11 Best Philly Area Running Routes

Published by Dr. Charles Gemmi

A Board Certified Orthodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Charles Gemmi has been a practicing orthodontist with Orthodontics Limited since 2000 and is a member of the teaching staff at Einstein Medical Center. Orthodontics Limited is a Diamond+ Provider of Invisalign in Philadelphia and Hatboro, PA.

Philadelphia is the perfect city to be a runner in. There are so many beautiful hikes and trails inside the city and in the surrounding suburbs for you to get in your miles in. You just need to know where to go.

Check out these 11 best Philly area running routes:

1. The Schuylkill River Trail: Kelly Drive Loop

One of the most popular places to run in Philadelphia is of course the Schuylkill River Trail. An almost nine-mile loop of the trail that picturesquely loops around the Schuylkill River is called the Kelly Drive Loop. With rowers and geese on the river and beautiful foliage there is always something for all your senses to enjoy on your run.
The Kelly Drive Loop starts right behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and takes you along Boathouse Row. At Falls Bridge in East Falls, you just need to turn left and cross over to the other side of the river to head back and complete the loop on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

2. Schuylkill River Trail: Valley Forge National Historical Park

If you are looking for a longer run, you can get in 26.5 miles by running the full Schuylkill River Trail which ends at the Valley Forge National Historical Park. All you have to do is instead of looping back around the river at the Falls Bridge keep going straight. This is also a great route for cyclists.

3. Schuylkill River Trail: Schuylkill Banks and Boardwalks

On the western side of Center City, you can also link up to the Schuylkill River Trail. The Schuylkill Banks and Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk are more suited for short runs and for joggers and walks. It stretches the trail over the river and is about 1.8 miles in length. It starts at Locust Street and meanders over to the South Street Bridge. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can also connect to the rest of the Schuylkill River Trail too.

4. Spruce Street between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers

While not a hiking trail or a running path, Spruce Street in Center City connects the Schuylkill River to the Delaware River and makes a scenic road to walk or run. From river bank to river bank, the road is about 2.1 miles. A good place to start is either Spruce and 25th Streets or 301 S. Columbus Boulevard.

5. Benjamin Franklin Bridge Walkway

With its 3 mile route back and forth across the Delaware River between Philadelphia and New Jersey, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge is a popular route for big races held in the city as well as one of the best Philly area running routes. While the bridge is closed for runners for those races, for your daily run you can use the pedestrian walkway across the river that starts at 5th and Race streets. The views of the river will be worth it.

6. Penn Park

The University of Pennsylvania’s campus is like a little town inside the big city and it has some beautiful walking and running paths that you can take advantage of too in the area called Penn Park which stretches between Walnut Street at 30th Street to South Street. There are about four different paths you can take and they range in distance from 0.5 to 1.1 miles.

7. Fairmount Park: The Centennial 5K Route

Fairmount Park is another beautiful park in Philadelphia which has many scenic routes you can take on your daily run. One popular one is the Centennial 5K Route which is a quick well-paved route that starts behind the Please Touch Museum and loops around the Centennial District. The best starting point is Memorial Hall, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.

8. Fairmount Park: The Boxers’ Trail

In East Fairmount Park, you can also take the Boxers’ Trail which was named in honor of famous boxers like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and is another one of the best Philly-area running routes. Along this scenic trail you will pass the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, and be able to check out some of the Fairmount area mansions before heading into the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The full trail is about 3.8 miles. A good place to start is at the Sedgely Woods Disc Golf Course at 33rd and Oxford Streets.

9. Wissahickon Valley Park Trail: Forbidden Drive

Besides the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, in Philadelphia there are also other beautiful bodies of water to walk and run along like the Pennypack Creek and the Wissahickon Creek. The Wissahickon Valley Park Trail also referred to as Forbidden Drive is a pebbled trail that follows along the full length of the creek. It is about 7 miles in total one way. You can find convenient parking at the Valley Green Inn on Valley Green Road at Wissahickon which is a good place to start.

10. Schuylkill River Trail: Manayunk Towpath

It might surprise you to know that the Schuylkill River Trail even extends into Manayunk. The Manayunk Towpath is a part of the trail that follows along the Manayunk Canal where you will also find a lot of fishermen hanging out as well. You can access the path on Main Street in Manayunk at Lock Street. It will give you about a 2 mile workout.

11. Pennypack Park Trails

In the Northeast section of the city out to the suburbs, Pennypack Park offers lots of beautiful paths and trails for your run as well. It runs southeast from Montgomery County to the Delaware River. On your travels you will come across a mix of woodlands, meadows and wetlands along the creek. There are plenty of paved and unpaved trails to check out in Pennypack Park.

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