Trail Alert! The Schuylkill River Trail in Auburn, Schuylkill County is CLOSED through March for an environmental remediation project.

Hiking

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Hiking

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is criss-crossed by a network of trails that connect parks, gardens, and neighborhoods with each other and their environment. Those seeking to get out and walk will find ample opportunities to stretch their legs in all parts of the Heritage Area.

WHERE TO HIKE

There are generally two types of hiking experiences in the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. There are several long-distance regional trails that cover multiple counties, or in some instances multiple states. The Appalachian Trail passes through the Heritage Area along the Kittatiny Ridge between Berks and Schuylkill Counties. The Horseshoe Trail is a mixed on and off road trail that begins at Valley Forge NHP and ends in the Appalachian Mountains above Hershey, Lebanon County. The Schuylkill River Trail is a mixed-use hike and bike trail that connects Philadelphia with Schuylkill County along the River. The SRT is paved in some sections and compacted gravel in others, and passes through a variety of urban, suburban, and rural settings. The East Coast Greenway will cross the Heritage Area in Philadelphia and will be a coastal walking and biking trail connecting Maine to Florida.

There are also numerous loop trails and small trail networks around the region in local, State and National Parks, nature preserves, environmental education centers, and at historic sites. Click the link at the top of the page to find all of the hiking opportunities in the Area.

Please hike only on marked and approved trails. Many of the trails pass through private property, and veering off of the approved course could mean you’re trespassing.

STAYING SAFE ON THE TRAIL

Hiking, like all outdoor sports, requires a certain level of knowledge and research to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Before you get out and enjoy nature, consider these following tips:

  • Wear sturdy shoes that are appropriate to the terrain you’ll be traveling across.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and in layers.
  • Bring plenty of water.
  • Do not drink untreated water from streams or creeks you come across. Boil water or use purfication tablets before using water from streams or the river for drinking or cooking.
  • Bring a map and a compass to help you navigate the trails, particularly on the long distance trails.
  • Check the weather forecast, and avoid hiking in extreme heat or cold
  • Do not eat plants or berries you find along the trails
  • Tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you expect to be back.
  • If you get lost, stay put and call for help. Please be advised that cell phones may not work in some locations.
  • Carry a whistle and use it if you are in distress.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy provides a lot of useful information for all hikers.

ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE

The Heritage Area is home to numerous species of animals and plants and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a few while out on the trail. Deer, fox, raccoons, and even a few bears can be found in various parts of the Heritage Area. Do not feed the animals, and please take all food scraps and trash with you on your journey.

PETS ON THE TRAIL

Dogs and other pets are welcome on most of the regional trails, and in some parks. Dogs may NOT be allowed at many of the preserves and sanctuaries. Check with the individual site before loading your pup for a walk in the woods.

Hiking Sites on the Trail

Lower Merion Conservancy

The Lower Merion Conservancy was formed in September 1995, when the Lower Merion-Narberth Watershed Association merged into the Lower Merion Preservation Trust, and organizations joined forces as the new...

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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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Green Valleys Association

Green Valleys Association is a watershed conservancy in Northern Chester County devoted to the protection of water quality and quantity. the GVA stewardship area encompasses 155 square miles of...

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Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club

The Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club works to maintain over 64 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Berks, Schuylkill, and Lehigh Counties. On June 15, 1916, Dr. Harry F....

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a volunteer-based, private nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of the 2,175-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a 250,000-acre greenway extending from Maine to Georgia....

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Morris Arboretum

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a historic public garden and educational institution. It promotes an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place through...

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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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Riverbend Environmental Education Center

Dedicated to the principle of inspiring people to care for the Earth, Riverbend’s mission is to stimulate awareness, appreciation and understanding of our total environment, and to preserve a...

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Lorimer Park

This 250 acre oasis of woods and meadows, in the suburbs of eastern Abington Township, attracts visitors to its natural beauty year-round. A bequest from the late George Horace...

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Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve

Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve is a 234-acre oasis of meadows, woodlands and wetlands nestled among the quickly developing suburbs of Blue Bell and North Wales. After more than a century...

