Complete Guide to Bike Trails in Philadelphia
With hundreds of miles of scenic bike paths criss-crossing Greater Philadelphia, it’s no wonder so many Phillys are avid cyclists. If you’re looking for new routes to try around town, check out our list of the best bike routes in town, then get on your bike and start exploring!
First look at the best bike paths in Philadelphia:
- Most popular cycle route: Schuylkill River Trail
- Best views of the Philadelphia skyline: Benjamin Franklin Bridge Pedestrian Walkway
- Best nature bike path in the city: Road prohibited in Wissahickon Valley Park
- Best cycle path for mountain biking: Blue Swamp Lake
- Best bike path for summer: Chester Creek Trail
- Best cycling routes for flat cycling: Sycamore Mills Road Trail and Forge Road Trail in Ridley Creek State Park
- Quietest bike path: boxer trail
- Best long-distance bike path: Delaware Canal Towpath
- Best one kilometer cycle route: Bartram’s Mile Trail
1. Schuylkill River Trail and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Loop: Philadelphia’s most popular bike path
Schuylkill River Trail is by far Philadelphia’s most popular bike trail for residents and visitors. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s even ranked #13 among all things to do in town by hundreds of reviewers on Tripadvisor.
It’s the perfect place to start if you haven’t cycled around the city yet. It’s not too long or too difficult, so it’s a great choice if you plan on cycling with kids and don’t want to overwhelm them.
One of the best parts of this path? There’s no shortage of scenic views of the namesake river, as the entire 8.7-mile loop runs along either side of the waterway. USA Today even put it in third place in their list of the best Riverwalks in the country in 2021.
You’ll also pass landmarks like the philadelphia cream Museum o fart (where the trail begins), Laurel Hill Cemeteryand Row of boathousesso if you’re looking to spend a day outdoors and take a break from cycling, there are tons of potential activities.
The Schuylkill River Trail is not yet complete, so you can expect this already enjoyable trail to become even more impressive in the years to come. When completed, it will travel approximately 120 miles, from Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia to the source of the river in scenic Schuylkill County.
2. Benjamin Franklin Bridge Pedestrian Walkway: The Best Bike Path to See the City of Philadelphia
If enjoying city vistas is a priority, choose the Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian walkway, which spans 1.5 miles across the Delaware River and connects Philly to Camden, New Jersey. As a bonus, the bridge itself is beautiful and historic, having been built in 1926. This first person slow motion video from the bridge at sunset offers a great overview of what to expect.
We suggest entering 5th and Race streets (right across from the US currency) and depart then return to experience the incredible views from the bridge in both directions. After your bike ride, relax at the Race Street Wharf for even more excellent views of the bridge and the Delaware River.
3. Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park: The Best Nature Biking Trail in Philadelphia
Although this path crosses the city, it certainly does not feel like it! You can expect to see all kinds of birds and other wildlife, a variety of plant species, and water features like natural springs and streams. The Wissahickon Gorge has even been officially designated as an “Important Birding Area” by experts from the National Audubon Society.
So if you’re looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, Wissahickon Valley Park is an oasis of natural beauty and just about the ideal escape. He was even named Pennsylvania Trail of the Year by the DCNR in 2018.
In addition to the abundant natural beauty, you will also be right next to the Green Valley Inn. Here you can refuel with a delicious and hearty lunch or dinner while enjoying a bit of history: the inn was built in 1850 and is the last of the roadhouses that stood all along Forbidden Drive.
4. Blue Marsh Lake: Best Trail for Mountain Biking in Philadelphia
Are you more into mountain biking uphill and downhill than riding long flat stretches on a road bike? Blue Marsh Lake’s 36 miles of trails will likely be your best bet, as long as your mountain biking skills are at an intermediate level or above.
In addition to many hills, you will also cross many open fields and on a mixture of gravel, dirt and paved roads through the 6,100 acres of this park. There’s no better place near Philadelphia to work on improving your mountain biking ability. And if you have a dog that loves to swim, consider bringing it to this bathing place suitable for dogs nearby!
5. Chester Creek Trail: Best Bike Trail for a Hot Summer Day in Philadelphia
If you are going out for a bike ride on a hot day, you will definitely want to choose a bike path with lots of trees protecting you from the sun with its precious shade. Chester Creek Trail is a great choice for summer bike rides as it is fully protected by a verdant canopy of trees along its entire length. And if you get too hot and sweaty and need a break, there are plenty of benches along the way where you can catch your breath.
