While it’s known far and wide as the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh has more sets of stairs than any other city in the country. And no Pittsburgh neighborhood has more stairs than the South Side Slopes.
From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association
(SSSNA) will host their 13th annual StepTrek —a stair-centric day featuring a pair of self-guided step tours, food trucks, an artists’ marketplace and more than enough water to keep you hydrated on your hike.
As usual, StepTrek will feature a pair of routes — black and gold — for trekkers seeking differing degrees of difficulty, and SSSNA volunteers have been working for weeks to clear the paths.
“There were two different sets of steps which were completely overgrown [with vegetation]. We’ve cleared them and both of those will be on the gold route, which will be the more difficult one this year,” says SSSNA President Brian Oswald.
The Slopes are home to 68 of Pittsburgh’s 712 staircases, many of which haven’t been maintained in years. Oswald says he understands that the city doesn’t always have the money to fix the steps, but that his organization does what it can to showcase them and keep them up.
StepTrek is meant to offer participants views of the city they’ve never seen before while taking them through the ins and outs of one of Pittsburgh’s most topographically and architecturally interesting neighborhoods.
“The most frequent response we hear every year is, ‘I had no idea this was here,’” Oswald says.
In addition to a pair of routes, participants can engage with an orienteering course, designed in collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club, and a smartphone app which describes the history of landmarks along the steps.
South Side Park, located at Josephine and 21st Streets, will serve as StepTrek's hub. Tickets for StepTrek are $12 in advance and $15 the day of. Advanced tickets may be purchased through Showclix
Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Briand Oswald