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Pittsburgh, Home of the Steepest Road in America – Kent French

Pittsburgh, Home of the Steepest Road in America

by: Kent French

I have to admit, I’m a fan of steep things. Steep mountains, steep discounts, steep pasta dishes. So, when I found myself in the Steel City, aka Pittsburgh, PA, I was steeped in joy when some local Duck fans insisted I visit a strip of asphalt they claimed to be “the steepest road in the world.”

This paved road, Canton Avenue, has a 37% incline! In ski slope terms, we’re talking black diamond range. But, according to the Guinness World Records, Canton is a mere .45% shy of being the record holder.

"I was steeped in joy when some local Duck fans insisted I visit a strip of asphalt they claimed to be “the steepest road in the world"."

The newest Guinness World Record holder in Ffordd Pen Llech, Wales, narrowly overtook Canton with a measured slope of 37.45%.

This is hotly contested. Paved and unpaved streets all around the globe are duking it out, declaring they’re the steepest. Over a dozen streets are collecting the requirements to invite Guinness out to give them a shot at the coveted title.

The Dirty Dozen, or as some riders call it “The Hell of the Hills,” ends at Canton Avenue. Hundreds of cyclists tackle the 13 steepest hills in Pittsburgh and Canton is the steepest and most challenging of them all.

Photos don’t do this street justice. From the edge of Coast Avenue to the top of the hill, the steepest road almost looks like a tidal wave curling up towards the sky. And, at 21 feet, it was intimidating.

It was immediately clear to me why they say half the riders that attempt to tackle Canton Avenue don’t end up making it to the top.

The walk up was exhausting, as you can see, but it was well worth it.

Canton Avenue is a good reminder of the things that America has to offer, places that can be easily overlooked by going straight more known, touristy spots. Hidden gems like this let you savor the real heart of the community.

If you’re in Pittsburgh, swing by Canton Avenue. You don’t have to bike up the 37% incline but it’s a great story to tell about your adventures in Pennsylvania.

I’ve never been disappointed by the suggestions locals give me about their cities.. If you have some local knowledge on a place I should visit, let’s hear about it!

Until next time, friends!

KF