Gold Route 2018
1. Pittsburgh StepTrek 2018 Gold Route - If joining from the Black Route, begin with #4. * Denotes history or significant site. Start under the Mission St. Bridge Walk toward the underside of bridge from the StepTrek Marketplace and registration area in South Side Park.
2. * South Side Park - Efforts continue to reclaim a 64 acre park that extends from Josephine St. below to the heights of the Slopes. In this wooded hillside are streams, ball fields and pathways. Volunteers have removed invasive knotweed and vines that choke the park and built its trails. With funding from The Brashear Association, SSSNA partnered with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Landforce and the Student Conservation Association to create this neighborhood asset. Friends of South Side Park manage its ongoing work.
3. Mission St. Steps - Under the bridge, turn left and climb the 102 steps to Mission Street. At the top of the steps is S. 18th Street.
4. S. 18th St. - Cross S. 18th St. at light to Pius St. on the opposite side.
5. Pius St. - Continue along Pius. At 178-180 Pius is UUBU6, a local restaurant favored by StepTrek volunteers. New signage throughout the Slopes point out public stairs such as S. 18th St. Steps, located before 107 Pius St.
6. * All Wars Memorial - Just past 107 Pius St., overlooking South Side Flats, is a small, but well-kept All Wars Memorial. Tucked behind a gate and row of shrubs, the site honors veterans. State Elm Street funds permitted extensive improvements that included landscaping, fencing, sidewalks and new flagstone. The memorial, completed and rededicated on September 11, 2007, is maintained by Slopes residents.
7. Pius St. Cont. - Continue along Pius toward town. The former convent at 66 Pius Street, on the left, is now a condominium complex. The building was once part of St. Michael Parish.
8. * St. Michael Parish - At 44 Pius is the former St. Michael's Madchen Schule and previous home of the Veronica's Veil playhouse. The theater hosted a series of plays throughout the year but was most famous for its Passion play, Veronica's Veil. Performed during Lent, it was said to be the longest running play in American community theater. These buildings were part of St. Michael's Parish. The complex on the left includes the Burning Bush, which offers a retreat center for quiet meditation in overnight rooms.
9. S. 15th St. - Pause a moment. You will make a right on S. 15th St., but ahead is the former St. Michael Church.
10. * St. Michael Church - The influence of the church was strong in the Slopes. St. Michael parish started in a house in 1848 where the church front now stands. Designed by Charles Bartberger of Stuttgart, Germany, the church was built between 1855 and 1860 on land donated by German immigrants. The surrounding land reminded them of the Rhine River valley. Though it has a gothic spire, the overall style is Rhineland Romanesque Rival similar to rural Bavarian churches.
11. * Cholera Plague of 1849 - In 1849, a deadly cholera plague hit Pittsburgh. The parish could not find enough burial places for its deceased members. Parishioners prayed to St. Roch and vowed to keep a day holy if the plague would cease. It did. Another plague hit the South Side in 1853 but no members of St. Michael died. Cholera Day is observed each August in Prince of Peace Parish on the South Side. The church was closed through a consolidation within the parish and has been redeveloped into condominiums.
12. S. 15th St. Steps - On S. 15th St., descend the 26 steps along left side to Clinton St. At Clinton, descend 60 steps to the footbridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
13. * Pedestrian Bridges - At the request of SSSNA & Slopes residents, the City and railroad completed this footbridge and another at S. 10th St. in 2002. The trestle is made of the same COR-TEN steel as the U.S. Steel tower downtown. The brown rust serves as a protective coating over the steel frame. The bridges reinstated pedestrian access between the Slopes and Flats. Another SSSNA effort brought safety lighting to the two bridges. At the end of the bridge, descend 59 steps.
14. S. 15th St., Cont. - To the right is the former Polska Szkola built in 1898. Continue down S. 15th St. one half block to Breed St. A couple of doors down on the left from the intersection is St. Adalbert Church. This is one of only two churches on the South Side in operation since the consolidation among Catholic parishes.
