Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Riverview Park - First Impression: Positive

Never having spent much time in the North Side aside from ball games and an occasional social gathering or similar event, I ventured into Riverview Park late yesterday afternoon with little notion of what to expect and my only goal being to squeeze in about 6 miles before sunset.  I parked on Perrysville Avenue and simply stepped into the steep woods.  I'd been told it was hilly, wild, under-maintained, and beautiful.  Sure as the sun fell, all proved true.

Despite the park being larger than Frick, I found myself criss-crossing my tracks and circling around the same areas several times.  When I didn't pass the famous Allegheny Observatory and eventually found my way back to Perrysville over the course of 5.5 miles, I figured I hadn't seen all there was to see.  As a Christmas gift gadget informed me when I got home, I was right:

This is good news, as the northern and western portions of the trails I covered were my favorites, so I can only assume those to the further northwest might be similar.  A trail map of the park can be found here.  Trails I covered included Deer Hollow, Overlook, Old Zoo, and pretty much everything east of Kilbuck Road.

There was no shortage of wildlife, with several blue jays, one groundhog, two does and even one decent-sized buck spotted around mile-marker 1 on the above map.  Unfortunately there was also no shortage of trash, although most of that seemed to be around the cemetery border and down near Kilbuck Road. 

The woods itself is very nice--quite comparable to Frick, but with a heck of a lot less people.  The trails were a pretty even mix of single-track, some lightly maintained double-track, and some fun if hard-to-follow deer paths.

Riverview is a great park overall based on what I saw, and since that wasn't much, I look forward to getting back and exploring the rest of it.  I can see this being a particular pretty park under a few inches of snow, so I'm glad I discovered it as we ease into winter.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a trail runner, but this is not far from where I live... what would your thoughts be for someone used to running on road/treadmill for running here?

ellen said...

Riverview Park is one of my favorites -- for trail and road, but doing a trail run I often end up confused about exactly where I am -- enjoyed the post.

Roberto Cofresi said...

@ Anon: I think Riverview would be a great park for a first foray into running trails. Based on those I covered, good places to start would be on Old Zoo or Deer Hollow if you're near the bottom of the park(both accessible near the maintenance facility on Kilbuck Road), or the Leaning Ash Trail right at the intersection of Watson and Perrysville if you're near the top of the hill. I think you'll find these trails to be well-traveled and relatively mild in terms of terrain. From there, you can eye the various offshoots and get a sense of some of the tougher terrain. That's one of the things I really liked about this park is the ease with which you can mix varying trails. And it never gets too rugged, so you should be fine in most standard running shoes with a decent tread.

@ ellen: Thanks for the comment. Obviously I also got a bit confused, but enjoyed the park nonetheless. While it's easy to get "lost" in terms of where the trails hook up, you're never too far from a road so I was comfortable just feeling my way around. Today's snowfall has me excited to get back in there and explore further.