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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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Evansburg State Park

Evansburg State Park is in southcentral Montgomery County between Norristown and Collegeville. Evansburg offers a significant area of green space and relative solitude in an urbanized area. Its main...

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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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Peter Wentz Farmstead

The Peter Wentz Farmstead was established by Peter and Rosanna Wentz, who began farming here in 1744. By 1758, they had completed the large, Georgian style stone house that...

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Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy

The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy is a nonprofit organization founded in 1964 by local citizens to combat pollution in the Perkiomen Creek and its tributaries. We provide an integrated approach...

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Pennypacker Mills

Pennypacker Mills offers a unique opportunity to experience the pleasures of country life in the 1900’s when the Governor of Pennsylvania lived across the Perkiomen Creek from the Borough...

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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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Welkinweir / Green Valley Association

Welkinweir, the former estate of Everett and Grace Rodebaugh is a 197-acre garden and arboretum that serves as the headquarters and educational center of the Green Valleys Association. For...

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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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Mill at Anselma

Nestled along the Pickering Creek in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, the Mill at Anselma is an extraordinary artifact of 250 years of Chester County’s industrial heritage. Constructed in c. 1747...

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Historic Yellow Springs

The history of Yellow Springs Village spans nearly 300 years. The Native Lenape first attributed the name, “Yellow Springs” because of the natural mineral springs that flow through the...

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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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Binky Lee Preserve

Binky Lee Preserve is an 112-acre expanse of former agricultural land that is being converted back to more natural woodlands and meadows. A walk along the trails here provides...

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Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center

The Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center offers environmental education programs. The center covers more than 665 acres of beautiful deciduous woodlands and coniferous plantations. Operated by the Pennsylvania Department...

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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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Bear Creek Environmental Area & Dr. James S. Shadle Nature Center

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of PA, the Dr. James S. Shadle Nature Center and the Bear Creek Environmental Area help people to connect with their natural heritage 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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Monocacy Hill Recreation Area

Monocacy Hill Recreation Area is a 428 acre forest located in Amity Township , Douglassville, PA. This recreation area was purchased by Amity Township in 1967 for open space...

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Daniel Boone Homestead

Daniel Boone is an American legend, and he developed his love of nature, and inquisitive nature on his family’s farm in the Oley Valley. After Daniel’s father, Squire Boone,...

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Conrad Weiser Homestead

The Conrad Weiser Homestead is a Pennsylvania state historic site located in Womelsdorf, which interprets the life of Conrad Weiser. The historic site preserves a portion of the original...

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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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Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, located along the Appalachian Flyway in east-central Pennsylvania, offers an outstanding, year-round nature experience with educational displays, 8 miles of hiking trails and mountaintop vistas where...

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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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Appalachian Trailhead

Port Clinton is a small town with a big story. The town of 300 sits in the gap where the Schuylkill River cuts through the in the Appalachian Mountains,...

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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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Berks Nature

Berks Nature has been serving the Berks County community since 1974. The Conservancy works with landowners to permanently protect land from development, townships and boroughs on zoning issues, developers...

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Allegheny Aqueduct Historical Park

The Allegheny Aqueduct was built by the Schuylkill Navigation Company in 1824 under the direction of Engineer Ephriam Beech. This “bridge for boats” was needed because the Allegheny Creek...

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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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John James Audubon at Mill Grove

Today, 175 acres of Mill Grove’s original estate remains largely as Audubon found it – a haven for birds and wildlife. The property boasts more than seven miles of...

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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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Montgomery Cemetery

This first public, non-sectarian cemetery in Montgomery County was founded in 1847. It contains the remains of some of the most notable families of the area and boasts over...

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Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

The Schuylkill Center is the largest tract of privately owned land in the City of Philadelphia. Located on the border of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, SCEE is a wonderful...

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Bartram’s Garden

On this site more than 250 years ago, John Bartram, a Quaker farmer, was stopped in his tracks by a daisy while plowing his fields. The plant’s simplicity and...

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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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