15. Breed St. - Make left and walk one block along Breed St.
16. S. 14th St. - Turn right but keep to left side of street.
17. Walkway Behind Breed St. Houses - Walk along the side of the first house on left. Behind it is a walkway. Make left on walkway.
18. Uxor Way - At end of walkway, make left on Uxor Way.
19. Breed St. Cont. - Make right and return to Breed St. Continue to its end at S. 12th St.
20. S. 12th St. - Be careful as you cross S. 12th St. Make right and walk 20 feet to Mary Ann St.
21. Mary Ann St. - Make left and continue to end of street.
22. S. 11th St. - Make right and walk one block
23. Freyburg St. - Make left and continue to S. 10th St.
24. S. 10th St. Steps & Pedestrian Bridge - Make left and climb 57 steps to S. 10th St. Pedestrian Bridge. Stop mid-span and look left to view the spectacular St. Michael church on the hillside. Continue across the railroad tracks and climb 49 steps to Fritz St.
25. Fritz St. - Make right and continue past German Square. Fritz turns into Windom St.
26. Windom St. - Continue on Windom St. past row of houses on your left. View Cupple Stadium, South Side and downtown to your right.
27. Lauer Way Steps - About 100 feet past last house on left are Lauer Way Steps. Make left and climb the 83 steps to Newton St.
28. Newton St. - Turn left and walk along Newton St. Landslides are an ongoing issue throughout Pittsburgh's hilly terrain. Here, the city made a large investment in 2017 to secure the street after a landslide impacted the hillside.
29. Newton St. Steps - Continue along Newton St. and along dirt trail at its end. Keep straight and descend 128 steps to German Square, which was named after the German families who settled on the Slopes.
30. German Square Steps - At bottom of Newton St. Steps, make an immediate right and climb the adjacent 265 steps from German Square.
31. Hartford St. - Make left at top of steps and follow Hartford St. Notice the houses constructed below street level on left. Ahead are both St. Josaphat and St. Michael church steeples. Keep to right to descend 30 steps to street's end.
32. Hartford St. Steps - Make left and descend 71 steps.
33. * Knoxville Incline Greenway - Turn right on the trail that marks the entrance to the most recent park in the Slopes. Dedicated in 2016, the greenway honors the Knoxville Incline's history and was created in partnership with GTECH Strategies as part of its ReClaim South program. The trail follows what was Fritz St. and leads to a bridge over a deep ravine lined with large-stone retaining walls. The incline ran through there from 1890 to 1960. SSSNA and Allentown CDC donated the trees planted at the entrance from Brosville St.
34. Welsh Way Steps - Just before the bridge over the former Knoxville Incline are Welsh Way Steps. Make left and descend the 111 steps. This area had been weed choked and overgrown for years. In cleaning this seldom-seen side of the Slopes for StepTrek, SSSNA cleared Japanese knotweed, an invasive plant. The railings were painted yellow in 2015 with help from American Eagle Outfitters. Enjoy the rustic beauty.
35. Welsh Way - Continue down Welsh Way. The Knoxville Incline, which began below on Bradish St., once climbed through the ravine to the right behind the collection of small, 1890's houses. Remnants of the inclineﾒs retaining walls can still be seen in the rear yards. It was the longest incline in Pittsburgh and the only one to curve as it ascended.
36. * The Dirty Dozen - Each November, Pittsburgh hosts a 50-mile bike race that goes up 13 of its steepest hills. Welsh Way is one of the Dirty Dozen. Another is Eleanor St. on the Black Route.
37. Brosville St. Steps - Welsh Way bends to the right and meets S. 12 St. at Brosville St. Be careful as you cross to opposite side and turn right to climb 44 steps on left side of street.
