Schuylkill River Trail
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:Cromby trailhead, 829 Township Line Road, Phoenixville, PA
Hours:Variable, but generally sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: None at Cromby trailhead; see map for location of other restrooms
Water/Snacks: None at Cromby trailhead

Bike or walk along the Schuylkill River on a hard-surface, level, multiuse trail that connects city to countryside.

Schuylkill River Trail
Photo by: Susan Charkes

The 130-mile Schuylkill River Trail (SRT), which has been largely completed between Philadelphia and Phoenixville, and from Pottstown to Reading, as well as segments north, will eventually extend to Pottsville. The trail is hardsurface and level, excellent for family bike rides and walks (including walks with strollers).

Because the SRT is a long-distance trail, there are numerous options for planning a trip. Popular trailheads include the Schuylkill Banks and East Fairmount Park and Manayunk trailheads in Philadelphia; Betzwood and Pawlings Road in Valley Forge; Mont Clare/Lock 60 in Montgomery County; and the trailhead at Cromby, just north of Phoenixville in Chester County (completed in 2012).

From Cromby, the trail can be taken north 5.6 miles to Parker Ford, with great views not only of the winding river but also of a closed electrical generating station. From Phoenixville south, the trail can be taken 55 miles to the Schuylkill Banks. (As of this writing, the connector in Phoenixville to Cromby was under construction.)

Start any SRT trip by checking the SRT website, which has excellent, up-to-date maps and information about trail status, parking, trailhead amenities (such as bathrooms and restaurants), and trail conditions.

Biking or walking the trail is a great way to experience the Schuylkill River as it flows down from countryside to suburbia to city. The river is beautiful, tree-lined, wide, and stately. The towns and boroughs along its banks north of the city are rich with history. Along the trail, there are opportunities for kids to learn about navigational canals, the coal industry, and the American Revolution; to watch eagles, ospreys, and herons; and to enjoy the ever-changing scenery of a river view.

If you don’t have a bike, you can borrow one for the day in Phoenixville under the BikeSchuylkill program that is designed to enable families to enjoy biking the trail. See the SRT website for details.

Remember: The SRT can get crowded, particularly on weekends. Some short sections of the SRT are currently on-road, but those roads are typically not heavily traveled.

Plan B:

At the SRT’s trailhead in Schuylkill Canal Park/Lock 60, there is access to the canal and river for paddling. The Upper Schuylkill Valley Park and Black Rock Sanctuary, south of Phoenixville on PA 113, have hiking trails.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Family-friendly restaurants and cafés are in Phoenixville, near the Cromby trailhead.


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