There’s also some interesting history here – it’s a railway, meaning its route used to be a railway before the track was removed and replaced with a cobbled path. To get an idea of what this trail looks like before you go, check out this youtube video for a bird’s eye view of the Chester Creek Trail.
- Web page: https://chestercreektrail.org/
- Type of track: Cobbled and mostly flat; shared with walkers and runners
- Location: There are two parking lots, one at 249 West Knowlton Road and one at 649 Mount Alverno Road, both at Media (More info here)
- Length: 2.8 miles
6. Sycamore Mills Road Trail and Forge Road Trail in Ridley Creek State Park: Best Flat Bike Route in Philadelphia
Tired of huffing and puffing up steep hills or dealing with rough terrain? Take your bike out on an 8 mile flat, paved trail through the 2,600 acres of rolling forests and meadows that make up Ridley Creek State Park!
The park is named after the beautiful creek that runs through it, and although it is in Delaware County, and gives the impression of being in the middle of the desertit is located just 16 miles from downtown.
7. Boxers’ Trail: Philadelphia’s quietest bike path
This trail is lovely for a number of reasons, including its abundance of trees and its views of the magnificent historic mansions of East Fairmount Park, such as the gargantuan strawberry mansion. However, our favorite aspect of Boxers’ Trail is that it’s almost never busy.
If you’re looking to experience some natural beauty, find some peace and quiet, and avoid the crowds, this is an ideal choice. The only time it can be busier is during the year 5 km run/walk on the Boxer’s Trailwe therefore recommend that you avoid it that day!
If you are curious about the unusual name, it is related to the history of this trail. The trail is known to have served as a training route for boxers, including the famous Joe Frazier. According to Fairmount Park Conservancy, “When Muhammad Ali wanted to challenge Joe Frazier, he came to the boxers’ trail because he knew he could find Frazier there.”
Boxers still use this trail for jogging today. What a cool and unexpected piece of Philly lore!
8. Centennial Loop: Philadelphia’s Best Family Bike Trail
This is another mixed-use trail through Fairmont Park, perfect for a short bike ride with kids. The fully paved course crosses grassy fields, past Shofuso Japanese Cultural Centerand around the 700 acres Centenary Districtwhich is the site of the history 1876 Centennial Exhibition (the first World’s Fair held in the United States).
We also recommend this 5km loop for children, as it starts just behind the unique Please touch the museum, which is (as you might have guessed) an interactive museum aimed at children. This means that if you are spending a day in town with your child, you can easily visit the adjacent museum for a few hours before or after walking the Centennial Loop.
9. Delaware Canal Towpath: Best Long-Distance Bike Trail Near Philly
Cyclists who want to cycle for several hours at a stretch and tens of miles should try the 60-mile Delaware Canal towpath. Previously dominated by working mule teams pulling boats along the canal, it follows the idyllic Delaware River from Easton to Bristol, with a wide variety of scenery along its length: riverside views, farm fields and pretty towns steeped in history. .
You can even create a loop that goes from Delaware Canal State Park in Pennsylvania to D&R Canal State Park in New Jersey. There are seven river bridges connecting these canals, so there are a total of 11 different loop routes you can take, all of varying lengths. Check Friends of the Delaware Canal PA/NJ Channel Loop Map for more information on how to achieve this.
Not sure if the Delaware Canal towpath views are worth it? Check this first person perspective video of a bike ride starting at Bull’s Island Recreation Area, crossing the Lumberville-Raven Rock Pedestrian Bridge and finally returning to Bull’s Island. You will see impressive panoramas that could convince you to make the trip!
10. Bartram’s Mile Trail: The Best 1-Mile Bike Trail in Philadelphia
Maybe you’re getting back on your bike for the first time in a long time and need to start with an easy ride, or you had an intense training session the day before but still want to enjoy some scenery. soothing exterior. Either way, anyone looking for a short, effortless bike ride can’t go wrong with Bartram’s Mile, which is a small segment of the larger Schuylkill River Trail (which is #1 on this list) .
During this 1.5 mile trail you can enjoy views of the city skyline, Schuylkill Riverpublic art installations, and of course, many different sections of the 50 acres Bartram’s Garden itself, which is home to several trees planted by the famous botanist John Bartram more than two centuries ago.
Did we forget your favorite trail in the list? Got the scoop on another great place for a bike ride in the Philadelphia area? Share your thoughts on our top picks in the comments and forward this article to friends who want to experience these trails with you.