Biking

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Biking

Whether your preference is a rail-trail with a gentle grade, or rolling hills and picturesque valleys, the Heritage Area has roads and trails that provide wonderful bicycling experiences.

For those who prefer challenging trails suitable for mountain bikes, several of the Heritage Area’s state parks and other area trails are great for off-road adventures.

WHERE TO BIKE

Schuylkill River Trail

If you’re looking for a bike ride that is suitable for all members of the family, try the Schuylkill River Trail. Built primarily on an old railroad line, the trail is flat and well-maintained. It will one day extend the entire length of the river, from Philadelphia to Pottsville, a distance of about 130 miles. Today there are over 60 completed miles, built and managed in sections by different organizations. Visit our Schuylkill River Trailwebsite at www.schuylkillrivertrail.com for maps and more.

Do you know we have maps of the Schuylkill River Trail? Click here to learn where you can get a FREE map!

Below is a breakdown of the Schuylkill River Trail’s sections.

Schuylkill Banks. This park and greenway in Philadelphia extends from Fairmount Water Works to Locust St. It is very popular and heavily used.

Philadelphia to Mont Clare. This 26-mile section is mostly paved, and runs through a variety of landscapes. Valley Forge National Historic Park can be accessed from the trail, and Manayunk’s trendy restaurant scene make it a popular destination for cyclists. This section of trail can also be used to access other trails such as the Perkiomen Trail, Audubon Loop at Oaks and the Cross County Trail at Conshohocken.

Cromby to Parker Ford. This is the newest section of trail, opened in December 2011. It measures 5.6 miles, beginning in Cromby, just west of Phoenixville, and ending in Parker Ford. Plans call for extending that piece of the trail several more miles to connect with the Pottstown section. Today, it is a popular segment, mostly crushed stone, but paved in some spots.

Pottstown to Reading (Thun Section). This 19-mile piece begins at Pottstown’s Riverfront Park, where it is paved, and follows a tree canopied path through Berks County, where it is crushed stone and known as the Thun Trail. There is a scenic 4.5-mile on-road section in Birdsboro, and several old railroad bridges offering up beautiful views. It ends at Reading Area Community College.

Bartram Section. Located in Upper Berks and Schuylkill County, it stretches from Hamburg to Auburn. This is a particularly scenic piece of trail, especially in spring and early summer when wildflowers are in bloom.

Reading to Hamburg. Currently this is a 20-mile signed, on-road sectionl that provides cyclists with a route to travel beyond the trail’s end in Reading. An off-road Reading-to-Hamburg route will be constructed as land and resources become available.

Other Places to Bike

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers will find that many of the region’s state, national, and local parks offer great biking opportunities. French Creek State Park, in Chester County, Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County and Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia are all have popular mountain biking trails. Bikes are not permitted on any section of the Appalachian Trail.

Bicycle PA

Road bikers will enjoy traveling many of the region’s back roads as they wind their way past farm fields and small towns and villages. Three official BicyclePA routes cross the Heritage Area and are well marked on local roadways. Beware that some of these routes run along busy roads, and may be suitable for experienced cyclists only.

  • Route E runs 52 miles in PA between Trenton, NJ and the Delaware State line.
  • Route L runs north-south through Chester and Montgomery Counties
  • Route S is the longest bicycle route in PA and runs east-west through Berks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. Route S intersects with Route L near Hopewell Furnace NHS and French Creek State Park.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR BIKE

Bikers often face special safety challenges, particularly road bikers. It is important that bikers maintain their vehicles well, and obey all traffic laws and regulations. Here are a few safety tips for both road and mountain bikers:

  • Check your bike regularly. Make sure the tires are full, chains are greased, and the brakes are tight.
  • Always wear a helmet, both on the trail and on the street.
  • Obey all traffic signals and ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Stay off sidewalks in business districts and where prohibited by ordinance. Please be aware that it is illegal to ride a bike on any sidewalk in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Wear light color clothing and reflective tape or lights if riding at night
  • Wear the proper attire for the type of biking you plan to do.
  • Check the weather before your trip.

Biking Sites on the Trail

Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Founded in 1972, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves the Pennsylvania counties of Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks and Philadelphia as well as...

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Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

The Schuylkill Highlands is one of seven ‘Conservation Landscape Initiative’ regions in Pennsylvania,and as the name suggests, includes the Schuylkill River Watershed for the most part and the southeastern...

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John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is located near the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers about 1 mile from the Philadelphia International Airport. Over the...

