Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing and Kids Ride, Audubon Loop
The Audubon Loop bike ride takes you through the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park and, as the name implies, the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. Mostly flat save for a couple of hills (including one nine percent grade incline), the loop is an excellent four mile addition to an afternoon ride on the Schuylkill River Trail. Of course, it also stands alone if you wish to explore the museum or some of the Audubon bird sanctuaries.
A paved path running alongside secluded wooded areas, bird sanctuaries, and a creek.
The Audubon Loop generally has less bicycle and pedestrian traffic than its friend across the way, the Valley Forge National Historic Park.
The best mode of travel to Audubon Loop is your bicycle! It meets the Schuylkill River Trail at Valley Forge Ride and the start of the Perkiomen Trail Ride. Of course if you have to drive, you’ll find parking at the Pawlings Road trail head.
Food and Drink
A few water fountains welcome you to the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, but, if you intend to stay on the loop, then plan to bring some snacks for a picnic.
The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove! Audubon’s first home in the United States, the 175 acre site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum houses the famous Birds of America collection, among much of Audubon’s other artwork and writings.
The bike ride takes you counter clockwise – certainly the easier route. If you are looking for a better challenge or some practice with hills, reverse the directions to ride clockwise. You’ll start out at the intersection between the SRT, the Perkiomen Trail, and the Audubon Loop. To go the easy way, head up the switchback towards Pawlings Road. To tackle the more challenging route, pedal straight ahead – towards the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park.
Assuming you do not wish to climb a nine percent grade, then you have picked the easy way towards Pawlings Road. From here you will make a left over the bridge and follow Audubon Loop (marked on the path itself as ‘AL’). You’ll travel alongside Pawlings Road for about a mile, passing a few bird observation areas and eventually the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove (1201 Pawlings Road). The sanctuary grounds are open from 7am until dusk. After the left at Audubon Road, you’ll soon pass a smoke stack that dates back to the mid-19th century copper and lead ore mining activities at Mill Grove.
The sign near the stack notes that over 1,500 tons of lead was mined in here between 1813 and 1825! You’ll hit the steep grade and continue to follow the path until Egypt Road. The path becomes an awkward sidewalk along the bridge. Follow the sidewalk over the bridge and make a left afterwards. The sidewalk ends, but there will be a barrier between you and the road to make you feel secure. The entrance to the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park can be easy to miss – look for the red sign and parking lot.
Once back on the path, you’ll take a right to pedal through the park. Stop here for a drink at the water fountains or a quick game of tetherball. When you leave the park, you’ll come to a fork. Bear right to pick up the Schuylkill River Trail (the pavement will be painted ‘SRT’) and follow the switchback over the bridge. Continue straight and you’ll find yourself at the familiar Pawlings Road switchback. Bear right to head towards the parking lot, left to head towards Valley Forge.
* If coming from Valley Forge on the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT), follow the signs towards Pawlings Rd.
6.571 km / 4.083 mi
114 m / 374 ft
114 m / 375 ft
64 m / 211 ft