Canton Avenue – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

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Canton Avenue

One of the steepest streets in the United States makes an intriguing challenge for cyclists. 


Canton Avenue, in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh, is one of the steepest streets in the United States, with a maximum gradient of 37 percent. Though only one-tenth of a mile long, for every 100 feet there is a 37-foot elevation gain. (Although Baldwin Avenue in New Zealand is commonly cited as the world’s steepest street, its gradient is only 35%, but Baldwin’s gradient does continue for longer than Canton’s.)

Begun in 1983, Pittsburgh’s annual Dirty Dozen bike race takes cyclists over Pittsburgh’s thirteen steepest hills, including cobblestone-paved Canton - the steepest by far. In the words of the race’s founder: “That hill gets about half the people the first time up. People don’t take it seriously enough. Once they crash or don’t make it once or twice, then they take it more seriously. But some people try three and four times and don’t make it and give up. The hill just defeats them.”

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