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Destination Schuylkill River

Destination Schuylkill River celebrates life along the River and seeks to connect our communities to the river through planning, programming and projects. What is there to do? How can...

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Fort Washington State Park

Rich in modern recreational facilities and historical significance, Fort Washington blossoms with flowering dogwood in the spring. Birders enjoy the seasonal migration of raptors along Militia Hill from the...

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Upper Schuylkill Valley Park

The Schuylkill River in Upper Providence Township forms a natural backdrop to this 15-acre display of wild animals and raptors indigenous to Pennsylvania. Picnicking and fishing are popular along...

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Take it Outdoors Adventures

Take it Outdoors Adventure Group organizes group Kayaking, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping & Bike Rides, and many other outdoor adventures. Their mission is to help people meet new people, learn...

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Green Lane Park

Green Lane Park offers fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, family/organized group camping, equestrian camping, tennis, playgrounds, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice fishing....

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Central Perkiomen Valley Park

Central Perkiomen Valley Park is an 800 acre park that extends over 10 municipalities, offering a wide variety of family activities. Visitors can enjoy a children’s playground as well...

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Warwick County Park

Warwick County Park includes numerous trails and meadows that offer bountiful opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and bird watching. The day use area offers picnic pavilions and numerous...

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French Creek State Park

French Creek State Park is one of 6 State Parks in the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, and one of the best places for outdoor recreation, rest, and relaxation in...

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Crow’s Nest Preserve

Crow’s Nest Preserve is made up of 600 acres of protected lands along French Creek. Its woods are representative of Piedmont flora, full of oak, hickory, tuliptree, beech, maple,...

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Gring’s Mill Recreation Area

The historic buildings at Gring’s Mill Recreation Area house the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department’s administration and maintenance offices. An information center, group meeting facilities, snack bar, and...

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Tuscarora State Park

When viewed from the lake or the day use area, Locust Mountain seems to drop right into the southern side of Tuscarora Lake. The scenic picnic area plays host...

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Locust Lake State Park

Known for its popular camping area, Locust Lake State Park nestles on the side of Locust Mountain. The 52-acre Locust Lake is located between two campgrounds and is surrounded...

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Wissahickon Valley Park

One of the most heavily industrialized creeks in America, the Wissahickon Creek and its impressive valley were home to dozens of mills and factories throughout the 18th and 19th...

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Schuylkill Banks

It all starts on Schuylkill Banks, an eight mile stretch of distinctly urban riverfront in Philadelphia. As Philadelphia’s riverfront destination, Schuylkill Banks is home to greenways, parks, docks, the...

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Manayunk Towpath

While cycling, Manayunk can be a destination or an excellent resting point on the Philadelphia-to-Valley Forge section of the Schuylkill River Trail. A portion of the trail incorporates the...

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Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park was officially founded in 1855 when the Lemon Hill estate was dedicated as a public park and renamed Fairmount Park. Support came from 2,400 citizens who signed...

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Perkiomen Trail

The 19-mile Perkiomen Trail runs through the Perkiomen Creek Valley from its junction with the Schuylkill River Trail at Oaks, Upper Providence Township to the largest County Park, Green...

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Berks County Heritage Center

The Heritage Center is located along the Tulpehocken Creek west of Reading and is home to the Gruber Wagon Works, a National Historic Landmark, the C. Howard Hiester Canal...

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Black Rock Sanctuary

The Black Rock Sanctuary is located along a bend in the Schuylkill and was used by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a basin for settling coal silt out of...

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Norristown Farm Park

The Norristown Farm Park is a 690 acre Park owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is operated and maintained by Montgomery County. The area that encompasses Norristown Farm...

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Blue Marsh Lake

Blue Marsh Lake is a man-made lake along the Tulpehocken Creek that features numerous boating, hiking, biking, and birdwatching opportunities. It is maintained by the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army...

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Schuylkill Canal Lock 60

Lock 60 of the Schuylkill Canal is one of only two sections of the Schuylkill Navigation System that are still watered, and the only operating lock remaining on the...

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Lower Perkiomen Valley Park

Lower Perkiomen Valley Park is a sylvan setting of 107 acres at the confluence of the Perkiomen Creek and Schuylkill River. The Perkiomen Trail and Schuylkill River Trails intersect...

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Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge was the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The park commemorates the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation and honors the...

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Laurel Hill Cemetery

Established in 1836, Laurel Hill is one of Philadelphia’s premier historic landmarks and one of the only cemeteries in the United States to be honored as a National Historic...

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