Schuylkill River Trail - Thun Trail Reviews    

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great 1st trial

By papaq in June, 2014

First trail ride since getting back in to biking. We had a good time on the trail. Got to see the other side of routes traveled by car, with no traffic. Have plans to ride other trails in next couple of weeks.

Where else, my friends?

By cheswoodco in May, 2014

I have traveled, and I can say this is a wonderful addition to Berks County. Those of you in fear for your life, stop watching so much tv. I have walked every section of this trail many times, and there is nothing to be afraid of. You have more chance of getting car-jacked. The experience of being outside on trails with no cars to fight is a gift. Sure there are some places where there are ruts and run-off spots but this is nature, folks, not some man-made pristine manufactured environment. So, come on, check the map, find a trail head, park the car, and get moving. You'll be glad you did.

Could be 5 stars with a little consideration from the horseback users

By smoka_9 in April, 2014

The trail is well maintained and provides a nice scenic ride. The paved areas are nice and smooth and you can get some speed up. Transition areas of the trail need some work, but over-all not bad. The major concern is the horseback riders. Why is it that dog owners are required to clean up after their animals, but horseback owners can leave a knee high pile of crap and not think twice about it? Also when the horse is taken to to a gallop, it tears the trail up. There are sections of the trail that have to be ridden standing because they feel like, as I heard someone describe it accurately, "rumble strips". So much potential, but horseback riders, show some common decency and clean up after you animal!

Nice trail in a sketchy area, PS watch for the dead bodies

By captainvette in September, 2012

It's a shame this trail has to be located where it is. Coming from the Reading end we looked to park at the trail head on Angstadt Ln, which turned out to be inaccessible due to bridge construction. So we moved on to one behind several businesses. When we pulled in there was only one other vehicle, whose occupants appeared to be doing something other than planing to enjoy the trail. Weed? crackheads? I don't know they just looked sketchy, and I wasn't leaving my truck there. So we moved on once again. We finally came across another trail head behind some burger joint/bar and it was actually really nice, it appeared fairly new, and best of all no crackheads in sight. After we unloaded we headed out a trail from the parking lot, while somewhat narrow it still seemed nice. Turned out it was about a half mile loop that came out the other end of the parking lot. We realized the actual trail was across street. When we headed in that direction we noticed a guy coming out of the restroom carrying a bottle in a brown paper bag. It didn't look like gatorade either. We chose to head off and hope for the best. The trail was fairly nice although a bit narrow and doesn't show much use. I found it odd that on a fairly nice day we only came across about five or six other people on the ride the whole way to Pottstown. Bottom line is the closer to Pottstown you get the safer you feel. There's just an uncomfortable feel to the trail which is a real shame as it's a nice level, smooth, trail with some scenic sights along it. If you think I'm being a little overly critical regarding the security on the trail I'll just add that in today's paper there was a brief article about a body of a man who was found shot to death on the trail. I don't usually like to pack heat with me on bike ride my friends. But if I do it'd be on this trail. Stay safe my friends.

Nice evening ride

By velopunk75 in August, 2012

Took the mountain bikes out tonight from the Pottstown trailhead to the 724 crossing near Shed Rd. The trail is in great condition after a pretty heavy rain earlier this morning. Maintained an easy 10mph average with minimal effort. Encountered a handful of bikers and joggers along the way.

A correction

By dwtcycle in August, 2011

Not to stir the pot, but to help others avoid confusion, I have made three round trips through Birdsboro just this week alone.

1) I have seen NO trail signs between where the trail enters Armorcast Drive (the roughest piece of concrete pavement I can ever recall!) and the one on Schuylkill Road AFTER turning off 724 north/west of the Turkey Hill.

2)Route 82 no longer exists -- at least, not in Birdsboro. Route 345 joins 724 south of town, then splits just above the Turkey Hill with 345 traveling a bridge over the Schuylkill, and 724 turning to run parallel with the river. I believe that road over the bridge was once 82, but has been 345 since at least 2010.

For what it's worth, the shoulders on Route 724 are fairly wide and quite smoothly paved from said Turkey Hill up to at least where Schuylkill Road crosses 724 above town and becomes Old River Road. I sometimes ride that rather than Schuylkill Road -- it's a trade-off of smoother paving for more sun!

