get along fairly well and I've never felt threatened or anything, just a heads up.
2016-06-11 08:29:29
Regarding the flyovers on the Steel Valley Trail (of the GAP), my understanding is that the President (or someone in that arena) of US Steel (which has some rights with the RR there) is/was/liked/... biking/biking/bikers/bikes/... and provided funding/seed-funding/matching-funding/right-of-way/... Until that came out of the sky, the plan for the trail was to go along 837.
2016-06-11 12:33:51
I know Jewish health care foundation donated money too. Their name is on one of them. If only there was be a flyover to get from the gap to Hays woods...
2016-06-11 18:05:58
There's a big hill to climb. If there were a flyover from the GAP across the CSX railroad tracks (the low ones) and route 837 and the Norfolk Southern tracks (the high ones), you'd still be at the bottom of a steep slope 200 feet high. The topography makes direct access from the Mon River difficult. To bike to Hays Woods using existing roads it's basically either Glass Run Rd or Beck's Run Rd to get to climb the back side of the woods. To climb the front of the woods, the slope that faces the river, you'd need to build a long, sloping trail analogous to McArdle Roadway to climb those 200 feet.
2016-06-11 19:05:22
From •A five-year, $250,000 grant to the Regional Trail Corp. to help complete the Steel Valley section of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 335-mile hiking and biking trail between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. The grant, which will fund renovation of the Whitaker Footbridge, represented a way for JHF to build on its own initiatives promoting healthy lifestyles and to support the "Pittsburgh 250 & Fit" initiative that's being planned as part of the anniversary of the city's founding. Among other community health and fitness projects JHF has funded are the JHF Riverwalk that is part of North Shore Riverfront Park and Working Hearts, which brings attention to risk factors for women's heart disease and ways to reduce them. Also from National Geographic picks Great Allegheny Passage JUDY D.J. ELLICH | DAILY AMERICAN REPORTER | August 23, 2012 National Geographic travel editors picked the Great Allegheny Passage as one of the 10 best places to get away this fall. The hiking and biking trail, which curves through southern Somerset County, is among a group of destinations that include Milford Sound in New Zealand, one of the wettest places in the world; Alba International White Truffle Fair in Alba, Italy; and Devil's Pool, a natural rock formation on the edge of Victoria Falls in...
2016-06-12 03:35:41
"Documents filed with a state agency reveal that the city plans to develop about 75 acres of the land as housing and another 8 acres as two new access roads from Becks Run and Agnew roads. Questions remain over the scope of any future housing development and its ecological impact. Several community leaders and nearby residents PublicSource spoke with were surprised by the emerging plans."
2017-11-08 09:55:55
It's sad they're thinking of extra housing in there *that should be PARK*.   I'm curious about the entrance on Beck's Run.... I really hope they add USABLE bike/walking infra from the trail up to the park and give Beck's Run a road diet.
2017-11-08 11:43:52
In other words, take the only part of the property amenable to suburban sprawl? That’s bullshit.
2017-11-08 17:05:38
The interesting thing is that the housing would be in Pittsburgh city proper but part of the Baldwin Whitehall school district.
2017-11-09 09:23:06
Public meeting on the development of the Hays Woods area: Hays Woods Task Force Public Feedback Meeting 4/3 Please join us for an update on the Hays Wood Task Force's Draft Findings and Recommendations Report, and provide us with your input towards future park master planning efforts and first steps. Hays Woods Task Force Public Feedback Meeting Wednesday, April 3 at 6:30 PM Holy Angels Parish 408 Baldwin Rd, accessible by 56 bus Contact Lisa Ray for accessibility accommodations at or 412-255-2219. More project information can be found at:
2019-03-14 08:50:08
Stupid question, but how would I get there on bike, if I biked there? I do not know this part of town well at all. I think my choices are to either hop the tracks opposite Becks Run Rd or take the lane on 885 past Hot Metal.
2019-03-17 17:32:05
Correct. All terrible options. I think there is an entrance off of glass run but to get to that it is 885 or Beck's Run. Having never bikes it before my guess is that Beck's run is less scary. But I think I remember ZZ saying it was very narrow and curvy.
2019-03-17 20:42:48
Holy Angels is very easy to get to by bike. Take the GAP trail to just past the eagles viewing area.  When you go through the gates at the scrap yard turn right and go across the RR tracks.  Stay on this road and the church is only a half mile away.  The church doesn't have any bike racks, but the parish house next door has a nice metal railing that I have locked to many times without issue.
2019-03-18 11:00:32
Becks Run Rd. is a disaster. I've heard that BMUFL signs have been installed, but that was after my last time attempting this suicidal two-mile long hill with cars flying by at speeds well above the posted 35MPH speed limit.
2019-03-18 14:37:37
2nd the ease of getting to this location by bike - just get off the GAP trail at the scrapyard. I've done it so many times. STAY OFF 885. You can take Baldwin Road from the scrapyard past the manufacturing plant that is there and you will soon be at the church. Unfortunately Hays itself isn't so easy to access by bike.
2019-03-26 15:49:41
*BUMP* The Hays Woods meeting is this week.
