Manayunk Towpath Ride

Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Manayunk Towpath Ride

At just four miles round trip the Manayunk Towpath provides a fun, leisurely trail for bike riders of all abilities. You’ll pass a lot of families and little tykes here. The path also provides an offroad alternative to Main Street between the Kelly Drive and Valley Forge sections of the Schuylkill River Trail, but take note: the gravel towards the end of the path is best handled with fatter tires.


This towpath is a combination of boardwalk, dirt, and gravel, and it’s as flat as the canal it follows.


The Manayunk Towpath sees its share of folks walking, jogging, and cycling. Some portions are narrow and there are a few slight turns near bridges to navigate, so it is a good pick for a slow cycling jaunt.


The towpath runs in between Main Street and the Manayunk Canal. There is a very well marked entrance on the corner of Main and Lock streets. Buses 61 and 35 serve the area, but you can also take the Manayunk/Norristown line to the Manayunk train station. Of course the most fun way to get there is The Art Museum to Manayunk Ride. It will drop you off at Lock Street.

Food and Drink

There are a million cafés on Main Street – no need to look far!

Side Trip

For a fun change of pace, streets that become promenades, live music, and artists from all over the country hanging out and selling their crafts, head to the annual Manayunk Arts Festival. It happens every June and is worth a peek.


More Details

The towpath is part of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, which “celebrates the rich culture and history of the Schuylkill River watershed.” The trail, which runs between the canal and the back porches of some of the cafés on Main Street, becomes increasingly wooded as you pedal away from Lock Street. This is a great option for a family outing – you’ll bike ride under a few dramatic bridges, and hopefully see lots of birds, fish and turtles mingling with the old industrial structures.

There are plenty of places to enter and exit the path along the way if you’d like a bite (for more information about what’s happening in Manayunk, check out The Art Museum To Manayunk Ride). As the trail becomes more rugged, the gravel may prove nasty on your tires. Make sure to either bring a spare tube or plan to get pumped about a walk back to Cadence or Human Zoom for a fix. The end of the towpath drops you off on Nixon Street, which is very close to the entrance to the Valley Forge section of the Schuylkill River Trail. Try it out if you’d like to extend your ride – this is a terrific bike path.


Ride Log

This ride log is super easy – just grab your bicycle and hop on the trail at Main and Lock streets.

  • 0.2 Pass Cotton St entrance.
  • 0.4 Ride under the Green Ln bridge.
  • 0.7 Pass Leverington Ave – this area is known as the Riparian Slope Forest.
  • 0.9 Ride under the Fountain St bridge. Check out all those vines!
  • 1.0 For the next mile, the trail becomes a bit more rugged with large gravel and a tree root here and there. The path will also have more and more shade trees.
  • 2.2 Turn around and head back to Lock St, or if you want to ride a little bit farther, exit the towpath and follow Nixon St to the Valley Forge section of the SRT.
  • Trail map

    Locate Me
    Get Directions

    3.472 km / 2.157 mi

    Total Distance

    100 m / 329 ft

    Total Ascent

    96 m / 316 ft

    Total Descent

    26 m / 86 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Low
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 2.2
    Elevation Gain: 39
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

    Loading comments...