The history of Perkiomen Trail railroad corridor extends more than 140 years. Founded shortly after the Civil War, the Perkiomen Railway Company started running from Oaks to Pennsburg in 1868. New transportation spurred development along the line, which then extended to Emmaus and the Lehigh Valley. In the 1920s the Perkiomen Valley was a favored vacation spot, and people used the railroad for access to recreation areas. The Reading Company bought the line in 1944, but a decline in recreational interests, suburban development on natural lands and the advent of the automobile as the favored form of transportation caused passenger trains on this route to cease operations by 1955.
Much of the old railroad right-of-way has been preserved as the Perkiomen Trail, a 19.5-mile multiuse trail extending from its connection with the Schuylkill River Trail
in Oaks to Green Lane Park in Green Lane. The trail passes through a rich and varied landscape, including town centers, parks and rural areas, and parallels scenic Perkiomen Creek for much of its route. Most of the trail is surfaced with cinder and packed gravel, with some paved segments. The trail is a regional access between Green Lane Park in Green Lane, Central Perkiomen Valley Park in Schwenksville and Lower Perkiomen Valley Park in Oaks, as well as two significant sites, the Mill Grove Landmark in Audubon and Pennypacker Mills Site in Schwenksville.
The trail travels through serene wooded areas and rural and suburban neighborhoods, providing an everyday escape and also a versatile community transportation route. Small businesses along the trail demonstrate its immense popularity. One highlight comes near the southern end right where the trail meets up with Schuylkill River Trail. Here you can experience Valley Forge National Historic Park. In addition to enjoying a wonderful visitor center, explore the grounds to where George Washington and the Continental Army famously retreated in the winter of 1777 1778.
To reach the Oaks trailhead, from the Pottstown Expressway (State Route 422), take the Oaks Exit (which takes you to Egypt Road) near Valley Forge National Historic Park. After exiting, head east on Egypt Road for a few hundred feet and take your first right onto New Mill Road. Continue into the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, where there is parking and trail access.
To reach the Green Lane trailhead, follow State Route 29 North past Schwenksville and bear right in Zieglerville to follow SR 29 North to Perkiomenville. Go left on Dead Creek Road and continue 0.5 mile to the trailhead in the county's Green Lane Park.