All in all, I find the trail from Pottstown up to Brentwood to be a pleasant trip. This very day I ventured up beyond the Reading Area Community College and found that section a bit disappointing in condition, although passable.

A nice rolling trail for any level of biker, walker, or runner!

By zogbiker in August, 2011

I live in the area, and often ride from Wyomissing home with my girlfriend on this trail. We ride Canonndale Quick CX2 Hybrids and the 700c skinny tires with knobby outer edges are perfect for these trail surfaces. These bikes are mostly road bikes until you get to the tires and straight handlebars. We usually ride at a pace of around 11-12mph (which would be slower if we had larger tires or heavier bikes like cruisers or mountain bikes). If you are a runner, I think you'll love this trail!

This trail extends further than what Rails to Trails shows by about three or four miles to the north through the city limits of Reading, PA to Grings Mill recreation area/park. From there, it continues seamlessly as the Union Canal Trail finally crossing Reber's Bridge Rd and heading into Blue Marsh Lake. Click the "google bike trails button" to see the extension in green. It is labeled Schuylkill River Trail - zoom in to see better. North of Reading at Grings Mill and again at the Gruber Wagon Works you can find soda machines, restrooms, and lots of leisure areas! This is a popular area for photographers, too.

This trail is almost totally crushed stone in and around Reading until Gibralter where you'll continue on roads into Birdsboro. The trail is adequately marked at the intersection of routes 724 & 82 (at the Turkey Hill) where it crosses over route 82 continuing into the old Armorcast property continuing to the right behind the baseball fields. Not sure how a previous commenter missed that? I also suggest you generally research the trail maps before you ride so you'll know what to do if a sign is missing... You'll also find a new parking area with restrooms and water fountains just completed in Birdsboro. There's a loop around the area, too, so you can ride that loop for an extra mile or two before continuing to Pottstown.

From Gibralter into Birdsboro, the riding on roads takes you on relatively quiet sections with little traffic for a few miles over some gradual inclines and declines, and you'll ride past some beautiful old farm houses along the way. Dismount to cross route 724 safely. South of Birdsboro the trail continues on crushed stone until you near Pottstown. There is one road crossing with a short steep hill on both sides, so plan on dismounting to cross safely and get up the to the level sections to continue riding. My front tire lifts when I ride up the hills, so in the future I guess I should walk up. Heading into Pottstown you'll eventually be riding on asphalt, and some areas aren't shaded by the tree canopy, but it's super nice riding!

I enjoy the scenery almost the whole way and my favorite section is a bridge crossing over the Schuylkill River outside of Pottstown... So peaceful. This trail isn't typically crowded, and there aren't road racers since it's mostly crushed stone. Unfortunately, we have to dodge manure piles on occasion (even though horses aren't allowed on the trail).

Riding right near (and in the city of) Reading, heading north to Grings Mill, you'll normally find lots of people including kids, walkers, pets, and so on as this trail leads to the river where some folks go swimming and fishing. most of these folks are oblivious that anyone is riding toward them on a bike. We shout "passing on your left" or something - anything - to let them know we're going to pass. There may be a language barrier there sometimes. The "crowded" conditions have the potential to make some riders nervous, and I was offered marijuana by a teen one day just past Reading Area Community College. We've encountered motorcycles and a few partiers in the city sections, too. All in all, I'd say don't sweat it, the city is the city so act like you own it and ride on! Everyone knows the trail is there for anyone wishing to be on it. I really like the ride, and tremendously enjoy the many miles we've shared on it.

To avoid city related headaches, a great start point is the Brentwood Trailhead off Rte. 10 not far from Alvernia University. Fom here you can go south and your ride will be great until the end in Pottstown!

Enjoy!

