20+ Great Running and Biking Trails in Greater Philadelphia
Iconic jogs, scenic cycling routes and awesome trails in Philly and beyond...
Philadelphia is home to miles of excellent running and biking trails, many of which pass by historic attractions, weave around rivers and wind through parks.
Active types can go on an iconic city jog that ends with a high-five from Rocky Balboa or take a scenic river-to-river route on one of the city’s prettiest streets. Just choose the distance and scenery, and get moving.
Plus, for most of the trails featured below, we’ve included tips on how to extend your fun (before, during or afterward) with a picnic, meal, drink, museum stop and more.
Read on for some of the best running and biking trails in Philadelphia and the Countryside.
One of Philly’s most popular running and biking routes, the Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Loop is a nearly nine-mile lap that hugs both sides of the Schuylkill River. The paved path — part of the larger Schuylkill River Trail — begins behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art , winds its way along Boathouse Row and passes an entrance to Laurel Hill Cemetery on the way to the Falls Bridge in East Falls. Riders or runners cross over the bridge to the opposite side of the river and head back toward the city to finish the second half of the loop on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. (Bonus: MLK Drive is closed completely to vehicular traffic on weekends and holidays from April through October.)
1.6 miles one way (between South Street and the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
The Schuylkill Banks is open year-round for walking, jogging, cycling, picnics and dog-walking. Start on the South Street Bridge and take the ramp to the paved Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, which extends the trail out over the river, and continue along the path to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a nice 1.6-mile jog or ride — as well as fantastic views of the Philadelphia skyline. Explore the Azalea Garden or soak up views of Boathouse Row from near the Fairmount Water Works before heading back the way you came.
2.1 miles one way
While not technically a trail, Spruce Street extends from the Schuylkill River to the Delaware River and is certainly one of Center City’s most beautiful roads. Start at 25th and Spruce streets and pass through scenic neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square , Washington Square West and Society Hill on the way to Spruce Street Harbor Park — the perfect location to cool down when it’s open during the warmer months — at the other end. If traveling by bike, take advantage of the designated bike lane that runs from east to west, starting at Christopher Columbus Boulevard and ending at 25th Street.
3 miles out and back
The beautiful, iconic Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans just one and a half miles across the Delaware River, connecting Philadelphia to New Jersey. Start at Fifth and Race streets and take the pedestrian walkway across the bridge and back for a three-mile workout , complete with an impressive look at the skyline. (Careful: It’s a bit steep both coming and going.) Once back in Philadelphia, stretch out post-activity at the nearby Race Street Pier , which offers some amazing views of the river and the bridge.
3 miles one way
In his celebrated run, Rocky Balboa conquered a 30-mile venture across the city — nearly the equivalent of a 50K! For a run that’s slightly more manageable, follow this three-mile route that starts at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue — the heart of the Italian Market where Rocky ran to the sounds of cheering fans — and ends just like Rocky’s run: with a sprint up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Bonus: Run back down the steps to give Rocky Balboa a high five. (His statue is located to the right of the base of the steps.)
0.5- to 1.1-mile loop, depending on chosen route
Stretching from Walnut Street to South Street, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Park offers an oasis of recreational and athletic outdoor components. Surrounding the turf fields, pick-up soccer games, a tennis center and other designated sporting areas are four running and walking paths that create track-like routes. Make the short jaunt over to the Cira Green rooftop park for your reward: stellar skyline views.
The Centennial 5K Route is a paved path that weaves its way through grassy parkland in Fairmount Park , perfect for joggers looking for a 5K loop or families seeking a well-marked path to cruise along on a shorter bike ride. The trail begins behind the Please Touch Museum , then passes by the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center before looping around the Centennial District, where the 1876 Centennial Exposition was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States.
About 3.8 miles one way
Named for the boxers – including Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier – who’ve used it as their training grounds, the Boxers’ Trail winds its way around East Fairmount Park, connecting spots like the historic Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse and the area’s historic mansions to the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. In fall 2020, the Fairmount Park Conservancy revitalized a gateway to the trail at Dauphin Street and Greenland Drive, while the southern end starts at Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course at 33rd and Oxford streets. The trail is also accessible via the Kelly Drive Loop at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Street.
60 miles through Bucks County
A 60-mile linear park along the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol, Delaware Canal State Park and Towpath are perfect for joggers, cyclists and nature enthusiasts who enjoy the wildlife that thrives on the many miles of river shoreline and 11 river islands. The journey takes trail users through historic towns, past farms and by the Lock Tender’s House Visitor Center in New Hope .
5.5 miles one way
More commonly known as Forbidden Drive (named because cars were banned from traveling on it in the 1920s), the fairly flat Wissahickon Valley Park gravel trail follows the Wissahickon Creek for 5.5 miles, from Lincoln Drive to Germantown Avenue. If driving is an option, navigate to the Valley Green Inn , located centrally within the park, where a large parking lot sits adjacent to the trail. Hungry? The inn is open for lunch and dinner.
1.1 miles one way
Part of the Schuykill River Trail, Bartram’s Mile starts at 56th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard and winds through the beautiful Bartram’s Garden, extending north to the Grays Ferry Bridge. Construction is in progress to connect this trail to the Schuylkill River Trail’s Gray’s Ferry Crescent via a re-purposed rail bridge. Need a break? Relax in the garden , a free public park and National Historic Landmark that’s home to a botanical garden, an 18th-century estate, a reclaimed meadow, natural tidal wetlands, a public dock for fishing and boating, and significant historic trees.
