The 5 Best Running Routes In Philadelphia

The 5 Best Running Routes In Philadelphia

The natural beauty of the Philadelphia area has been getting restored amid the centuries of urban layers. Today, you can choose from runs that take you across the city, around the rivers and parks, and even into urban wilderness. 

Fairmount Park

One of the most popular routes in the city is the 8.69-mile loop through one of the largest city park systems in the country. The main route follows a portion of the Schuylkill River Trail, heading up from the Philadelphia Museum Of Art—yes, past the statue of Rocky Balboa at the end of his 30-mile cinematic marathon—and follows along Kelly Drive, crossing the Schuylkill River along Falls Road to the larger western portion of the park.

Photo: Justin Knabb/Flickr

For the second half of the loop, you’ll circle back down to cross back on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. If you want to extend your run or get just get away from the main route, consider options on either side. Boxers’ Trail, used by real-life boxing legends Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali, covers around 3 miles on the east side. On the larger west side of the park, you can pile on more miles with routes like Crossbow Trail and Centennial Loop.

More details via the Fairmount Park ConservancyPhiladelphia Magazine and MapMyRun >>


Wissahickon Valley Park

For a more natural setting, continue along the east bank of the Schuylkill north to the mouth of Wissahickon Creek, then follow the gorge into miles of forest and rehabilitated former industrial land. The standard route is Forbidden Drive, which follows the creek along the valley floor for about 7 miles one-way. If you want hills and fewer people, head up the dirt trails that flank the valley for most of its length.

More details via Friends Of Wissahickon, Philly Runners and TrailLink >>

Photo: Geoff Alexander/Flickr

Schuykill Banks and Boardwalk
City Center, South Philadelphia

Looking for a shorter, more central run? Head south from the Museum Of Art and Center City. The Schuylkill Banks extends the Schuylkill River Trail south onto a boardwalk that connects to the South Street bridge, and then over to the University of Pennsylvania campus. The boardwalk is under one mile round-trip, but a trip to Penn or an extension up the trail into Fairmount can extend it as far as you would want.

More details via the Schuylkill Banks and Schuylkill River Trail official sites >>  


Photo: Rachel O./Yelp

Pennypack Trail
Northeast Philadelphia

The main green space in Northeast Philadelphia surrounds Pennypack Creek. The park’s trail follows it for nearly 9.5 miles within city limits, running from the creek’s mouth at the Delaware up to Montgomery County (where the creek and trail continue for another several miles). Be aware that the main trail is paved, and beware of the crowds of other people enjoying the park—due to both circumstances, consider the many side trails, which offer more hills and miles, less pavement, and fewer people.

More details via Philly Runners and the Pennypack Trust >> 


Photo: John Donges/Flickr

Delaware River Trail
City Center

The oldest part of this storied city runs along the eastern side of the Delaware River and is worth the run even though it doesn’t get as much attention as the scenery in other areas. The 3.2-mile one-way route follows the riverfront Christopher Columbus Boulevard between Pier 68 in the south and Penn Park in the north, passing numerous smaller recreational piers and other attractions along the way. If you’re looking for more elevation mileage, consider heading up to the Franklin bridge.

More details via Runner’s World >>

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