THUN TRAIL

By judith60 in July, 2011

I rode the trail down to Turkey Hill in Birdsboro. Nice ride and pretty well kept. But, when I got to Birdsboro, there were no longer any trail signs. When we ask at Turkey Hill, no one knew where we should go to get on the trail. Therefore, I will not return to this trail again or reccommend it to my friends. First part is pretty nice though. We did this ride on 07/27/2011

beware santa on bike

By thunpony in July, 2011

My horse and I have run into Santa on a bike twice and he's barrelled past us with in 6 inches. I'm trying to train my horse to not spook at bikes but this guy is a menace. Is yielding to horses a guideline or a rule?

osborn2ride

By laretha in June, 2011

Today June 13th I did 12 and a 1/2 miles out of Pottstown past Birdsboro. The first eight miles is one of the best that I have been on. About 4 miles out of Pottstown a local Boyscout troop has built a nice rest area. This trail is family friendly and ok for a cross over bike. The first eight miles are is mostly tree lined and is a great ride on a hot sunny day.

Schuylkill Trail is wonderful

By cbright22 in November, 2010

In the past, I wrote a post about pot holes in the trail. This is no longer a problem. And I will say that I love this trail. I ride quite frequently. I take my camera and stop to takes pictures of the beautiful scenery.
I think that a lot of effort is put into the trail and the organization that is in charge is doing an excellent job. I consider myself to be very lucky to live close by and to have the advantage of using the Schuylkill Trail and I want to say Thank You to all who are involved.

Thun Trail / Schuylkill Canal Trail

By hakaplan in September, 2010

I rode both the Pottstown to Birdsboro-Armorcast Rd. section and the Gibraltar to Reading section. I skipped the River Road/724 section as I value my life. Very nice, flat trail, except from some minor ups and downs and the need (for me, at least) to dismount crossing 724 in Monocacy as the original railroad bridge no longer exists and the path has a deep descent and ascent. Going west, the trail crosses 724 again at Tim's Ugly Mug Bar. Be aware that the trail is not well marked here. It picks up on the west side of the bar just behind a row of houses--looks like an alleyway or driveway.

For the majority of the run the Thun Trail is the right of way of the former Pennsylvania Railroad's Schuylkill Branch, and you actually ride over original railroad bridges. Very cool ride. Close to the end in Reading is a trail that branches off to the southeast called Neversink Trail that appears to run a few miles down to south of 6th and Canal St. Didn't ride that one--that's a future project.

I am including the Schuylkill Canal Trail because RTC does not have it listed and it is the connector between the Thun Trail and the Union Canal Trail. The Thun Trail ends in downtown Reading just north of Penn Ave. From there the paved path ends and continues as singletrack cinder/stones for a block along the railroad tracks until you reach a paved section that takes you into the woods and you follow the Schuylkill Canal and River. There are historic markers and remnants of the original locks. After about a mile the path exits the woods, crosses the tracks, and you ride a block up a city street to Schuylkill Ave. You'll see the Reading Public Library ahead across the street. Make a left and ride over the bridge crossing the Schuylkill to Blair St., then left down Blair back down to where the path picks up and brings you to the beginning of the Union Canal Trail.

Thun Trail Update - September 2010

By twowheelertom in September, 2010

I've used this trail several times now, and for an unpaved trail it's not bad. In fact, the surface is more bicycle-friendly--and foot-friendly, for that matter--than Montgomery County's Perkiomen Trail, except for a couple isolated areas I will allude to below. The Thun Trail provides a unique and mostly flat bike trek from Pottstown to Reading or vice versa without having to use heavily-traveled routes 724 and 422.

Cyclists who have gotten used to the wide, paved trails in Montco may be a little stunned--or even disappointed--when they see the Thun for the first time. It's different, but in some ways that's good. The number of users here is nowhere near what it is between Valley Forge and Philly, at least not yet. There are also a lot fewer unshaded sections in Berks County than in Montgomery and Philly. While the surface is bike-friendly, its being unpaved discourages speeding, which for the most part keeps the "racing" cyclists off the trail. In the wooded areas that front the path, you'll often see deer, especially in the morning or evening. And the barriers to keep unauthorized vehicles off are bollards; those are a lot safer than gates which can cause near-head-on collisions.

There are short sections of pavement in areas where it is needed most, but a couple more wouldn't hurt either. I'm not saying pave the whole trail (good grief, no!) but a strip of asphalt or macadam would make it a lot safer and more comfortable in these areas:

1. Within the Reading city limits. Of all the municipalities the trail runs through, if any of them can afford to pave their section completely, one would think the city of Reading can. On the campus of Reading Area Community College (RACC) and near the Brentwood Trailhead, it already is paved. Bridging the gap between those two landmarks would be nice.

