Get away from the grit of the city with a family bike ride through the scenic trails of Philadelphia parks. Paths range from paved to gravel, flat to hilly and crowded to remote. More than 200 miles of trails snake through Fairmount Park, and Valley Forge and Ridley Creek offer additional trail networks just outside of the city. So dig out those helmets and riding gloves from the closet, pack up the kids and get ready for some bike-riding fun at these top family-friendly bicycle trails around the City of Brotherly Love.
Wissahickon Valley Park
8708 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Fairmount Park’s northwest section, known as Wissahickon Park, is a natural wonderland of lush greens and thick forests along with a quiet creek all in the midst of the big city. About 57 miles of trails wind through the scenic park, crossing bridges, climbing hills and offering views of Wissahickon Gorge. Forbidden Drive, a gravel trail that snakes along the creek for 11 miles, is a popular route for families with older children. Just be sure to use the restrooms before you set off, as there are no facilities along the trail.
Joseph Plumb Martin Trail
Valley Forge National Historical Park
1400 N. Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
If you want an all-day outing with the kids, bike the Schuylkill River Trail and hop onto the connecting trails at Valley Forge National Historical Park. You’ll need plenty of water and snacks, but the experience is well worth the effort. More than 20 miles of bike trails meander through the park, exposing cyclists to colonial architecture and Revolutionary War sites and equipment. Besides the paved, history-rich Joseph Plumb Martin Trail and 12 miles of flat but unpaved pathways, bikers also may use Inner Line Drive and Outer Line Drive, but be careful of traffic.
Pennypack Park Trail
8500 Pine Road
Philadelphia, PA 19111
Pennypack Park, run by the Fairmount Park Commission, boasts miles of paved and unpaved paths for bikers. Families find Pennypack Creek Trail to be a kid-friendly place to take a leisurely ride with young ones. While traveling along the short 2.5-mile trail, enjoy the sights and sounds of the babbling creek and chirping bids. Creek Road Trail and Pennypack Parkway also allow bikers, but are geared more to experienced cyclists. Trails are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.
Related: Top Bike Shops In Philadelphia
Ridley Creek State Park
1023 Sycamore Mills Road
Media, PA 19063
It can’t get much more accommodating to cycling families than Ridley Creek State Park. Offering five miles of a paved multi-use trail, kids and adults find it an easy route to navigate and one that is a pleasure to the eyes. A canopy of trees overhangs much of the trail that takes bikers along Sycamore Mills and Forge Roads. To gain access, park in lots numbered 7, 11, 15 or 17.
Schuylkill River Trail
Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area
40 College Drive
Pottstown, PA 19464
The city’s most popular trail is the Schuylkill River Trail. Although it’s 25 miles long, families can access it from Center City and bike just a section of it, enjoying the view as the path winds along the Schuylkill River. It’s mainly flat and kids can navigate the paved trail easily. Novice cyclists may want to steer clear of the trail on summer weekends, however, as it can get congested with dog walkers, joggers and pedestrians.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.