38. St. Michael Steps - At corner of Brossville & Pius Streets is the former St. Michael Church. When ready, cross to St. Michael Steps on the opposite side and climb these 150 steps.
39. Hackstown St. - At the top of St. Michael Steps is Hackstown St. Cross to St. Thomas St. Steps, which are to the right.
40. St. Thomas St. Steps - Make left and ascend the 78 steps that lead to St. Joseph's Way and St. Thomas St.
41. St. Thomas St. - Continue up St. Thomas to Monastery St. Stay right to climb 5 steps. Look right at downtown and the rivers.
42. Monastery St. Steps - Cross street and make left to ascend 15 steps on the right side. These steps and sidewalk were rebuilt a few years ago as part of a project to replace a larger set of steps that ran the length of Monastery. Ahead is St. Paul of the Cross Monastery.
43. * St. Paul of the Cross Monastery - Known as the barefoot missionaries, the Passionists vowed to live a life of prayer, poverty, penance and solitude. The first bishop of Pittsburgh invited the Italian order over in 1852. Designed by the architect Charles Bartberger, who also designed St. Michael Church, the church was completed in 1859 in the midst of an 11 acre compound chosen for its serenity, natural beauty and seclusion. The architectural style is Romanesque. The interior rose window is a copy of one in Reims, Germany.
44. Monastery Ave. - From the top of Monastery St., make a right and descend one block along left side of Monastery Ave.
45. St. Paul St. - Make left. The orange brick building on the left is the St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, which is available for individual retreats by arrangement. Continue down the street to the brick walls that are part of the monastery. The walls appear to be the original ones that shielded the enclave from the outside world. Parts of the garden and its Stations of the Cross can be seen from either end of the wall. Follow St. Paul to Yard Way. Welcome to Billy Buck Hill!
46. * Billy Buck Hill - Founded by Germans, the name Billy Buck comes from goats once kept in the yard of a local store. Bordered by cliffs and rugged terrain, the area is accessible by steps and a single street. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a milk truck once flipped over while making deliveries on its hilly streets. Another time, a horse and wagon, hauling waste from neighborhood outhouses, tumbled over the hillside. The ball field on the left is at the summit of this steep hillside.
47. Yard Way - Make a left on Yard Way and walk to Shamokin St. View uptown, Oakland and Greenfield across the river. The South Side Works, on the site of the former LTV site, sits to the bottom right. The Yard Way steps, built in 1944, contain a total of 301 steps, and extend down to Pius St. Cross Shamokin and descend 63 steps to Winter's Playground at Huron St. and another 52 steps to Baldauf St.
48. Baldauf St. - Turn right and climb 5 steps to upper sidewalk on right. Notice the houses on the left sit below grade, a feature seen in this steeply sloped neighborhood. The lower sidewalk is their only point of access. Continue to the end of the street. Just past 1929 Baldauf, on the left, is a set of steps. Descend the 10 steps to Oporto St. Steps.
49. Oporto St. Steps - Turn right. Begin descending the 115 steps to Roscoe St. To the right of the steps was the site of the Sankey brick yard that was active in the Slopes until the 1950s. Many a yard in the slopes has a stash of Sankey bricks buried under the soil.
50. Roscoe St. - At bottom of steps, cross lane and make right on Roscoe St. Ascend 9 steps on left side. In a half block is Crossman St.
51. Crossman St. - Make right and follow to S. 18th St.
52. S. 18th St. - Cross to opposite side and make right. Walk 40 feet to entrance to "South Side Park" at Saber Way.
53. South Side Park, Saber Way - Make left and walk down Saber Way into park. Serpentine Steps are on your left before the parking lot.
54. Serpentine Steps - Make a left and descend these 72 serpentine steps, grouped together in sets of three. In the hill to the right are trails created as part of the South Side Park development. Come back and discover at your leisure. At the bottom of the steps, follow the paved road on left down to the registration area where you started. From the registration area you can join the Black Route. Please see map and directions.