Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing Ride & Kids Friendly Ride, Schuylkill Banks Park

Schuylkill Banks Park is a one mile path that stretches from Locust Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive along the river. A well known destination for outdoor recreation, hundreds of Philadelphians head to the banks everyday for fresh air and exercise. You will be joined by runners and cyclists on the path, sunbathers on the banks, and fishermen at water’s edge. There are plenty of benches and sitting rocks to stop and enjoy the river or watch the geese.

Terrain

The Schuylkill Banks Park offers city dwellers the simple luxury of a paved biking and jogging path along the Schuylkill River.

Traffic

There is heavy bicycle, human, and dog traffic on the banks, and everyone insists upon moving at wildly different speeds! A couple of turns underneath the bridges can be blind, so be sure to ring your bell.

Access

The log begins at the 25th and Locust Entrance to Schuylkill Banks Park. Buses 7, 12, and 40 serve the area. There are access points to the river on Race and Locust, ramps on Market and Chestnut, and stairs on Walnut Street. The trail sits behind the Art Museum, and can also be reached via Kelly Drive or The Loop.

Food and Drink

Bacchus Market is a great locally owned little shop for sandwiches and coffee, located near the entrance to the Schuylkill Banks Park on 23rd and Spruce.

Side Trip

In the summer and early fall, Hidden River Outfitters Kayak Tours leads guided tours of the Schuylkill. Options include the area around the Fairmount Water Works, a trip to Bartram’s Garden, and even a moonlit tour here and there

 

More Details

Schuylkill Banks Park is one of the newest editions to ‘Complete the Schuylkill River Trail’, a campaign by local bicycle and pedestrian advocates to establish a green transportation corridor from Delaware County to Montgomery County. As of February 2010, the Complete the Schuylkill River Trail Campaign secured federal funding for a number of additions to the Schuylkill Banks Park, including a Connector Bridge at Locust Street – a much anticipated antidote for the droves of irascible cyclists who have, at one point or another, waited for the train to pass.

Plans for the funding also include a new boardwalk along the river from Locust Street to South Street. The ride log starts at Locust Street and ends at the Art Museum, but there are other access points along the banks which may be more convenient for you. Regardless of where you enter Schuylkill Banks Park, just follow the river and you’ll never be lost! If you’re starting at Locust Street, you’ll make a right onto the path after crossing the railroad tracks. You’ll pass under the Walnut Street Bridge and then the Chestnut Street Bridge – ring your bell, this turn can be blind.

After two more bridges, you will be in the land of the goose – they seem to love the area near the Art Museum and they do not mind getting in your way. There is a downhill and another great spot to ring your bell around the bend. When you pop up again, you’ll be greeted by the waterworks to the left. Boathouse Row is straight ahead, which connects you to The Loop and most other Art Museum Departures.

The Schuylkill River Development Corporation hosts an interactive guide to all the different activities on the banks, including outdoor movie nights in the summer by the Walnut Street Bridge and kayak tours along the river.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the trail head near Schuylkill River Park and the Locust St crossing. Ride north towards a series of bridges.
  • 0.05 Pass under the Walnut St bridge.
  • 0.1 Pass under the Chestnut St bridge. Ring your bell!
  • 0.2 Pass under the Market St bridge.
  • 0.6 Geese!
  • 1.0 Reach the Ben Franklin Pkwy entrance to Schuylkill Banks Park. Now, there are a lot of places to go from here:
  • Continue straight. Go down the hill and under the bridge to pick up the Schuylkill River Trail and head towards Boathouse Row. 

    Or, exit the banks at the stoplight. Cross Ben Franklin Pkwy and make a left to pick up MLK Jr. Dr. Or, if you wish to reach the Art Museum or the Spring Garden bike lanes, you can go up the ramp just across Ben Franklin Pkwy. Or, turn around and head back to Locust St!

    Trail map

    Locate Me
    Get Directions
    Back

    1.656 km / 1.029 mi

    Total Distance

    26 m / 85 ft

    Total Ascent

    22 m / 73 ft

    Total Descent

    10 m / 32 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Low
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 1.6
    Elevation Gain: 35
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

    Loading comments...