Bike Ride to Carrie Furnace
While the weather’s still nice and before everything over there gets super muddy (and before deer season begins – I’ve seen guys out there hunting), is anyone interested in taking a ride over to Carrie Furnace… and, what is the best way to get there by bike? It’s certainly difficult enough by car…
if i’m not mistaken it is pretty illegal to go anywhere near carrie furnace. that and its pretty dangerous. just sayin be careful, and not saying i’m not interested.
Obviously it’s trespassing, and you certainly should not go down to Duck Hollow and head upriver along the railroad tracks, and not angle right at the Y, then go beneath the railroad bridge and through an opening in the chainlink fence, ’cause that would be illegal.
Also there are dangerous people about, you can tell by the footwear they leave behind.
yes it’s a little creepy and i get neurotic about getting busted but it’s such a fascinating old industrial hulk.
i know how to get there (from the rankin bridge end – went by duck hollow once and stumbled on a pack of crossbow hunters)… just not the best way to get to the site – or general vicinity – by bike.
The way I wouldn’t go, because there are No Trespassing signs, is to take Second/Irvine out past the end of the Jail Trail, then not angle off to the right just before the Glenwood Bridge, and not cross the very live and fast railroad tracks, though you will find the west end of the very nice Duck Hollow Trail there.
From Duck Hollow, if you want to stay out of sight of the railroad, there is a trail parallel to the river, but you then run the risk of running into people in the woods. I think I would fear them more than the railroad police. The trail isn’t so hot, either. More pushing than riding.
Still, at the other end of said trail, though, is Carrie Furnace.
The trail is ballast for a bit going east from Duck Hollow but it clears up reasonably soon. Do watch for that Y intersection, or you’ll end up on the wrong side of some rather busy (and otherwise uncrossable) tracks. In any event a rather neat bit of post-industrial Pittsburgh.
And watch out for people, as Stu says. I’ve run into dirt bikers (at least you can hear them coming).
I’m not interested on this either because it is both trespassing and super illegal, but let me know if/when this happens and what time/place so I can be as far away as possible.
Back in the day before it was renovated I never trespassed the Cork Building and sunbathed in its rooftops. And I never trespassed multiple times at the old (now demolished) Dixmont Insane Asylum back in route 65.
Of course I’ve never been inside Carrie Furnace, but I imagine that if I were to enter, I might feel like one of those “meddling kids” wandering around an abandoned steel mill in an old Scooby Doo episode.
There also might be some old cool “safety first” messages and steel-related logos still visible on the walls.
But I’m just imagining all this.
A friend told me about going there. He seemed to have a good time.
I would be very interested in riding in the vicinty of Duck Hollow, if anyone were to have a ride in that area.
Noah, I’m your company if you want any. Could pose as a guy merely walking his dog… And as for the potential for sketchy encounters, a German shepherd’s not bad company to have either.
What’s the “best” way? As far as I can tell, it’s 6 of one, half dozen of the other – Rankin or Duck Hollow. However, having explored this area recently, I’ll chime in further.
Short of entering the grounds (which I haven’t done, but which, as Nate indicated, is “doable”), there’s a much closer and spectacular view of Carrie Furnace from Monongahela Ave. between Swissvale and Rankin.
I eventually found the site by taking the trail parallel to the river which Stu describes, having been defeated by the higher (and much easier) way along the tracks. But then, I initially came the other direction (from Rankin), and am not sure how intuitive that “Y” from Duck Hollow is. The river trail is quite challenging, (requiring numerous dismounts), but it was an adventure! I even ran into people, and they were harmless… well, maybe not to the fish.
At any rate (for those not familiar), from Rankin: Take Kenmawr Ave. down and underneath the bridge, then an immediate right (and down) on Talbot Ave. (or what becomes Talbot), make the first left on Fleet St., go two blocks, then left again and under the bridge, and take the street to the end. You’ll see the road.
That road, (which you can follow the whole way to Duck Hollow), passes right by Carrie Furnace, but you can’t even see it, due to the high embankment of the rail line on the left, which is inpenetrable and quite frustrating. At last (and a ways past Carrie Furnace), there’s a road that goes up to the left…, up to the rail line, approaching a bridge…, yet still, inpenatrable and invisible!
Here’s the secret: that road (which you can’t miss), is a decoy! The correct way is right after that, and looks like nothing…, like it couldn’t possibly go anywhere…, yet will take you under the bridge and to the fence. At last you can see the thing (though fairly distant).
That bridge, btw, goes to the Waterfront, and is not that long… just sayin’.
to not go to carrie furnace, there isn’t a ladder that you can’t climb up the railroad embankment about a mile down that access road, and there isn’t a path leading down the other side to a nonexistent hole in the fence…
I thought about rolling out there a while back and never got around to it…but here’s the thread from that discussion, in case it helps you: clicky the linky
Wow, @Noah. This thread sure has produced a cornucopia of sensible advice for anyone who might be so foolish as to consider venturing out to Carrie Furnace.
I hope that you didn’t go through the trouble of picking a time and date and, god forbid, think of a reasonable meeting place. Though I imagine that under the Rankin Bridge or the Duck Hollow parking lot might have struck you as possibilities, or even the eastern terminus of the Jail Trail.
I want in too.I may need a bike with wider tires to borrow….
now im not saying I want in but if you happen to NOT pick a time and place be sure not to tell anyone like me about it
@Nate, that is a gorgeous photo!
@Noah, I wonder if I saw the ladder, but just considered it to be unbikable (unlike stairs, where one can carry). Besides, I was sure an obvious access road would appear at some point (though it never did), so I would not have taken the notion of climbing a ladder seriously enough to even remember it.
