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Pennsylvania State Parks

Trip Report: Point State Park in Pennsylvania

on
May 9, 2021
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DAY TRIP! 

Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA, is an amazing oasis in the middle of the city, full of history, panoramic views, and an iconic fountain (not to mention only about a half an hour from our house!).  

While parking can be a challenge, you’ll be surprised how much open space and how many walking trails are in and around the park for you to enjoy. 

 

History & Location

Point State Park is located in the city of Pittsburgh, right at the “point” where the Monongahela River meets the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River. It became a park in 1974 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. 

The land the park now sits on is full of history! Not only did George Washington notably visit the Point, the French, British, and American Indians all tried to establish positions there at one time or another. You can read the entire history here for the details.

Fort Pitt was built by the British in 1759, but eventually controlled by the Virginia Territory and then used by the Continental Army. 

The Block House is the only building left of Fort Pitt, and you can schedule a tour of what the PA DCNR confirms is “the only authenticated pre-Revolutionary War structure west of the Allegheny Mountains”. 

fort pitt block house
fort pitt block house flag point state park

If you didn’t bring your dogs (and of course, we did), you can also stop for a visit at the Fort Pitt Museum, open daily from 10am to 5pm. 

The Museum coordinates special programs and tours in the park, so you can check for times there, too. 

fort pitt museum point state park

Aside from the Block House and the Museum, Point State Park is dog-friendly, with plenty of wide, open areas, sidewalks, and trails your pooches will appreciate. 

And if they like cannon poses, well…

Franklin at canon in point state park

For more on Pittsburgh history – and some amazing befores and afters of the city including the Point – check out Pittsburgh Then and Now by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Parking and Overnighting

Point State Park does not have a campground. Because it is in the city of Pittsburgh, there are a lots of options nearby if you’d like to spend the night. 

Visit Pittsburgh keeps a great list of hotels and resorts in the area. 

If you are driving to the park, hopefully you are lucky enough to find paid street parking nearby. There are also several parking garages and lots within a few blocks of the park. 

Trails & Wildlife

Point State Park is surrounded by lots of walking and biking trails that run right through it – like the Great Allegheny Passage and the Three Rivers Heritage Trail – but there are also some great shorter strolls in the Park area. 

When you enter the front of the park, you’ll walk through a giant grassy area to the Portal Bridge. 

point state park marker grassy area
point state park map
point state park portal bridge view

If you hang a right at the end of the bridge walkway, you’ll put yourself onto a tree-and-native-plant-lined path considered the Woodlands areas of the park. 

wildflowers at point state park
walkways at point state park

At the end of the walkway, you’ll be on the Allegheny River side of the park with some great views of Heinz Field and Carnegie Science Center. 

heinz field at point state park

But of course, the pièce de résistance at the Point is the Fountain!

The day we visited was windy, so of the 20,000 gallons of water that flow through the fountain per minute, many of them were getting sprayed around the viewing area. 

franklin and hazel at point state park fountain

The fountain base is 200 feet wide with a nice seat ledge for more photo opps…

hazel at point state park fountain
point state park fountain with russ and franklin

There are monuments and plaques throughout the park marking historical or geographic significance, including this one called “Forks of the Ohio Marker”. 

point state park forks of the ohio marker

You can round out your walk like we did around the other side of the fountain, onto the Great Allegheny Passage and Three Rivers Heritage Trail. 

posing at point state park with fountain and bridge
point state park three rivers heritage trail walk

Finally, you can circle back to the park entrance and get a gorgeous view of the city – and see if you can spot one of the large, friendly city squirrels that live there!

point state park city squirrel

 

PIT STOP! Page Dairy Mart

pages dairy mart south side

Point State Park is right in the city with TONS of options for Pit Stops depending which direction you are coming or going from. 

Since we live just south of the city, we highly recommend winding down your day at the Point with a stop at Page Dairy Mart. 

If you like chocolate chip cookies, DO. NOT. MISS. the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae OR the Artic Swirl made with famous Nancy B cookies. 

Nothing at Page’s will let you down- every pick is a winner!

 

The Last Word

Being a native Pittsburgher, I’ve enjoyed Point State Park throughout my life – from running through the fountain spray when I was little to running through the finish line of the Great Race as an adult.

It is truly a burst of nature right in the middle of the city that Franklin and Hazel know your furry friends will enjoy!

franklin smiling at point state park
Our weekend RV season started out a little chilly. But this park would be a great visit this summer!
Have you tried chicken parm burgers? Easy peasy over the campfire!
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