15 Best Running Trails In Philadelphia You Can Visit Today

15 Best Running Trails In Philadelphia You Can Visit Today

If you are a running enthusiast seeking new places to run, Philadelphia has many great running trails awaiting you.

Whether you want to run in nature through wildlife reserves or imitate Rocky Balboa on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, this city has something for every runner. 

We have 15 best running trails in Philadelphia for you to visit today and see how much of a runner’s city this is.

Lace up your running shoes, and get ready to discover what running routes Philadelphia has to offer.

15 Best Running Trails In Philadelphia

1. Forbidden Drive, Wissahickon Valley Park

Forbidden Drive is the Wissahickon Valley Park trail but gained its popular name when in the 1920s cars were forbidden from traveling along it.

The trail parallels the Wissahickon Creek for almost 5 ½ miles. It’s a wide path, flat and has just a 3% gradient on average. 

This is a great running route in Philadelphia for both beginners and more experienced runners. It is a well-shaded running trail for warm, sunny days, and it’s very scenic.

It’s also popular with tourists and cyclists so may be a bit busy in the warmer months. 

2. Bartram’s Mile

Bartram’s Mile is part of the Schuylkill River trail.

It will take you through the wonderful botanical garden and National Historic Landmark of Bartram’s Garden. The running trail then guides you north to Grays Ferry Bridge. 

There is a project underway to connect Bartram’s Mile to the Schuylkill River trail by a repurposed railway bridge.

In the meantime enjoy the tidal wetlands, historic trees and reclaimed meadow that form part of Bartram’s Garden. 

As it’s quite a short run this trail is perfect for those new to running. 

3. Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway

Ben Franklin Bridge’s pedestrian walkway is a popular running trail. It comprises a 3 mile round route across the bridge which spans the Delaware River.

As you run you can take in the Philadelphia skyline and wonderful views of the river. 

The walkway can be accessed from 4th Street and Pearl.

You don’t have to worry about traffic on the bridge as the walkway is completely set apart from the road.

It’s possible to take your dog as long as they are on a tight leash.

4. Cobbs Creek Trail

If you want a little education with your run, Cobbs Creek trail takes you through some historic sites.

It is just over 3 ½ miles on smooth asphalt and takes in some scenic views too.

The trail is well shaded going around Cobbs Creek and into Mount Moriah cemetery. 

Passing over two historic parkway bridges the trail can connect you to Bartram’s Garden and the Schuylkill River trail via the 58th Street Greenway.

The trail also connects to the Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center for adults and children. 

5. Horse-Shoe Trail At French Creek State Park

French Creek State Park is home to the 130 mile Horse-Shoe Trail.

While we’re not suggesting you run all of it, you can connect to the Circuit Trails network.

This is one of the largest trail networks in the US. It combines 300 miles of routes and paths for multi-use. 

The lakes, forests and fields of the French Creek State Park are a favorite for runners, hikers, cyclists and horse riders.

Horse-Shoe Trail runs along Scotts Run and Hopewell lakes in the scenic Chester County. 

6. Boxers’ Trail

The Boxer’s Trail is named for the route taken by famous boxers from Philadelphia including Joe Frazier.

It is 3.8 miles long and starts at Sedgley Woods Disc golf course. 

It then winds through the woods of East Fairmount Park taking in hilltops which give glimpses across the Schuylkill River. 

The trail offers shade as you run and takes you past several great landmarks.

These include Smith Memorial Playground, and the historic mansions of East Fairmount Park.

For a longer run, Boxer’s Trail connects to a trail network that brings you to Valley Forge. 

7. Kelly Drive And Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Loop

A popular running route in Philadelphia that goes around the Museum of Art.

The Rocky Steps at the front of the museum, made famous by the movie, are a great warm up spot.

You can then go on to conquer the 9 mile loop of this relatively flat running route. 

You will mostly be running on paved paths. However, the second half of the route, along Martin Luther King Jr.

Drive is traffic free, so you can run safely on the road. 

8. Schuylkill River Trail

You’ll be spoiled for choice on the Schuylkill River Trail. It offers multi-use paths extending for over 75 miles.

In the future it will be even longer as it is planned to be extended from Philadelphia to Frackville, offering an impressive 120 miles of trail. 

As it stands now you can enjoy riverside routes that span 5 Pennsylvania counties.

The trail runs along the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, so you can get across the water and take in the views of Philadelphia. 

The Schuylkill River Trail was named among the best river walks in the country by USA today. 

9. Penn Park

Penn Park is a great spot for beginners to run.

It offers half mile, three quarter mile and full mile loops, so you can track and increase your speed and endurance.

This is a gorgeous 24 acre urban park which is operated and owned by the University of Pennsylvania. 

The park lies between the university and the Schuylkill River waterfront.

There are plenty of fields, meadows and open spaces for runners and walkers to enjoy.

To get from the river to Penn Park go via the Walnut Street or South Street bridges. 

10. Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park is a magnet for runners in Philly.

It has trails which stretch for more than 30 miles. Many connect to the park’s historic sites. 

The Joseph Plumb Martin Trail of over 8 1⁄2 miles is paved and popular with runners. 

It has a 5 mile section where you can enjoy scenic views and interesting landmarks.

For those who prefer their trails unpaved there are several trails that are more rugged.

These include the opposing named Mount Joy and Mount Misery.

11. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge At Tinicum

If you are looking for a run in a wildlife haven then this is the place for you.

Here you will find rare animals, birds and plants among trails that extend for more than 10 miles.

They meander around the biggest freshwater tidal marsh in the state. 

Not all the trails allow bikes, so runners shouldn’t encounter too many cyclists. The refuge is just 8 miles from the center of Philadelphia. 

12. Delaware River Trail

Although it remains incomplete, the Delaware River Trail still offers opportunities to runners.

There are three sections, the South Trail, the North Trail and the Central Trail.

When it is complete the trail will connect several parks and waterfront destinations. 

In the meantime the South Trail is beautifully landscaped with seating along the way.

The North Trail has great views of the river and lots of places to pause and rest.

Finally, the Central Trail is still being built but eventually will link Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street. 

13. Cynwyd Heritage Trail

The Cynwyd Heritage Trail is a great route if you are a beginner.

Its almost 2 mile length has clear quarter mile markers and comprises mostly asphalt paths.

This makes it runner friendly, although it is shared by cyclists. 

At the end of the trail you can get to the other side of the Schuylkill River via the Manayunk Bridge Trail.

This allows you to access the Schuylkill River Trail if you want to extend your run. 

14. Glen Providence Park

If you enjoy a challenge then the unpaved roads of Glen Providence Park are for you.

All of the routes in the park take you to a pond which is located in the middle of the park.

The park also operates as a bird sanctuary, so you’ll have to be aware of the wildlife along your route. 

If you like your running trails unspoiled then you’ll love this park.

It has been kept in a natural state since its donation for public use in 1935. 

15. Rocky Run

For fans of the first Rocky film, the Rocky Run is a must when visiting Philadelphia.

Although it is not the 30 mile route through the city, it does end on the famous Rocky Steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

This run comprises three miles from Washington Avenue and 9th Street to the museum.

It is mostly flat, but the 72 steps at the museum are a great way to end this run and test your fitness level. 

Final Thoughts

Philadelphia is ready to inspire and energize your running adventures like never before.

These best places to run in Philly offer something to avid runners and casual joggers alike.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide to the 15 best running trails in Philadelphia and that it inspired you to explore this great city. 

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