2. At all highway crossings. How far to extend the pavement depends on conditions at each intersection. In particular, where the trail crosses 724 near the I-176 interchange and Angstadt Lane, it has eroded so badly on the north/west side of 724 that filling it and refilling it won't do any good. A similar hazard that needs permanent repair exists about 1/4 mile from the end of the cinder portion at Gibraltar.

3. Anywhere erosion is a problem, including the two aforementioned areas.

4. Armorcast Road in Birdsboro. THIS IS BAD for bikes, and to compound it, it is not only a highway, but one that is privately owned. So don't hold your breath waiting for that one to be resurfaced. All we can do is use caution if we are going to ride our bikes here. The only way around that is to use Main Street (724), which runs parallel to Armorcast Road, from 345 (light at Rita's) to the trail crossing at the Ugly Mug.

I don't want to make it sound like this trail should be avoided--that is absolutely not so. 95% of it is fine. The cinder surface works as long as the material isn't spread too thick. The section that uses Old Schuylkill Road/River Road provides a nice break for bikes with narrow tires. If you've never rode, ran, or walked the Thun Trail, give it a try. You'll probably want to do it again.

Dog owners

By clester in August, 2009

My property backs onto the trail, I think it is great, people on bikes, on horses or just taking a stroll always say hello. I think my only complaint would be the dog poop! i see many many people walking their dogs, I have three myself, but i do not see them picknig up after them.
with an average of 30 dogs a day taking a walk in the summer it becomes very unpleasant for the residents near the trail. I pick up after mine I am sure you can too.
lets all try and keep it a nice place for everyone.

RE: Too Many Horse Pot Holes

By JeremyS in April, 2009

I would like to comment on a couple prior posts about the trail and it's users. I too am not fond of "Horse Pot Holes" and agree aquestrians should be considerate in riding single file on sections of the trail that are too narrow for other users to pass safely. However, we are all guilty of being inconsiderate at some point so if you happen upon a user(s) who is not sharing appropriately, instead of yelling please calmly explain to the user(s) how the trail should be used appropriately in consideration of others.

Regarding the surface of the trail I will say it is in good condition considering it is just spring time and all the maintenance that occurs after the winter thaw has not occured yet. The SRTS maintenance crews are making their rounds and I am sure the sections that incurred erosion from the winter will be maintained in the near future. In fact the SRTS has a volunteer Trail Keepers force that makes it's rounds on weekends to help with maintenance. You can volunteer your own time to help make the trail beautiful for all.

I ride the trail frequently to commute from home to work and back and most sections are fairly smooth for a crushed stone trail (with few exceptions noted above). I would encourage those of you who read the prior post to not become alarmed and think this trail is not a good trail to ride. Most of the people you encounter on the trail are pleasant and considerate and the trail leads to many sections or trailheads to get you where you would like to go for commuting or just for recreation.

Too Many Horse Hooves

By cbright22 in March, 2009

This trail was always my favorite for a quick 1 hour ride after work until 6 months ago. Someone galloped their horse there and now the trail is way too bumpy for a bike ride. It feels like you are on rumble strips!

Horse pot holes!

By RaleighRider in March, 2009

Today my husband and I just completed a round trip ride- Birdsboro to Pottstown. This was our first ride on this leg of the trail. We parked at the Armocast Rd trail entrance. This road does not have a street sign so we asked a local who pointed us in the right direction. As we approached the street parking we saw two horse trailers parked along the road. My first thought was, I guess it's a wide trail w/a bridal path along the side. Right from the get go we bumped along the horse "pot holes" for at least half of the ride. The trail was soft since it was a very warm early March day which resulted in an early thaw. The horse riders obviously did not consider the measures in which they were tearing up the trail. This was evident by the fact that they were riding abreast rather than in a single file. As we rode we exchanged comments w/two other groups of riders who too were annoyed by the lack of respect by the horse riders of the motto, sharing the trail. About half way to Pottstown, the trail was more firm and the remnants of horse "pot holes" was gone. At this point the trail was macadam surface and the ride was fine. The Pottstown river park is very nice and was very active w/both foot and bike traffic due to the 72 degree March weather.

