Pennypack Trail

Pennsylvania

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Pennypack Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Montgomery, Philadelphia
Length: 16 miles
Trail end points: Byberry Road between Reading Way and Pioneer Road (Woodmont) and Baxter Trail at Pennypack on the Delaware Park (Philadelphia)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Cinder
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032649
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Pennypack Trail Description

The Pennypack Trail travels through wooded parks in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties along Pennypack Creek, which derives its name from a local American Indian term for a slow-moving creek. History comes alive along the packed-cinder and asphalt trail as the route passes the remains of 19th-century mills and the site of a 1920s head-on train crash. The pleasant creekside views culminate in a broad vista across the Delaware River.

The northern section of the Pennypack Trail follows an old Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) commuter line that got its start as the Philadelphia & Montgomery County Railroad Company in the 1860s. It later became the Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad and then the Newtown branch of the Reading Railroad. SEPTA acquired the line in 1976 but suspended service in 1983. Montgomery County leased the corridor for $1 and opened the first section of trail in 2009. The southern section of trail traces the winding creek through Pennypack Park, which the city created as one mill after another closed in the early 1900s.

Open sunrise–sunset, the path follows a steady downhill course through wooded parkland, carved out of dense neighborhoods, to the Delaware River. Horseback riding is allowed on the Montgomery County segment between Byberry Road and Robbins Avenue. The trail is part of the Circuit Trails, a developing 800-mile urban network of trails in Greater Philadelphia, of which about 350 miles are currently complete. A short section along the Delaware River is part of the East Coast Greenway that stretches 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida.

Stretching from Byberry Road to near Rockledge Avenue, the 5.4-mile-long Montgomery County section of trail is packed cinder and passes through the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, where native plants and animals are preserved. In 0.4 mile you’ll reach Creek Road Trail, where you can take a sharp right and then another sharp right onto the 1.9-mile Pennypack Creek Trail, a footpath that leads northwest through the woods and onto Pennypack Road toward Davisville Road/State Route 2042.

About 0.6 mile past Byberry Road, you’ll pass through an area known locally as Death Gulch, where two trains collided in 1921, resulting in 27 deaths. In another 1.4 miles, you’ll find a weekend food truck at the Bryn Athyn Post Office (a former train station) and picnic area. In 0.7 mile the Welsh Road trailhead provides a midpoint location for exploring both ends of the Montgomery County section.

 Upon approaching the Moredon Road trailhead, you can opt to take a 0.6-mile gravel path called the Lorimer Park Trail to the southern section of the Penny-pack Trail in Philadelphia County. The Montgomery County section of the Pennypack Trail ends a little more than 1 mile farther south at Rockledge Avenue.

The southern segment of the trail begins on Pine Road at the edge of Pennypack Park, which the city started acquiring in 1905. The wooded route trends downhill toward the river, though some short hills are steep. The woods make this section of trail seem remote, although users will pass beneath multiple bridges carrying traffic overhead. One notable bridge you’ll cross comes 7.6 miles past Pine Road at Frankford Avenue; the stone-arch bridge built in 1697 is considered the oldest surviving road bridge in the United States. Side trails connect with adjacent neighborhoods along the route.

The last 2 miles of trail pass two prisons, Holmesburg Prison (closed) and Philadelphia House of Correction (slated for closure in 2020). Entering Pennypack on the Delaware Park, you’ll find a fishing pier as the river comes into sight. You’ll ride along the Delaware River for 0.8 mile until the trail ends at the 0.6-mile Baxter Trail, which crosses the creek toward Pleasant Hill Park and connects with bike lanes on State Road.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northern endpoint from I-95, take Exit 35 toward SR 63 W/Woodhaven Road. Merge onto SR 63 W/Woodhaven Road, and go 3.2 miles; then continue straight on Woodhaven Road another 0.2 mile. Turn left onto Evans St., and go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Byberry Road. Go 0.9 mile, and veer left to stay on Byberry Road. Go 4.4 miles, and turn left into the parking lot.


