Eliza Furnace Trail (Jail Trail) – Three Rivers Heritage Trail, PA

An urban paved rail trail good for lunchtime exercise.

Near: Pittsburgh, PA

Distance: 3.95 miles

Elevation Gain: 86 ft

Hike Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Condition: Fire road/pavement

Hike Type: Point to Point

The Eliza Furnace section of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, affectionately called “The Jail Trail”, is level and paved from Downtown Pittsburgh at the end of Grant Street into Panther Hollow in Oakland. Technically, it is the Northern terminus of the Great Allegheny Passage but the last mile is through city streets and it doesn’t actually connect to the rest of the trail just yet.

As it runs between the Parkway East (US 376) and Second Avenue, for the most part, the noise and lack of scenery make it’s main utility now as a lunchtime exercise. I personally use it as my primary bicycle commute route, keeping me off the most dangerous of Pittsburgh streets.

Don’t let the profile fool you. It’s pretty much flat from Downtown to the Children’s Hospital parking lot, then a short hill down to Second Avenue and a gentle incline up into Panther Hollow.


Take the Parkway East inbound (US376) and take the Greenfield exit (just after the Oakland exit) onto Bates Street. Turn left onto Second Avenue and, just shortly before Second turns under the bridge there is a left turn with a sign for the Children’s Hospital parking lot. There is a free trailhead lot just before the Children’s Hospital lot gate.

If you continue on Second, turn under the bridge then turn left at the light onto Saline St. Turning left on Boundry St. will take you straight to the Panther Hollow parking lot. I had my car vandalized here so you might want to reconsider parking here.

The Allegheny County Jail parking lot is near the downtown end of the trail off of Second Avenue, but you have to pay for parking at that location. (Lat:40.42583 Lon:-79.95262)