10 Family-Friendly Biking Trails in the Philly Area
Take off your training wheels and enjoy warm weather!
Biking is a low-impact, fun-for-all-ages activity that engages the body’s major muscle groups in a fun way to get fit and spend family time outdoors. If you find the right family-friendly bike trail, your whole family can enjoy cycling at their own pace.
“Philadelphia is a great place to ride bikes as families, because of the Circuit Trails, the MLK and Kelly Drive paths, and many miles of on-road bike lanes,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. With an abundance of bike trails in the suburbs and city, there’s no excuse to keep your bike or trike collecting dust in the garage. Here are some of the area’s most family-friendly trails.
On the Main Line
Radnor Trail: Originally part of the Philadelphia & Western Railway Company Track, which dates back to 1907, Radnor Township resurrected the empty corridor as a 2.4-mile macadam trail that runs between Radnor-Chester Road and Sugartown Road. With seven trail entrances, two with parking lots and bathroom access (Conestoga Road and Brooke Road), unpacking and gearing up are a breeze. Sneak in history lessons about the defunct railroad reading signage, sponsored by the Radnor Historical Society and Radnor Conservancy, highlighting various train stops.
Wilson Farm Park: Tucked into the mini-community of Chesterbrook off Route 202, with the entrance at the end of Lee Road, is the 90-acre Wilson Farm Park. Families can trek the roughly 3 miles of paved flat path that goes around and intersects the park, take a pit stop at the all-abilities playground, or picnic. Three on-site pavilions have bathrooms.
Audubon Loop: At the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove in Montgomery County, you can bike and bird-watch at the same time! The rolling-hill 2.5-mile paved loop starts at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. Double the distance if your tribe has the extra go-power when you connect with the Schuylkill River Trail or the Perkiomen Trail.
Cynwyd Heritage Trail: Cross the Manayunk Bridge Trail, a highlight of the 2-mile linear paved trail, and get a different perspective on Philadelphia traffic, which straddles the Schuylkill Expressway. Parents can park at the Cynwyd Station Park, Bala Cynwyd Park (bathrooms on-site), and the northern end of Belmont Avenue.
Schuylkill River Trail: Voted 2015 best urban trail in USA Today, it will one day be an almost 160-mile route in Southeastern Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. For now it’s 60 miles long, and a beloved part of modern life in the city. Among the recent extensions are Sullivan’s Bridge, a 14-foot wide, 600-foot-long bridge crossing the Schuylkill River connecting Valley Forge National Historical Park to the trail, and Bartram’s Mile, which connects South Philly to the trail.
Cobbs Creek Park: It’s part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile bike and walking route using existing and planned shared trails that runs along the East Coast, starting in Calais, Maine, and stretching to Key West, Florida. This 3.7-mile path, a sweet relief from heat, is surrounded by trees and parallels Cobbs Creek Parkway. Ideal for families, can be accessed at 63rd and Market Streets, south along Cobbs Creek Parkway to 70th Street. In addition, the park connects with the 58th Street Greenway, an off-road bike and pedestrian path, and links to Bartram’s Garden.
John B. Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Drive: Part of the Schuylkill River Trail. You can coast by a slew of Philly landmarks, including Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the azalea garden, safe from speeding cars alongside the Schuylkill River. Cross the Falls Bridge, erected in 1897, in East Falls to complete the 8.4-mile paved loop.
Tacony Creek Park Trail: The 3.2-mile trail winds along the Tacony Creek through some 300 acres of forests and meadows, as well as past historic sites, such as Whitaker Mill and Fischer’s Lane Bridge, that date to the 1700s. With access at Ramona Avenue and I Street and 10 additional neighborhood gateways, the paved trail is part of the larger Eastern Coast Greenway.
Wissahickon Valley Park: Escape honking horns and busy streets on the Wissahickon Trail, a constantly changing 50-mile collection of crushed gravel and dirt trails. Forbidden Drive, a flat gravel approximately 5-mile, 25-foot wide pathway that runs along the Wissahickon Creek, is popular with families; the Yellow Trail, an almost 8-mile dirt and rock multi-use single track trail; and the shorter distanced more gnarly White Trail (4 ½-miles), are recommended for more advanced riders.
Philly Pumptrack: This relatively new park is a safe dirt track that supports BMX and other bikes that encourage pumping instead of pedaling. The track, located at 53rd Street and Parkside Avenue, is maintained seasonally and opened to the public. It opens this spring on May 13.
Photograph via Canva.