To reach the southern endpoint from I-95, take Exit 30 toward SR 73/Cottman Ave. From I-95 S turn right onto Bleigh Ave., go 420 feet, and then turn right onto State Road. From I-95 N continue onto Cottman Ave. about 390 feet, and turn right onto State Road. Go about 0.5 mile, and turn right onto Pennypack Path. Go about 0.8 mile to the parking lot. Take a spur path toward the Delaware River; it will intersect with the Pennypack Trail. Turn right to head northward. The endpoint is located about 1.3 miles farther east along the trail.

Pennypack Trail Reviews

Awesome path. Hoping for it to come up and connect to newtown rail trail for continuous trails into center city philly!

Took this trail for the first time from the Bayberry Trailhead south. It's only slightly more than 5 miles one direction, but a really nice, scenic drive along side the creek most of the way. Path is very smooth so any type of bike tire is no problem. Some slight upgrades, but really no big deal for even the average riders. Along the path on weekends there is even a food truck and some picnic tables set up for a quick bite to eat. Plus there are numerous benches along the way to stop and snack. The trailhead has a parking lot, but it is not very big. When we were there on a picture perfect Sunday afternoon, the lot was pretty full, maybe holds around 40- 50 cars. We drove from Jersey about 50 miles to get there and I plan on going back.

My wife and I love this trail. It makes you feel like you're in the Poconos, but in reality, you're still in the city. We love nature.

Accordion

This was my first time out on a PA trail other than the schuylkill in center city which is terribly congested. This trail was fairly empty barring a couple folks strolling and some dog walkers. I was able to easily connect but the wooded area was filled with way too much broken glass for my liking. I was anxious about blowing out a tire (my first ride in awhile). So I just looped near the river without issue. Would try to give the trail a go again in the spring/summer mo this.

I checked out the unpaved new extension on my thin wheels and it's fine for road bikes: crushed gravel packed down hard and the section from Moreland Park to the first trailhead is lovely. Scenic, not too busy, really quite flat and picturesque. I agree with the other reviewers that the paved section is also great but the hills are a bit tricky and the old section is much curvier. But still a terrific ride!

I rode the trail from Byberry Rd in Huntingdon Valley to the Delaware river. It is a very scenic ride with a good combination of flats in the suburban area and nice rolling hills in the transition to Philadelphia. Signage could be better, so take your phone with a good GPS app. You need to get off the trail at Lorimer Park to pick up the trail off of Pine St. just fellow the creek as it will be on your left. The bridge that crosses the creek just south of Rhawn St is closed. So, just before this bridge follow the trail to your left to Winchester Ave., make a right continue to Welsh Rd. Make another right and the entrance to the trail is 1/2 mile on your right.

Plenty of paved trails, off road trails, fishing, picnic areas, places to think etc etc. So much nature surrounded by city and suburbia. Go out and enjoy it!

Important Note: MOST of this trail is NOT a rail trail and so it has hills a couple of which are steep.
Also the trail bridge across the creek at Rhawn Street is still closed but a detour around it using streets is doable and I got back on the trail at Frankford Ave and rode all the way to the Delaware River.
Lorimer Park is a good starting location as there is a Park Ranger office there and real bathrooms.

Got in 40 minutes on the bike. What we saw was very pleasant.

But the bridge is out at Shawn Street so we could go no further Very disappointing. We came home hoping to google and find out what the story is on the bridge closure but got no where.

Lovely, well maintained trail with views of the river and a few classic stone buildings and bridges. Nice packed grit surface but most wasn't paved. We were a little frustrated with having a 12 mile ride instead of the 28 mile ride as we were unable to find the southern segment that starts at Pine Street and goes to the Delaware river. Better trail markings are needed and perhaps a better written description of the trail to help newbies cross the gap between the two trail segments.

The Philadelphia Trail Club enjoys hiking Pennypack every once in a while and will do the new Pennypack Trail again this June. Guests are welcome. Go to our website for more details: philadelphiatrailclub.org

Parked aon the street across from the historical Homesburg prison at the trailhead...the first portion of the trail seems unattended and is not paved but s hard packed dirt. This portion is about 1/2 mile and outlets to a small commercial street which is about a 1/2 mile. You pass a stinky unappealing horse stable and end up at a busy intersection. Cross the intersection and you have two options. To the right is the paved path and to the left is the single track. Both trails are in great shape and very scenic. The single track consist of hard packed dirt with stumps and rocks with decent rise. This trail is fluid and a lot of fun. If you are lucky you will find the nice wooden bench, the meditation bench and the huge 80ft rock wall. The paved trail is a multi-use about 5-6ft wide in good physical shape. This trail becomes busier as you continue into the suburbs with walkers and runners but seems to have enough room for all. Some of the encounters will be people walking pups, people riding horses, wildlife, bridges and some historical relics...I suggest riding the single track out and paved back to really get the true value of your ride.

