Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway – Hiding in Plain Sight

Last Updated on August 1, 2020 by Jeremy

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We're fortunate here in Pittsburgh to be home to a lot of green space in and around the city. You may know some of the staples, like Frick Park and Schenley Park, but beyond these we are also lucky to have several other large parks that are practically hiding in plain sight.

Take the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway. This aptly named park is located on the edge of Beechview and shares a border with the base of Mount Washington and route 51. You'd likely never know this park was there, but at nearly 100 acres it is large enough that it begs exploring.

After finding out that we'd been driving by one of the parks entrances for years without knowing any better, we had to stop to see what we could find.

What You Can See at Seldom Seen Greenway

Seldom Seen Greenway

The area that is open to explore near the parking lot at the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway is relatively small, but is packed full of unique things to see that would warrant a short, 30 minute visit.

Seldom Seen Greenway

The main tunnel is a brick archway and is one of the coolest pieces of architecture we've seen in a regional park. Within it is a small stream full of rock formations that feels like something out of the Finger Lakes of New York (namely, Watkins Glenn State Park).

The scale is almost microscopic compared to that one, so don't get your hopes up for much, but if you've been you'll feel some nostalgia like we did.

From there, the entry to the park has a train track that goes overhead which can be reached with a decent climb. The part of the tracks that are easily accessed are covered with graffiti and make for the perfect photo-op.

Seldom Seen Greenway

If you continue down the trail, you'll find Sawmill Run creek which follows along the path for a while until it ultimately cuts off the trail altogether. It looks like a bridge was present at one point but is now gone, and may cut off your exploration any further as it did for us.

Hiking at Seldom Seen Greenway

Seldom Seen Greenway

I'm going to be the first to admit that we have not given Seldom Seen Greenway the justice it deserves. The reason for this is that the park is just under 100 acres in size, but we were prevented from exploring further due to the creek that we were unable to cross.

As such, most of our exploration of this park for our first visit was the area in and around the parking lot, making for a relatively quick trip out and back.

Seldom Seen Greenway

For those who want to climb to the train tracks and see the graffiti shown in this post, expect a steep climb up with a fairly hard climb down- almost to the point where you must sit down to not fall over (my dirty pants can attest to this requirement).

To continue on in the park, our guess is it is either best to:

  1. Head to a different parking lot (all the ones we tried were unfortunately blocked with posted no trespassing signs).
  2. Ford the river (which wouldn't be that hard if you didn't have a small dog and also had a change of pants).
  3. Walk across the railroad tracks and try to find a trail that way (knowing that this may not be kosher with the rail lines or even go to a trail at all).

As we will be returning to this one very soon, we plan on updating this post with more information once we find it out what else this park has in store!

To reach the parking lot used in this post for the Seldom Seen Greenway, head to Saw Mill Run Blvd just south of Mount Washington. The parking lot is located on the “ramp” to Woodruff Street which heads up to Mount Washington. (The one where you turn right to pull out, loop around, and go straight up the mountain where the salt depot and BP gas station is.) 

Find Another Spot in Nature to Visit

Find More to Do in Beechview

4 thoughts on “Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway – Hiding in Plain Sight”

  1. There is an entrance at Tropical Park. It’s only a trail but it leads to the parts you can’t get to which is alot. Also, the saw mill run entrance if go to left after the tunnel and walk up that it is an easier way to the tracks and if you follow they will get on the other side of the creek.

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  2. I love Seldom Seen. There’s so much more to see there. There’s an unimaginably peaceful and quiet Grove with massive oaks and maples all through it. In portions of the creek the bank is lined with 1900s garbage like broken crockery, home iron smelting slag, and oyster shells.

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  3. If you turn left pass the tunnel you can turn right and cross over the railroad bridge. Then look for an opening to your right. The railroad has built up a small dirt pile at the opening but it is an very easy climb over. Once back in woods you have four options:
    1. turn left and take a very rough and unclear trail to Brashear High School,
    2. Go down a grade and you have three option, the first is turn right and go back to Saw Mill Run
    3. Go straight up the New Water line installed several years ago. that will take you to Shadycrest park.
    4. look to your left and see a cut in a dirt pile and walk up the old road that leads back to the water line trail but less steep then the water line trail but much more overgrown (and you can look for the broken water hydrant on that road).
    I have not been to Seldom scene for many years so things may have change (one change was in the 1970s there was a steel pedestrian bridge over Saw Mill Run at the old Bridge abutment, it was removed by the early 1980s).
    Please note till the late 1970s. Seldom Scene was to be a stop on the Skybus system intended to replace the South Hills Streetcar system and that metal bridge was probably tied in with that debacle and once it was decided that upgrading the Streetcar system to a light rail was not only cheaper but would provide better transit service the Bridge was removed and no work was done in Seldom scene (Or should I use “Lower St Clair Township” for that was the last surviving part of that township, it was annex Pittsburgh in the late 1920s, originally Lower St Clair Township ran on the same lines north and south as Upper St Clair Township but from the northern border of Upper St Clair township to the Monongahela River. Since the early 1800s various parts of Lower St Clair Township would break off, starting with the Borough of Birmingham, which was shortly annexed by the City of Pittsburgh as its South Side Neighborhood. Other areas did the same and either was annexed by Pittsburgh or stayed independent as Mt Lebanon and Scott Townships or Dormont Borough.

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