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New event will take hikers across Emerald View Park trails


Thousands of travelers cross over, tunnel through or wind around Mount Washington every day. On September 20, traversing Pittsburgh’s most dramatic cliff will get a bit more leisurely.

The WALKATOP urban hiking adventure, with UPMC Mercy as the event’s presenting sponsor, is a first-of-its-kind self-guided tour of some of the most jaw-dropping vistas in the United States. Join the fun on Sept. 20 from 8 a.m. to noon within the 257-acre Emerald View Park for the inaugural WALKATOP event.

From incline to incline and around the backside of a cliff, Pittsburgh’s newest urban adventure offers rarely-seen views of the city. Five different routes are mapped out to suit diverse fitness levels, from a 2.3-mile hike to a nine-mile challenge.

“It’s amazing to me to be in the city and the woods at the same time,” explains Tom Brown, event organizer. “I can be face-to-face with a pheasant and then a moment later, have a view of the West End Bridge. Many people don’t realize there are miles of hiking trails surrounding Mount Washington. Pittsburgh has a hidden gem right at its front door, and we’re eager to share it through WALKATOP.”

Created in 2005, the scenic Emerald View Park wraps around Mount Washington and Allentown from Grandview Park near Arlington to Skookum Field in Duquesne Heights and back around to Mount Washington Park near Grace Street.

The WALKATOP event will benefit The Thomas Brown Alton Foundation, which is dedicated to suicide prevention by helping those in need toward improved mental health. Grants from the foundation support staff training at UPMC Mercy in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), an internationally recognized program. The grants also support art and cooking therapy classes at Mercy’s behavioral health units.

“The patients and staff at UPMC Mercy’s behavioral health units have benefited tremendously from the giving spirit of the Thomas Alton Fund. The art and cooking therapy programs help our patients increase their self-esteem and creativity and gives them a sense of accomplishment,” explained Patty Neumeyer, director of Clinical and Support Services at UPMC Mercy’s Department of Psychiatry.

“Through the training, staff is taught to use a consistent suicide intervention model to integrate intervention principles into everyday practice by identifying individuals with thoughts of suicide, seeking a shared understanding of reasons for dying and living, and developing a safe plan based upon a review of risk.”

Advance registration is $20 from through September 19; and admission on September 20 is $25 at check-in. Children age 10 and under are free. Check-in site is at the parking lot on Grandview Avenue across from the Duquesne Incline.

Advance tickets are available on line at


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