2 miles one way
As part of the Schuylkill River Trail, the Manayunk Towpath parallels the Manayunk Canal and runs adjacent to Manayunk ’s business district, putting you just steps away from many places to eat and drink after biking or running. The trail starts at Lock Avenue (off of Main Street) and continues for 2.2 miles to the Shawmont neighborhood. Connect to this segment of the Schuylkill River Trail from Center City by taking the first half of the Kelly Drive Loop past East Falls Bridge to Ridge Avenue, veer left onto Main Street and make another left on Lock Street.
30-plus miles one way
For those looking for a (much) longer workout, a 30-plus mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail starts at the Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia and ends in Parker Ford in Chester County. The primarily flat, tree-lined route is perfect for serious cyclists. Pencil in a stop in Phoenixville for a restorative meal (and maybe a brew ) before carrying on.
More than 30 miles of trails
Valley Forge National Historical Park equates to paradise for avid runners and bikers, with more than 30 miles of trails to conquer. Nearly two miles of the paved Schuylkill River Trail , which connects sites in Montgomery County and Philadelphia, run through the north side of the park. The paved, multi-use Joseph Plumb Martin Trail spans nearly nine miles and connects a number of the park’s historic sites. Cyclists can take advantage of a total of 18.2 miles of authorized bike trails. The park’s visitor center — renovated and reopened in February 2022 with all-new exhibits and artifacts — is worth a stop.
9.5 miles one way
Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia covers more than 1,600 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands and fields. There are many miles of paved and unpaved trails that are great for biking and running, the favorite and most scenic being the Pennypack Trail , which runs 9.5 miles along Pennypack Creek from Philadelphia’s border with Montgomery County to the Delaware River. Pro tip: Pack a lunch for a riverside picnic.
5.5 miles one way
The paved, relatively flat loop in FDR Park is perfect for a leisurely jog or bike ride. Enter at the corner of South Broad Street and Pattison Avenue and take the loop around the tennis courts, ball fields, lakes and more nestled within the green space. For more rustic footpaths, check out the South Philly Meadow trails that repurpose disused golf course grounds as a recreation meadow accessible from the park entrance at 20th Street and Pattison Avenue. (Birders might want to pack a pair of binoculars — the park offers stellar birdwatching .) For even more mileage, head south on Broad Street after completing the FDR Park loop and take on another loop around The Navy Yard to total 5.5 miles . Check out The Navy Yard’s rotating art exhibits while you’re there.
3.7 miles one way
This 3.7-mile asphalt, tree-lined path winds around Cobbs Creek and through the historic Mount Moriah Cemetery into Delaware County , from Church Lane in Yeadon to Market Street in Upper Darby. The historic cemeter y, founded in the mid-19th-century, is open to the public and well worth exploring.
130 miles connected to the Circuit Trails
The 130-mile Horse-Shoe Trail — connected to the Circuit Trails network — is a favorite among horseback riders and hikers, who share the space with runners and bikers between Montgomery County and Harrisburg. In the 7,700-acre French Creek State Park , the trail runs along both Hopewell and Scotts Run lakes in scenic Chester County.
0.6 miles one way
Bordering the east side of the Schuylkill River from Wharton Street to 34th Street, this paved trail is ideal for a light jog, bike ride or walk. Though Grays Ferry Crescent isn’t presently connected to the other Schuylkill Banks segments, a project is underway to connect it to the Bartram’s Mile Trail (see above).
1.8 miles one way
This nearly two-mile route — with clear quarter-mile markers — runs northeast from SEPTA’s Cynwyd Station, passes Bala Cynwyd Park and West Laurel Hill Cemetery and ends at Belmont Avenue at Rock Hill Road. Gravel and asphalt paths along the route make it very run- and bike-friendly. Near the trail’s end in Bala Cynwyd, runners and bikers can connect to the other side of the Schuylkill River and navigate to the Schuylkill River Trail via the Manayunk Bridge Trail.
10 miles of trails
Within this refuge for rare plants, birds and land animals, runners and bikers can find 10 miles of trails that weave around the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. Located in Delaware County, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is only about eight miles away from Center City Philadelphia. Note: Not all trails permit biking. Visit the Cusano Environmental Education Center at the refuge for maps and more information about the trails.
0.5-2 miles one way, depending on chosen route
A few completed stretches of the larger, still-in-progress Delaware River Trail offer a great escape for city runners and bikers. The Port Richmond Trail is a two-mile L-shaped route that runs parallel to Delaware and Allegheny avenues alongside the Delaware River in lower Northeast Philadelphia (two miles). The Washington Avenue Green section of the trail starts at Washington Avenue and Columbus Boulevard, winds through the Washington Avenue Pier green space and ends at the Walmart at Pier 70 (0.5 miles). Another stretch contains a curb-protected two-bike lane and adjacent sidewalk, starting at Spring Garden Street and along Delaware Avenue and Penn Street and eventually hits the trail along the waterfront behind Rivers Casino (0.6 miles).
2 miles across 33 acres
Adventurous runners can hit the trails of Glen Providence Park , where all (unpaved) roads lead to the pond in the center of the park. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, since the park serves as a bird sanctuary. Another thing that makes this spot special: The park has been maintained in its natural state since it was donated as a public space in 1935.