2019-04-01 13:54:34
I hope to be able to attend. It breaks my heart to think that Hays (and the slags in Swisshelm Park) may be turned into residential land instead of left as woodland. Pittsburgh has plenty of vacant housing - the Urban REdevelopment Association should be focused on re-developing existing residential and commercial property - not property that has been returned to a natural(ish) state. Corey O'Conner seems to be very supportive of the Somerset at Frick development in Swisshelm Park even though he lives right next to the planned development. If he doesn't support a park in his own backyard, I have little hope for him supporting keeping Hays natural. He wants the tax money from the developments.
2019-04-02 08:30:02
Brief report on the Hays Woods public meeting yesterday:
  • Corey O'Connor says there will be no housing development in Hays Woods. He opposed development there because, in part, school students there would not attend Pittsburgh schools.
  • The high level plan for the park is minimal disruption, i.e. don't cut down the big trees, don't build many structures. But they'll probably take measures to control invasive species such as Japanese knotweed. They even seem reluctant to do much trail-building (a mistake, in my opinion) citing landslide worries.
  • Much of the area is undermined due to past coal mining.
  • They predict it will be years before we see significant changes there. First they need to get funding for the planning, write a master plan for the park, get funding for the work, ...
@Marko82 was at the meeting and suggested to Martina Battistone (Pgh environmental planner) that a bike & pedestrian bridge be erected from the GAP trail over the RR tracks at Beck's Run Rd and a spur trail into the park be built. That would be excellent. Task Force report is here:
2019-04-04 13:29:39
Why wouldn't those kids go to PPS? Is part of it in Balwin? If so, it doesn't make sense why the city is involved then.
2019-04-04 13:34:36
Was the opposition to trails because of fear of trail users being injured in landslides or because they believe the trails are a contributing factor in causing landslides?
2019-04-04 14:16:41
I suspect they think the trails would get eroded away too quickly. I would point to the trails recently built in Emerald View park (Mount Washington) as highly successful trails in comparable terrain.
2019-04-04 14:55:10
Years of inaction while a master plan that nobody will read is completed for a park that's already been decided will have little to no actual development so beautifully personifies the Peduto administration that nobody even blinks when it's said.
2019-04-04 15:12:53
The reason the kids will go to Baldwin is complicated.  Back in the 40's this land was wholly located within Baldwin Borough.  J&L Steel (later LTV) wanted to buy the property to use for it's research center but they didn't want to have to deal with another municipality since the plant was located in the City.  So a deal was struck between the three parties - the land would be ceded over to the city, but with the stipulation that if the land was ever developed for any other use the Boro would receive the school taxes. So if they build houses on this site the owners will live in the City of Pittsburgh, they will pay Pittsburgh wage tax, but will pay Baldwin School taxes.  (the worst of both taxing bodies: 3% vs 1%; 21.0500 vs 9.8400 millage) I must admit that someone on the Baldwin team was really thinking ahead on this one.
2019-04-04 17:02:08
I guess the real benefit is that it makes Pittsburgh not want to develop it, so we win.
2019-04-04 17:46:34
@marko Actually, of the 3 percent pgh wage tax, 1 percent goes to city of PGH and 2 goes to PPS. Of the Baldwin 1 percent wage tax,0.5 percent to Baldwin boro and 0.5 percent to Baldwin-whitehall schools. So if PGH allowed Hays to be developed, residents there would pay 1 percent to city of PGH and 0.5 percent to Baldwin schools for 1.5 percent total. It would be unconstitutional for,say, PPS to collect tax on residents who send their kids to Baldwin-whitehall schools. But the non pps schools is enough incentive for Pittsburgh to not allow development. Which is good anyway. We need fewer suburban tract mcmansions.
2019-04-04 19:19:01
@NMR - forgive me if I am misunderstanding your post, but are you criticizing the fact that they are preparing a development plan for the project? If I understand correctly, this is a 660-acre plot, with varied terrain that abuts a variety of transportation options. How in the world could they build a proper park with all the different types of amenities and features, not to mention parking and access, without a plan? Again, I'm sorry if I'm jumping the gun here and misunderstanding your post. If I am, maybe you could clarify a bit. But otherwise, I think developing a plan is exactly the right thing to do, and if it takes a bit of time to do (and it almost certainly will), better to take the time now to get it right, than rush in and screw it up.
2019-04-05 08:50:18
I think people would be happy with a "park," meaning cut formal trails, maybe some trail head parking, and leave the rest wild. It's so slope-y that you couldn't landscape it like a Frick or Schenley anyway.
2019-04-05 14:47:10
I'll agree with @AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe on the master plan. There will have to be some considerable fundraising to make improvements and most entities that give funding for this sort of project, at this scale, will require significant planning before implementation. Takes longer, for sure.  The benefit is that the process is documented well, with input from stakeholders, and improvements aren't made haphazardly and shortsightedly.
2019-04-09 12:49:07
No housing development on this land is a massive win for the residents of Allegheny County and our environment. I grew up in a rural area far from here and am continuously amazed by the natural beauty of this city compared to others that I've visited. Although the environment here really suffers still, there is so much green space and so much potential. Hoping some better trails can be built here - agree that Emerald View has some great trails built despite landslide potential. I think the Emerald View trails are an amazing, unique Pittsburgh feature - interesting trails built on steep hillsides with great views. Show me a Pittsburgh park that isn't threatened by landslides though. Any talk of Trail Pittsburgh getting involved?
2019-04-16 10:14:17