WARNING [8/3/22] New Strainer Hazard at Kelly's Rapids (river mile 79.8): a tree has fallen into the upper third of the Class II+ rapid on RR, causing a hazardous strainer in the swift current. Until this fallen tree has been removed, please do not attempt to run this rapid. Avoid this area entirely, portage RL, or paddle RL channel (if there is enough water).

Home / Peters Island Paddle & Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum Tour

Peters Island Paddle & Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum Tour

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Learn about the route enslaved people traveled on their way to freedom. Participants can begin with an on-river paddling tour (boat rentals included) or can opt to join just the on-land tour portion at the mansion.

About this Event

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The Historic Belmont Mansion, located within Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, was an integral part of the Underground Railroad.


The event will begin with an optional 3.5-mile paddle along the Schuylkill River. Paddlers will take a shuttle from Belmont Mansion to the East Falls landing to begin the paddling portion. They will arrive at Peters Island, a small piece of land in the river right across the way from Boelson Cottage. The cottage was a critical stop on the Underground Railroad. Slaves would stop there before continuing to Belmont Mansion to hide in the basement and attic. After getting off the river, paddlers will take a shuttle to the lower Belmont Plateau to walk about a half-mile up to Belmont Mansion. The walk is a reenactment of the path those participating in the Underground Railroad travelled by foot on their way to Belmont Mansion.

Each registration includes a boat rental. If you have a special request for a boat, please contact Take It Outdoors Adventures directly at the email noah@takeitoutdoorsadventures.com or call 610-656-3969. Tickets for the paddling tour and museum tour at Belmont Mansion are $50 each. 


At Belmont Mansion, hors d’oeuvres and beverages, including beer and wine, will be served. Participants will have the option to take guided or do-it-yourself tours of the mansion and property grounds. The house was owned by Judge Richard Peters, who is known to be the first non-Quaker member of the abolition movement. Peters was also secretary to George Washington who visited the mansion along with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Tickets for the museum tour only at Belmont Mansion are $10 each. 


All participants of the paddling tour will need to sign a Schuylkill River Greenways Waiver and a Take It Outdoors Adventures Waiver. Parents or guardians will need to complete the waiver for anyone under 18 years old. These waivers can be signed electronically, and MUST be completed by noon on August 18, 2022. If you don’t sign the electronic waivers by this time, you will need to complete them in person on the day of the event. Anyone who doesn’t complete the waivers will not be able to participate.