Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on November 17, 2020.
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When thinking of hiking in the East End, odds are good your thoughts will quickly turn to Frick Park– the largest publicly accessible park in Pittsburgh. But there are a few other green spaces off of these main trails that you may not know about, and one of which is Nine Mile Run!
Although Nine Mile Run was technically annexed by Frick Park just a few years ago, this one is often viewed as its own space thanks to its unique position jutting out from the park south towards the Monongahela River (where it later connects up to the slightly longer Duck Hollow Trail that follows the river). Couple an even more recent effort to clean the waters at the run and you have a natural area that is a bit under-the-radar despite being a part of a more-well known city park.
So rather than include this one in our Frick Park article, we thought it'd be best to feature this one on its own!
What You Can See at Nine Mile Run
In a way, the scenery at Nine Mile Run is not much different than at nearby Frick Park. You can simply enjoy a few miles walking through some serene nature that is, when we go at least, often less busy than the main section of the park itself.
Although most of the stream at Nine Mile Run is run underground thanks to developments at the turn of the 20th century, a large stretch of the stream is above ground within the park. Thanks to the efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers in 2006, the stream was revitalized in what was considered to be the largest urban stream restoration in the USA when it was finished- and to be honest you'll hardly even notice because it is simply a serene space with less foot traffic than the main trails of Frick Park itself!
As you continue further down the trail, you head down a narrow path that works its way down to a trailhead that connects to the Duck Hollow Trail along the Monongahela River.
This trail, unfortunately, abruptly ends at the Glenwood Bridge not too far away and, in our experience at least, has had frequent construction on it that has limited accessibility. So while you may not hike on this one very far, it is worth taking a short stroll south to catch the impeccable view under the Homestead Grays Bridge as it is just a few minute's walk away.
To reach this spot, turn left at the Nine Mile Run lower trailhead, walk a few hundred feet along the road to the water, turn right, and pass through the parking lot to hop on the Duck Hollow Trail. Once on the trail, walk a few hundred feet to just before the bridge. To your left, you'll see a small path off that connects up to the shore underneath the bridge a few feet away.
Hiking Nine Mile Run
One of the things I love most about walking along the roughly one-mile (one way) Nine Mile Run trail is that the path is mostly crushed gravel and a fairly consistent grade the entire way- making it a fairly easy walk for all skill levels. In fact, the only real challenge on this one is first finding the trailhead itself.
While there are small lots illustrated on Google Maps with limited parking spaces, the most accessible spot here is the main Frick Park parking lot on the Regent Square side of the park (just off Hutchinson Street). Here, rather than jumping onto one of the main trails for the park, head around the grassy field at the end of the lot and you'll see a sign for the Nine Mile Trail access point which you'll follow to the right to start the trail.
From there, the only other aspect of the trail worth noting is that around the stream sections you have the option to walk on a wooded boardwalk along the water or on the main trail running parallel to it. For the best views, you'll do well hitting the boardwalk!
Overall, Nine Mile Run is a nice side trail off the main section of Frick Park that offers a completely different ambiance and, in our experience, far fewer people when out exploring. So if you're in the mood for a new trail over your usual route at this one, give Nine Mile Run a try- just don't forget to connect up to the Duck Hollow Trail to go under the Homestead Grays Bridge too!
Nine Mile Run's accessible trail runs from Frick Park's southeastern end for the Monongahela River. As mentioned above, our favorite access point is the Regent Square side parking lot; however, smaller parking areas exist along the trail as well.