Rode this trail from the Delaware river to the west terminus and back. Total of about 32.7 miles. We did not figure out how to efficiently connect the two segments, but it was easy enough to ride on small streets between the two.

This trail is very well maintained. It is fairly busy in spots due to local peds, but never overcrowded.

Riding this trail during the fall leaf change is AMAZING. Wife took tons of pictures. We will come back often.

Just moved to the Northeast from Fishtown. I use to take my dog to Penn Treaty Park every day. At first I wasn't much into PennyPack Park until I found the trails behind the Environmental Center. We love following the unpaved paths down to the creek. It's quite an adventure. The climb back up the hill is great exercise. I just wish there was a hiking group specific to Pennypack Park. I would love to hike with a group. I don't always feel safe by myself. Especially during the week. If anyone knows a group who hikes through Pennypack park on a frequent basis please let me know!

Live nearby, have been on several parts of the trail. Very nice on any section!

I walked from the northern end at Byberry rd today, to the railroad tracks near Huntingdon Pike and back. This trail is a real gem and I'm looking forward to seeing more or it.It looks like a parking lot is being built at the Byberry Rd trailhead. New "Pennypack Trail" signs are up at road crossings and the new bridge at Terwood Rd is finished and open.Next time out, I'll go to Pine Rd.

We drove an hour to get to this trail. It was worth the drive. Trail offer both challenge hills and smooth ride. The scenery is great. We had many stops to take pictures. Highly recommend this trail. It’s definitely our favorite so far.

I recently moved to the area and live within a mile of the Pine Road entrance. I run the path, I mountain bike the trails on a regular basis year round. The park is well maintained. I have been studying the extensive local history. From an early Swedish fort built in the 1640's, to the 18th and 19th century lined with mill towns, to the 20th century conversion to an urban park, the story is long and interesting. Oh and the oldest bridge in America crosses the creek at Frankford Avenue. Commissioned by William Penn himself in 1697. So much history there. In all my travels I haven't had any issues with any sketchy characters. Not sure what some of the other reviewers are talking about. I have always felt safe.

This is my first time on this trail. The scenery is beautiful, wooded & shady perfect for s hot day like today. There's a significant amount of gear changing which I like. My only gripe is the trail isn't marked well getting from Abington to Pine Road.

I love Pennypack. So many memories. I learned to swim in the creek when there were life-guards in 1951. I've been riding my bike on the trails since I was 5 years old. After they paved some of the trails, it became quite crowded, but still fun. I'm a few months shy of my 70th birthday and still enjoy cycling through this Philadelphia Treasure.

This trail is more like a Greenway then a Rails to Trails. With that side I am not a big fan of Greenways but it is a great ride. It is hard to believe that you are so close to such a big urban setting. It is a beautiful setting and I think it is under used.

What a great trail, nestled into the heart of the city! It combined rocky terrain with rolling woods, while following a gorgeous stream.

I did a very early morning ride, starting at sun up, and started from Pine Street to the Delaware River. The scenery was fantastic with plenty of wildlife (about a dozen deer along the water's edge), fishermen, and frantic squirrels preparing for winter.

The trail seemed to be in great condition with very few rough spots. My only complaint was the limited trail markings and directions. With all the side trails and the main trail having a barricade blocking access across a bridge, it can be quite confusing. I had to stop on a few occasions to ask directions, but there were plenty of walkers and joggers and all of them very pleasant.

Great trail. The further north you get the bigger the hills get. There's more entrances and parking then this trail site says so you can start almost anywhere. There's some people traffic but nothing you won't be able toanage.

I was so sad to read the previous review. Sounds like that reviewer happened to have a really rough day. In contrast, I've ridden this trail perhaps 30 times since moving to the area a few years ago, and for about half of those rides I pulled my daughter (who just turned three years old) in a Burley behind me.

