Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.

South Side Slopes

October 3
Starts at 11 a.m. (self-guided)

Pittsburgh’s steps are as iconic as our bridges, rivers and sports team. And Pittsburgh holds the distinction of being the city with the most steps in the U.S. That means we’re home to 712 public stairways and a total of 44,645 steps. If you’ve ever wondered which Pittsburgh nabe contains the most city steps—or you’ve been curious to see what lies at the top or bottom of our storied public stairways—then the StepTrek is for you.

Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.
Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.

Marking its 15th year luring urban hikers, the Pittsburgh StepTrek kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 3rd at South Side Park at the corner of Josephine & 21st Streets. It’s appropriately situated in the South Side which might have the most steps of any neighborhood– 5,447–  in the U.S.

Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.
Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.

StepTrek offers a self-guided tour of the neighborhood’s steep hillsides, dramatic topography and spectacular views.

Trekkers can follow two courses, which feature approximately 2,500 steps (read: roughly 1,460 vertical feet) and cover the equivalent distance of climbing Mt. Washington. The family-friendly event will include helpful signage, water and rest stops along the routes, numerous flat and gently sloping areas, and fruit and refreshments in the staging areas.

Exploring a neighborhood that has long been dependent upon steps, participants will gain insights about the South Side Slopes through photography and historical materials. Each pre-registered trekker will receive a map along with a course narrative that highlights local landmarks, counts steps, and includes historic background about South Side stairs and buildings. Volunteers will be positioned along the routes to provide assistance to participants.

Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.
Courtesy South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association.

Traveling at their own pace, trekkers will enjoy breathtaking vistas with unobstructed views—such as Oakland’s Schenley Park and the downtown skyline—and explore tree-shrouded paths and secluded passageways while learning about neighborhood history.

The event will also feature realtor open houses taking place throughout the hillside community. Throughout the years, the StepTrek courses have changed to offer different perspectives of the Slopes.

When finished, trekkers will be treated to festive live music and refreshments while enjoying the exhilarating sense of accomplishment upon reaching some of the city’s highest peaks.

Be sure to pop into the event’s special staging area to see a display of historic South Side photos culled from the collections of the Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and the Carnegie Library.

Proceeds from the StepTrek will benefit the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, a volunteer-run organization that works to improve the community. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item to help stock The Brashear Association‘s Food Pantry.

Purchase tickets now.

Read more about the city’s efforts to preserve our steps and the inaugural Pittsburgh Steps Survey in NEXTpittsburgh.


Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.