October 2014: Frick Park

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Henry Clay Frick was born in Westmoreland County in 1849 into the Overholt Whiskey Distillery family. At 21, vowing to be a millionaire by the age of 30, he struck out on his own to manufacture coke for the steel industry. He was employing 1,000 workers by his deadline. In 1882, while on his honeymoon in New York City, he met Andrew Carnegie and struck up a partnership that propelled Frick into one of the most influential industrialists of the Gilded Age. Although he spent his later years in New York City, Frick bequeathed 150 acres south of his Point Breeze mansion, Clayton, to the City of Pittsburgh for a public park. He provided a $2 million trust fund to help with long-term maintenance and the money was used to purchase more land, enlarging the park to 600 acres and making Frick Park the largest of the city’s four major parks.  

Frick Park has something to enthrall any level of canine hiker. Just out for an easy stroll with your dog? The Tranquil Trail travels gently up the spine of the park through Fern Hollow Valley, tracing and crossing the stream for more than one mile. If the wide, crushed gravel and dirt path isn’t paw-friendly enough, grassy shoulders abound. For trail dogs sniffing out more of a challenge, head over to Riverview Hill and the trails that wind up and around the wooded promontory. Or leave the Tranquil Trail and make the short spirited climb up the Biddle Trail or the longer but considerably more scenic pull up the Falls Ravine Trail to Clayton Hill and the Frick Environmental Center. Here your dog can trot the exceedingly agreeable North/South Clayton Loop for just over a mile. This is all shaded hiking for your dog.  

The stone Frick Gatehouses provide an elegant gateway to the park. The French-style gatehouse at the north end of Tranquil Trail on Reynolds Street was designed by John Russell Pope, architect of the Jefferson Memorial.The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy completely restored the gatehouse, cleaning the stonework and adding a new clay tile roof and historic lighting. New cypress doors, matching the originals, were installed, reusing some of the historic hardware. 

For the Tranquil Trail, turn south on South Braddock Road to parking on the right beyond the tennis courts. For the Frick Environmental Center, turn onto Beechwood Road.