Running in Philadelphia – Schuylkill River Trail

Big city running is always so enjoyable because there is just so much to look at. I love running in Central Park in New York and seeing all the different people out exercising. Running, biking, walking, rollerblading…the sky is the limit on secluded trails and paths.

Some big cities it’s a little harder to find places to run that is runner friendly.

I travel to Philadelphia quite often because most of my college friends live there. When I am in training for a race I need to be able to go out and do long runs while I am there. A few years ago Cheryl and I discovered the Schuylkill River Trail and it is no officially my favorite place to run anywhere. It might also be because this is where most of the Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon takes place.

Schuykill River Trail

So where is this trail and why is it so great!?! Well the Schuylkill River Trail is actually a very long trail (130 miles) in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We only run a very small portion of the trail.

We start at the famous Philadelphia Art Museum. We park right behind the museum on Waterworks drive (2 hour limit), but if that is full there are other parking lots along the river. We like to start here because it has a bathroom, water fountain and a little cafe. The paths here are also pretty wide and also almost always crowded.

Schuykill River Trail

You start along Boathouse Row and Kelly Drive. Boathouse Row is where all the college rowing teams and the Schuylkill Navy have homes to drop their boats and practice in the river. The houses are so nice. We see rowers in the river almost every time we run.

Schuykill River Trail

The paths are very well maintained and have dividers so you keep to a side. They are pretty wide in most places which is helpful since there are bikers and runners all going in different directions.

Schuykill River Trail

The trail paths get narrower the further up you run. The area also gets more residential with businesses and houses compared to the wooded areas near the art museum.

Schuykill River Trail

At around 4 miles you get to the Falls Bridge. This is where Cheryl and I cross the river to the other side. You can continue on the path if you want, but most people use this as a turning point.

Schuykill River Trail

On the other side of the bridge you run on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. I love running here on the weekends because most Sundays they close the road for people running or biking. The path on this side of the trail is a lot narrower so to avoid congestion they stop cars and we have free reign of the road. It’s nice, almost like running an actual race, except there is no one giving me water.

Schuykill River Trail 07

The trail is mostly shaded. It has patches of shade and then patches of sun. It was hot when we were running and sunny out, but luckily it wasn’t as hot as it had been. I was definitely sweating!

Schuykill River Trail

At 7 miles is where it starts to get brutal. This is where I always have issues during the Rock and Roll as well. You get to a point where there is NO SHADE. Like none whatsoever anywhere you look. This also always tends to be later in my run so the sun is higher and it is hotter. It makes the end challenging.

Schuykill River Trail

But at least there are really pretty views of the Waterworks and the Art Museum!

Schuykill River Trail

We ran the whole thing except every mile we would walk for .1 to drink water. I have yet to master drinking water mid run without throwing it at my face, and that really doesn’t help my thirst.

Schuykill River Trail

A 10:45 pace isn’t horrible, but nowhere near what I want it to be in September for the Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon. I have aspirations of running a sub-2 hour like I did a few years ago. Well that is going to require a lot more work on my part!



3 thoughts on “Running in Philadelphia – Schuylkill River Trail

  1. Ooh I definitely remember the Falls Bridge from the Philly Marathon course! I think some people don’t like that the Philly Marathon is an out-and-back along the river, but I thought it was really pretty. I also think that’s a pretty good pace for summer running. I always get faster when the temperature starts dropping. I also find that I run a lot faster during a race than even my fastest training runs before a race … yay for adrenaline!


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