Travel Facts for the Schuylkill River Trail
"There's a running joke that the three best things about being a teacher are June, July and August. As I finished my first year of teaching in mid-June, I looked forward to a couple of months tooling around on my bike. But a new job brought me back to the classroom in early August, cutting short my days of two-wheeled travel. When I got back on my bike in late October to explore part of the Schuylkill River Trail, I felt as if I were on a school field trip..."
Read the rest of Jennifer Vogelsong's feature from the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Rails to Trails magazine, and check out the Travel Facts below to help you navigate the Schuylkill River Trail system.
There are 23 trailheads where you can jump on the Schuylkill River Trail. Popular sections include the following, from southeast to northwest:
Downtown Philadelphia to the Port Providence trailhead past Valley Forge National Historical Park, 25.5 miles;
Thun Trail, 20.1 miles from Pottstown Riverfront Park to Reading;
Bartram Trail, 7.3 miles from Silver Creek trailhead near Auburn to Hamburg.
Opportunities abound to rent wheels for your ride. Among the most convenient for a trip beginning in Philadelphia is Fairmount Bicycles (267.507.9370), less than a mile from the Locust Street trailhead. Their bikes are appropriate for city and trail riding; rentals start at $18 for a half day, $30 for the full.
Even closer to trail in Manayunk—barely a block, in fact—is Human Zoom Bikes & Boards (215.487.7433). They rent mountain bikes, first come, first serve, for a flat rate of $30 for 24 hours.
Did You Know?
The trail passes through five Pennsylvania counties and 35 municipalities;
Bicycling is the predominant activity on the trail;
Nearly half of trail users spend time on the trail at least weekly.
Source: Schuylkill River Trail 2009 User Survey and Economic
Impact Analysis, produced by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Northeast Regional Office.
Firsts Along the Schuylkill
The nation's first water supply was created with the construction of Philadelphia's Fairmount Water Works. The first park established to protect a water supply, Fairmount Park, was also located there;
America's first botanist, John Bartram, lived along the river's shores.
The country's first vineyard was founded by Peter Legaux in the Schuylkill River valley.
Source: Along the Schuylkill River, by Laura Catalano and Kurt D. Zwikl.