Schuylkill River Trail

By in December, 2008

This is a very nice trail ,I have biked this trail at least 5-times from Birdsboro to Pottstown, You can stop at Tim's Ugly mug, about 4 miles west of Birdsboro for food & drinks. A Narrow Bridge crosses the Schuykill River at the 5 mile point.the trail ends at Riverside Park in Pottstown.Down town Pottstown is only a block and a half from the park.Pottstown has Bike lanes on the main street [ High St.] Happy trails.
T. Barron

June 2008

By Wuz314159 in June, 2008

The Schuylkill River Trail (Thun Trail) has an official, detailed website containing local maps and web pages for trailheads. http://www.schuylkillriver.org/ (Follow the Trail link on the bottom right)
The DCNR website, linked on this page, has no helpful information.
Update: Solar powered trail lighting was just installed in Reading near RACC, across the Bridge and up to the West Reading intersection.

Directions

By kevinjsmall in May, 2008

It would helpful if specific directions were given to each trail juncture. Example: Where is Pottstown is the entry point to the Thun trail? Phoenixville entry point etc. Thanks.

Update: Reading

By Wuz314159 in December, 2007

The section of trail between the Brentwood Trailhead and the trail north to Reading has been completed. The on road bypass is no longer needed.
Also, the coarse, strewn brick & rock surface from the Schuylkill River Rail bridge into Reading has just been surfaced with macadam.

Nice friendly trail

By in October, 2003

"This trail gets lots of use in the late afternoon and on weekends by families and jogers and walkers.

To make it longer to the end of the trail at Gibraltar: With your back to the trail you will see a red light to your left, go though the red light, over the river and turn left when you see the sign for the Exeter scenic river trail. The road has a wide shoulder so you can ride on the right of the white line and not be on the road. Nice shaded trail near the river. For now it dead ends at about 2.5 miles. "

For a Longer Ride

By in July, 2003

"If you are familiar with the Thun Trail from Reading to Gibraltar and want a longer ride, consider riding Old River Road (it will cross and return to 724 just before Birdsboro). Then you will take 724 east for about a quarter mile before taking Armorcast Road (this is a side street across from the Turkey Hill at 724 and 82) to the baseball field at the end.

Between the hedgerow and third base fence the grassy strip leads to a singletrack trail that widens after a few hundred yards. This trail crosses Rt. 724 two additional times (once at AD Moyers and again at Monocacy Creek Road, which can be accessed by going down a hundred yards or so -- this is easier than going up the steep embankment along 724) and ends quite suddenly in a backyard along Old Philadelphia Pike just before River Bridge Road (the Douglassville Area Bridge across from the Schuykill River).

This section from Birdsboro to Douglassville is nice and is not used much at all. There is good parking along Armorcast Road but not past that. See mapquest -- it still shows the trail as a railroad bed.

Old River Road is little used but probably not reccommended for small children as there is still some car traffic there."

Thun Trail

By in July, 2003

"I rode this trail on July 12, 2003. It was about 85 degrees and somewhat sunny -- all in all it was not a bad day. The trail is crushed gravel, with a few small hills and one slightly rough ""S"" curve.

I probably won't ride this trail anytime soon again, just because there are so many other to try first. There are several benches for stopping and taking in the scenery or just resting.

For me, the highlight of the ride was the view of the river. By my bike's calculations, the trail is about 4.3 miles. There is a small parking lot at the Gilraltar end, a larger one at the mid-point, while the best one is at the Reading end. One suggestion for this ride, bring water, it's 50/50 shade vs. sun.

Ride on and remember, leave only tire tracks."

Great for group rides

By in July, 2002

"The Thun Trail has a well packed crushed stone surface, making this a great trail for kids and groups. The trail crosses the Schulkyll river twice via railroad bridges at least 100ft over the river providing excellent views! The trail's current length is about 4.5 miles starting near Angelica Lake in Reading and proceeding as far as Gilbraltar. At the Gilbraltar end there is a nice playground and park where you can relax after your hike and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Eventually, the Thun Trail is to connect to the Schulkyll River Trail once it is brought from Valley Forge to Pottstown and the Montgomery-Berks County line.

One word of Caution. The trail does cross a highway (Route 724) at one point where cars do have some speed. If you take a group please ensure you have proper road guards and vests to remain safe."