Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing and Kids Friendly Ride, Valley Forge National Historical Park 

There are over 20 miles of trails (some paved, some packed gravel) open to bicycles in the park. The five mile route outlined here goes through the more popular areas.

Terrain

The ride through Valley Forge follows a narrow, paved path that winds through open space, a few wooded areas, and monuments to the American Revolution.

Traffic

The paved path can have heavy bicycle and pedestrian traffic on weekends. Some cyclists prefer the tour roads that run alongside sections of the path.

Access

You have a few options, my favorite being the Norristown/Manayunk line to Norristown Transportation Center (and then bike the four-ish miles on the Schuylkill River Trail to Valley Forge; the park is just over the Schuylkill River and up the hill to the left). Septa bus routes 125 and 139 stop near the visitor center, where there is also plenty of parking.

Food and Drink

The Washington Memorial Chapel, towards the end of this ride, operates a small cantina called the Cabin Shop. It’s open daily from 10 to 5, and it sells cold drinks, baked goods, and even better: kitschy colonial souvenirs.

Side Trip

Pick up a Valley Forge National Park self tour brochure, produced by the U.S. Department of Interior. It will provide you with much more detailed information regarding the history of the park, and help you to understand the significance of its many monuments.

 

More Details

You’ll start out near the visitor center – be sure to stop in and pick up some additional literature about the monuments you’ll pass along the way. Heading southwest on the bike path next to Outer Line Gulph Road. Soon you’ll see the National Memorial Arch. You’ll follow the bike path around the arch towards Wayne’s Woods. This section of the path runs adjacent to South Outer Line Drive. Before coming to the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail. This trail follows the curves of the North Inner Line Drive.

At the top of the Plumb Martin Trail, you’ll pass Varnum’s Quarters, the von Steuben Statue, and the Washington Memorial Chapel, an Episopal Church built in honor of George Washington. The downhill after the chapel is so long and so fun! Depending on your skill level, you may feel more comfortable taking the adjacent road, Route 23, down the hill. Once safely at the bottom, you’ll climb a short incline up the path back to the visitor center. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Hop on the trail just behind the visitor center and head south west on North Outer Line Dr.
  • 0.3 Pass a group of log cabins to the right, marking the location of the outer line defenses. Continue along the path.
  • 0.9 You’ll see the National Memorial Arch just ahead. Bear to the right and loop around the monument. Cross Gulph Rd.
  • 1.3 After the arch, follow the curve in the trail to the right. The road to your left is South Outer Line Dr, a one way that you should feel comfortable utilizing if the trail is too busy.
  • 1.6 Continue to pedal along the path by making a right at the picnic area. Follow the path around Wayne’s Woods.
  • 1.8 The path becomes the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail. Watch for uneven surfaces here.
  • 2.2 At the intersection, you’ll follow the signs towards Rt 23. Go up the hill.
  • 2.7 Cross Gulph Rd again.
  • 3.2 Pass Varnum’s Quarters and the von Steuben statue. The path runs next to the busy Rt 23. There’s an awesome downhill, sometimes with deer standing in the middle! Ring your bell for the deer.
  • 3.8 Washington Memorial Chapel is just across the street; The Cabin Shop next door has baked goods and cold drinks.
  • 4.2 Fly down this hill!
  • 4.6 Follow the path to the right to go back up the hill, which will bring you to your start point.
  • 5.0 Finish at the visitor center.
  • Trail map

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    7.884 km / 4.899 mi

    Total Distance

    153 m / 503 ft

    Total Ascent

    155 m / 507 ft

    Total Descent

    81 m / 264 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
    Trail Signage: Good
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 5.0
    Elevation Gain: 259
    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

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