Weekend Wheeling in Philadelphia

Schuylkill River Bicycle Trail
By Patricia Vance
  |  Gorp.com

For 20 years, the Bicycle Coalition of the Delaware Valley has labored and lobbied for a bike path extending from south Philadelphia to Valley Forge. Most of that route is finally complete and will take you out and back along the 12 miles that stretch between the Philadelphia city limits and Valley Forge National Park. This is an easy, flat, 24-mile ride (total) on a paved surface.

Getting There

To get to the Port Royal Avenue parking area at Nixon Street, take the Belmont Avenue exit off of I-76. Cross the river into Manayunk and turn left at the traffic light on Main Street. At the next light, turn right on Leverington Street. Turn again at the next light, but this time take a left onto Umbria Street.

After one and a half miles, the road turns sharply to the right and goes downhill. At the bottom of the hill — and only a tenth of a mile further — make a hard left turn on Shawmont Road. Then take a right at the T-intersection, turning onto Nixon at the next block. In half a mile, just before the road turns left and crosses the railroad tracks, follow the signs for the bicycle path. They will indicate a turn to the right onto an unpaved road. This is Port Royal Avenue. Park your car here in the small parking area at the entrance to the bicycle path. If there isn't room, turn and go back to Shawmont and park under the railroad bridge on either side of the road.

The Ride

Ride on the bike path toward Valley Forge. You will pass through the outskirts of Conshohocken and Norristown as the trail follows the river and an old railroad bed. At 3.7 miles, in Conshohocken, there is a small shop — Outbound Station — that sells snacks and cold soft drinks.

At the end of the bike path, you will arrive in the Betzwood picnic area of Valley Forge National Park. There are picnic tables, rest rooms, and drinking water. To enter the main section of Valley Forge Park, you can cross the Schuylkill River on the pedestrian walkway that parallels US Route 422. Follow signs to the right as you ride under the highway at 11.8 miles. The visitor's center and the end of the trail is about one mile from Betzwood.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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