Funny, all I wanted was to SEE the damned thing, which proved incredibly challenging. I think the inaccessability of the place gives it a certain mystique. I’d almost be tempted not to go again, should you all decide not to go.
Going to the Carrie Furnace is one of my favorite Pittsburgh adventures. Too bad I’m not there anymore.
By the way, make sure to take the stairs by the deer head rather than climbing sketchy rusted-out metal grates & stuff.
The Duck Hollow route is a great ride itself & a lot of fun to reach via Nine Mile Run. And going that way the fence gates have been wide open & the “no trespassing” signs have all been torn down or vandalized, so that means you’re not trespassing! Of course.
Hmm, you might be right. When I wasn’t there in July 2009, there were no No Trespassing signs anywhere for me not to see.
My main purpose for that trip was getting from Duck Hollow to Braddock, to see if it could be done at all, and how easily, and how fast. Taking the woods trail was actually an error. I think I would have made a lot better time, and had less physical trouble, up by the tracks.
I really want to see a nice public trail starting in Braddock, using that old brick street, to Duck Hollow, and then a switchback structure up to the Glenwood Bridge and then across the tracks. Turlcrik to Dahntahn would be a pretty sweet ride, methinks.
It’s the “across the tracks” part that is the showstopper for any trail. Railroads hate anyone crossing their tracks.
But, even so, I just recently bought a new digital SLR. It’s too bad that I could never, under any circumstances, be able to take pictures of the Carrie Furnace.
I’m definitely not interested because I’ve never done anything like this before and Pittsburgh history doesn’t interest me at all. If a meeting place/time should be established, count me out. At any rate, if your view of Carrie Furnace looks like this; at no time should you simply jump over the jersey barrier, go through the broken fence and stealthily bolt across the open field.
If one were to get to Duck Hollow Trail at the bottom of Nine Mile Run “across the tracks” is not necessary at any point of the trip. Instead you’ll only have to go under the tracks.
Railroads have good reason to hate people crossing their tracks. Horrid tragedies happen when peoploe cross carelessly.
That said, it’s not a show stopper, just a huge expense. Consider the pedestrian bridges across the tracks on the edge of the Sout side slopes.
A ramp could be made from the Glenwood Bridge down to the trail that would allow access. It might be cheaper than most RR bike bridges, because it would be the Glenwood Bridge that actually crosses the tracks. Still not cheap.
In the context of a bike route from downtown to Braddock? I’d say it’s worth it.
From what I understand reading this thread, there might need to be another RR-bike bridge east of Duck Hollow. I’m guessing that would cost in the same range the trail bridges being put in in Duquesne. Maybe a bit cheaper for few tracks, but similar.
From the PG:
A $500,000 state grant helped to fund the bridges, with private money paying the rest of the $950,000 cost, Mr. Paulik said. Developing the piers and substructure cost $2.5 million, nearly all of which was private donations, he said.
%500,000 in state money plus about $2.95 million from private sources and private donations? Jeez. How much of the proposed Zombie Mon Expressway is to be paid for with private sources and donations?
Rivers of Steel does hard hat tours of Carrie Furnace in case anyone wants to do this legally and get some history along with it.
I wasn’t there years ago and from what I hear it’s pretty amazing and terrifying at the same time. The giant deer sculpture is something to see, or so I hear.
Stu, I feel the same way about that trail. With continued development of the 9 mile run trail we have what amounts to more connections from downtown or south side to regent square and braddock.
Dang. I’ll be in NC for the last hard hat tour date.
Does anyone know if they plan on doing any more tours next year?
Please DO NOT count me in for this. After all I TOTALLY hate urban-archeology….
All of y’all need to get out more, seems like nobody does anything
Why would we ever want to do something that might be illegal. after all the fine for trespassing might be like 500$… you know the same fine for running over a guy on a bike.
wow, sorry about that.
Bikey… the old cork factory was awesome. That was
like 15 years ago.
dback – but the chances of getting run over by a car out by Carrie Furnace balance out the fine.
Yes, no, absolutely don’t tell me anything about not meeting somewhere. I’ll make sure to forget my camera, in case there’s nothing to photograph.
@steevo … Yeap, Cork factory = awesome! Last time I was NOT there was in 2004? NOT crossing the bridge to the second building, NOT seeing those beautiful graffiti murals. NOT picking up antipasto yumminess from the Strip District and then NOT heading to the Cork Building for lunch, reading, napping & sunbathing…..
Yeap… don’t know what you’re talking about
@NOAH… you started this. Please throw some dates/times so Stu and I and whoever else can steer clear from the area.
Anyone care to just sign up for the hard hat tour on October 9? $25 is better than a $500 fine… I would love to check this place out, but don’t know how I feel about trespassing.
i dont know what the fine really is but on the couple of previous times I have been involved in a form of trespassing it was more of the cops showing up and saying “You can’t be here” (I love abandoned factories.)
I second dbacklover’s experience of cops giving you the obligatory “You can’t be here”.
I’ve also had “How the hell did you get here?”
“Who told you you could be here?”
and my favorite…
“You boys are crazy.”
@skipdip: I concur with dbacklover: As long as you are not destroying or vandalizing the place, IF cops show up, they will play nice about it and will let you go with only a warning. Although, if you’re turd and start running looking shady, well… that will mean trouble.
The times I got caught up by cops, I was just asked to leave. Although, I’m an innocent puppy with big brown eyes who was just taking photos, so maybe that helped too….
But wait, I’ve never trespassed anywhere, so what do I know?
Get a hardhat, carry a briefcase, and act like you belong there. It’s like a passport to anywhere.
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