In all those trips, I never felt unsafe, never noticed terrible trail maintenance, and certainly never felt a need to become a member of a gang. (???) There are parts where the signage isn't great (crossing Torresdale Ave and crossing State Rd) so riders new to the trail should check ahead about crossing those streets. But overall, this is a lovely, hilly ride, with a great "payoff" when you reach the beautiful Delaware River section.

Of all the paths that I have rode, worst trail that I have been on. I felt like I needed a gun. The path was not taken care of and after riding 2 miles the path was closed due to fallen trees or dead bodies I wasn't waiting around to see. Who ever should be maintaining this path should be ashamed.I drove an hour to get to this path, ruining my sunday.

I rode this trail for the first time today. I started at Pine Road and rode to Winchester Ave entrance. The Pine Road entrance has parking, bathrooms and a food truck there as well. It was a really good ride and challenging ride. The trail was clear (no washouts). There were a lot of hill which add to the ride and workout. There were a lot of walkers, runners, people with dogs and other bike riders on the trail. It did not feel unsafe because there was someone always round. But if you would like to ride with less people..definitely go early. I got there around 11:30 am.

I recommend you checking it out.

Overall, a good trail that tends to be under utilized. If you don't live nearby, better to park at Pine Road and go east. (edited by TrailLink staff for inappropriate content) If you do go past Frankford Ave, be aware that the trail is flood prone in that area nearest to the Delaware.

I live in the Greater Northeast & let me tell you if you want to have alot of fun, go to Pennypack Park! There you'll find so much to do and see, Geese, Birds of all types Large odd shaped rocks etc. The trails are somewhat hilly and challenging for most people, but it's really alot of fun. During the summer the park hosts Free concerts near The entrance at Welsh Rd & Cresco Street. Come on down, you'll have a great time!

As a visiting mid-westerner, this was my first time cycling alone in this area, so I appreciated how well used this trail was, mid-afternoon, late August. Heavily shaded most of the miles I covered between Pine Rd. and Bustleton Ave. Very winding and sometimes hilly, made me hug the right, so as not to run someone down on a blind curve. I always signaled my approach, but strolling pedestrians aren't too good about keeping to the right. Beautiful scenery: huge old trees, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, rocky Pennypack Creek, picturesque bridges.

Recently discovered this one. Beautiful ride, and enjoyable terrain.

" Pennypack is a great jogging/biking trail. West of the boulevard is safer than east of the blvd. Whatever direction you go, it's fun. Philly receives heavy criticism for many things, but give the city a lot of credit for Pennypack."

"Riding this trail, at least on the northern section, is like riding a roller coaster. It’s a very hilly section and some of the hills are steep. The cool thing is that with the exception of one or two hills, which are very challenging to climb, after descending one hill, it only requires moderate peddling to get up the next one. Then it’s time for another decent. Don’t ride into Pennypack Creek by accident!

Very beautiful scenery. This trail winds along a nice, meandering creek. I rode from the upper end of this trail, south 6 miles. I must agree with another reviewer that after riding 5 miles south, some shady characters appear on the trail. They’re not the kind of people that would steal your bike, I hope, but they will make you feel uneasy if you’re not used to Philadelphia. Therefore, I recommend riding from the north end of the trail, south 5 miles to the massive overpass and then turn around for a 10 mile roundtrip.

After about 4 miles, the trail flattens out and the scenery is pretty nice. By the way, the whole trail is paved, so 10 miles is very easy to do.

Definitely park at the north end of the park (pictured), across Pine Road from Fox Chase Farm (Butler Twp Park). Plenty of parking here with bathrooms and a food concession on Pine Road. Nice people on the north end of this trail."

I ran in Pennypack during my four years of college. The trail has been re-paved in the last three years. There's some fantastic scenery along the trail. Watch yourself if you're running east of boulevard -- there are some shady characters there. West of boulevard the trail is very hilly and beautiful.

I jogged in Pennypack for 11 years while living in Philadelphia. The city has much improved the paved trail in the last two years. West from Roosevelt Boulevard the trail is hilly and very scenic. East from Roosevelt Boulevard the trail is more flat. It's hard to believe you're in Philly when you're in the park. Be careful if you're in the park after dark.

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