Bristol Spurline Park


3 Reviews

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Bristol Spurline Park Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Bucks
Length: 2.5 miles
Trail end points: Mill Street at Old Rt. 13 and Radcliffe Street
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016803

Bristol Spurline Park Description

Since it opened as a railroad spur in the 1800s, this pretty trail has always been about connections. In 1834 the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad launched the spur to carry goods from Bristol, Pennsylvania, then a bustling little port where the Delaware division of the Pennsylvania canal system met the tidewater of the Delaware River.

The canal still exists in Bristol, but the original main line of the Philadelphia and Trenton railroad was relocated in 1882. That line became Amtrak's New York to Washington corridor, one of the most heavily traveled passenger railroad routes in the country. Conrail donated the old spur line to the town of Bristol, and the trail opened in 1980.

The path incorporates the rail corridor and some of the former canal towpath, carrying trail users to the Bristol Marsh, a unique and sensitive freshwater habitat. Traversing downtown Bristol, this residential trail eventually will provide public access to the Delaware River and waterfront at the end of Green Lane. This smooth asphalt trail also connects with nearby ball fields, grassy parks, retirement communities and an elementary school.

Parking and Trail Access

From the Pennsylvania Turnpike, take the Bristol Exit. Take Green Lane into the Borough of Bristol and turn right on Radcliffe Street; continue through the historic district to the Bristol Spurline Park parking lot at the end of the street. The trailhead is marked at the parking lot.

Bristol Spurline Park Reviews


As its name indicates, the 2.5 mile Bristol Spurline Park follows the route of an old RR track that once extended from the nearby Northeast Corridor into the heart of this town on the Delaware River just east of Philly. Comprised of a paved, multi-use trail lined with shade trees as well as benches, a playground and connections to Roosevelt State Park, the Bristol Marsh and Bristol High School, the linear park is one of many such greenways that are being built in towns and cities throughout the country. However, when the Bristol Spurline Park was originally developed on the former Conrail line in 1980, linear parks and rail trails were still a new and unusual concept. It was the third rails to trails conversion in SE PA, after the Struble Trail in Chester County and the Conewago Recreation Trail in Lancaster County, both of which were constructed only a year earlier in 1979.
The borough's then visionary investment has paid off well in the ensuing 43 years. The park's trail begins at Radcliffe Street on the borough's east side, just6 a block away from the Delaware River. It extends north, through residential neighborhoods to the intersection of Railroad and Trenton Aves. From here, it takes a sharp turn to the southwest, threading a tree-lined route between Trenton Ave. and the Northeast Corridor active RR line. The segment of the trail from here to Roosevelt State Park closely follows the RR, which is one of the most heavily used lines in the nation. Amtrack passenger trains, SEPTA commuter trains and Norfolk Southern and CSX freight trains can all be seen zipping by, safely separated from the linear park by a metal fence, making it a railfan's delight. Bristol High School, the playground and an athletic complex with football and soccer fields and a running track are also located along this section. Heading southwest, the trail runs between residential neighborhoods and Roosevelt State Park, which features basketball courts and a community garden. The state park's small network of paved trail's links the Spurline trail to the nearby, much longer D&L Trail.
After crossing Jefferson Ave., trail users will pass the Grundy Mill complex, with its 186 foot high clock tower, which is now the logo of Bucks County. Once a textile mill, the complex now houses several businesses, including a dance studio, gym, a rye whiskey distiller and the offices of an engineering firm and an environmental group monitoring the Delaware River.
Heading further southwest, the trail crosses Beaver Street and follows Old Route 13 into Bristol's historic downtown. A small piece of old RR track located in front of Grundy Towers marks the spot where Abraham Lincoln addressed the town shortly after his election in 1861, while a couple historical buildings, including the borough's municipal offices and police station as well as the old fire station can be seen just across the street. A colorful mural commemorating the 1950's adorns the side of William Penn Bank, and the shops and eateries of the downtown are just a short walk down Mill Street.
Although the Spurline Park technically ends at the intersection of Old Route 13 and Mill Street, the trail itself continues on the south side of Old Route 13 to Canal's End Road. From here, it turns south through the Bristol Marsh Preserve, ending at a small plaza at the Bristol riverfront. Although described on the borough's website as being part of the Spurline Park, this greenway is technically the southernmost segment of the D&L Trail and interpretive signage provides information on the southern terminus of Delaware & Lehigh Canal, which was once located here.
In addition to linking to the D&L Trail, which, when completed, will follow the towpath of the old canal from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre, the Spurline Park will also become part of the East Coast Greenway when it is eventually moved off-road and is also part of The Circuit, the network of greenways that will eventually span the Philly Metro Area and beyond.
My only caveat on the trail is that its asphalt surface is showing its age, meaning that cyclists can expect some bumps, and a memorial fountain located at the intersection of Old Route 13 and Beaver Street which was shut off during the Covid pandemic still hasn't been reactivated. Otherwise, the Bristol Spurline Park is a great asset for this suburban town on the Delaware River and the borough officials who conceived it in the late 70's are to be commended for their forward vision.

nice discovery

like this trail as it goes through Bristol PA. crosses several streets and you can connect to the towpath from it on Jefferson Ave in Bristol. can also ride to the end in a housing development and then ride another paved section to the river. goes behind some churches and the WAWA on Green Ln. nice easy ride, flat with some nice scenery. watch out for squirrels!

Made a point of riding it for 50th birthday

I wanted to ride my age for my 50th birthday on June 8. I rode my hybrid into Bristol from Levittown and found a short portion of the spurline park on the left, though the map showed it on the right. I rode that along the Delaware river, then got back to Radcliffe street but somehow got turned around. I finally found it though, and can say I rode the whole trail(though it's small) through Bristol before heading to the canal towpath for my trip to New Hope. I enjoyed the ride and noticed others walking their children on it and some elderly folks from the nearby Grundy towers using it to walk for exercise. It only received a 4 star rating due to it's mostly urban type setting and the poor conditions around the first section near the river. Regardless, it was a fun beginning to a long and fun day of riding which ended after 4pm and 61.66 miles of bicycling. There are some other Rails To Trails sections not too very far from us and I plan to hit them too at some point.

George Bruck Jr

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