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The Perkiomen Trail provides so many interesting historical and natural sites along its 20.6-mile length that visitors may have to ignore some of the trailside distractions to reach the other end.
Created in 2003, the trail rolls down the valley of Perkiomen Creek, which may have been a reference by local American Indians to the surrounding cranberry bogs. 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 complete.
The Perkiomen Trail passes through numerous parks that feature side trails, historical buildings, museums, and periodic festivals, and it ends at a junction with the Schuylkill River Trail near Valley Forge. There’s a short climb in the vicinity of a ski resort, but otherwise the path is flat. Plenty of services are available along the route, which is open dawn–dusk. Most of the trail is crushed stone, though about 6 miles are paved at the southern end.
The Perkiomen Railroad gained popularity soon after it opened in 1868 from Oaks to Green Lane, and later to Allentown. Development surged along the line, and vacationers hopped trains bound for tourist destinations. The Reading Railroad bought the line in 1944, but passenger trains ceased running by 1955. Conrail later acquired the line, and Montgomery County bought the land in 1978.
Start your journey in the north at Morrow Pavilion in Green Lane Park, where you’ll find parking and restrooms. The trail passes Knight and Deep Creek Lakes, two of the reservoirs in this 3,400-acre park that supply water to the region. The park features 25 miles of equestrian, mountain biking, and hiking trails.
The trail leaves the park, travels alongside Deep Creek Road for 0.1 mile, crosses the creek on a stone-arch bridge that dates to 1839, and then rejoins the trail after 500 feet on Upper Ridge Road.
The path travels through forests and alongside some farm lots for the next 3 miles to the site of the Philadelphia Folk Festival (pfs.org/philadelphia-folk-festival), which takes place each August in Harleysville. In another mile, you’ll reach Spring Mount, home to a ski resort. The trail crosses the creek on a separated path on Spring Mount Road, passes through more than a mile of woods, and crosses the creek again just before Schwenksville, which dates to the 1680s. Many services and old homes are located on Main Street, which runs next to the trail through town; the Pennypacker Mills historical site across the creek features a mansion restored to the early 1900s.
The trail enters the 800-acre Central Perkiomen Valley Park about a mile later and crosses the creek twice within the next 2 miles—first about 0.5 mile after crossing Plank Road, and the second about 1.8 miles farther (0.5 mile after passing Graterford Road). Note that at the second crossing, the Perkiomen Trail makes a sharp 90-degree turn left, followed by a sharp 180-degree turn right, to take you over the waterway. Optionally, you can continue southeast immediately before the second river crossing on the 3.3-mile Skippack Trail to Evansburg State Park.
The Perkiomen Trail then passes through Rahns and Collegeville, the latter named for the Pennsylvania Female College that closed in 1880, although Ursinus College remains today.
The route continues south through residential and commercial areas, which are screened by vegetation along the railroad grade for 4.5 miles to Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. In 0.2 mile inside the park, the trail joins the Audubon Loop, which travels 2.5 miles and visits the former home and museum dedicated to famed naturalist and artist John James Audubon. The route ends in another mile, where it intersects with the Schuylkill River Trail near the confluence of Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River. The Valley Forge National Historical Park is about 3 miles away by trail.
To reach the trailhead at Green Lane Park from I-476 N, take Exit 31 to SR 63 W/Sumneytown Pike. Go 9.6 miles, and turn right onto SR 29/Gravel Pike. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto Hill Road. Then go 0.3 mile, and turn left onto Green Lane Road. Go 0.5 mile, and turn left onto the park access road. Go 0.1 mile to the parking lot, straight ahead. To find the northern endpoint, backtrack to the lot’s entrance and turn right; the endpoint is 0.7 mile farther ahead along the trail.
To reach the trailhead at Green Lane Park from I-476 S, take Exit 44 toward SR 663/Quakertown/Pottstown. Turn right onto SR 663 (signs for Pottstown/Pennsburg), and go 3.4 miles. Turn left onto Geryville Pike, and go 1.7 miles. Then turn left to stay on Geryville Pike, and go 2.2 miles. Turn right onto Hoppenville Road, go 1.4 miles, and continue onto Lumber St. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right onto SR 29 S/Gravel Pike; then turn left onto Hill Road. Go 0.2 mile, and take a slight left onto Green Lane Road. Go 0.5 mile, and turn left onto the park access road. Go 0.1 mile to the parking lot, straight ahead. To find the northern endpoint, backtrack to the lot’s entrance and turn right to go 0.7 mile farther north along the trail.
To reach the southern trailhead in Oaks from I-76, take Exit 328A toward US 202/US 422 W. Merge onto US 422 W. Go 5.3 miles, exit toward Oaks, and turn right onto Egypt Road/SR 4002. Immediately turn right onto New Mill Road, go 0.2 mile, and turn left into the trailhead parking lot. Take the Audubon Loop Trail spur at the southern side of the parking lot to the Perkiomen Trail. To find the southern endpoint, turn right and go 2 miles farther south along the trail (the creek will be on your left).
I found the campground at Green Lane, so I can combine a bike ride with having a travel trailer for my home base near the trail. I am looking for this combination in my travels.
Rode this trail for seven miles from Oaks to Collegeville. First few miles were on smooth pavement, however poor drainage results in large puddles and rivulets of water on the trail in many spots. These conditions last for days after a rainfall.
After pavement ends a short on road stretch leads to a wooded path of various surfaces. Most of the remaining trip to Collegeville was on stones, cinders, mud or a combination of all. Sharp dropoffs to river below and a couple of busy road crossings were unnerving.
Improvements to the surfaces would make this a great ride.
I have had my eye on this Trail for a few years. The reviews have been excellent and I also have been wanting to scout out the stream for potential paddle. I started on the North End (Green Lane) and headed south. Has so many reviews have captured the trail surface and surrounding terrain varies and is extremely diverse. It is interesting with how often it changes as it goes from deeply wooded sections to hop in a local throws for short stretches. Yes the 12% grade made me walk the bike for a bit. Oh yes, there was one other one. I unknowingly turned onto the Skippack Trail for about 2 mi. If you find yourself biking under a swath of power lines you made the same mistake. I still have to do the lower half of the Perkiomen and there are so many more side trails to explore. I will be back again and again.
Only discovered the trail last week and just rode it on 4/22/2018. I used a gravel/adventure bike with 35mm tires and no shocks. I did the full length, from the Lower Perkiomen Park to the Northern most part at Green Lane and then back. It's a great ride and mostly seems to follow old rail beds. Long stretches of it are flat with only slight changes in elevation. The only exception is a short, steep hill mentioned by a few others and clearly marked as you approach from either direction. At that point the trail deviates from the creek and goes up over a hill. The steepest part is paved and isn't long, probably less than an 1/8 mile.
The trail surface is inconsistent which is my reasoning for giving it four out of five stars, other reviewers have noted it as well. The trail ranges from nicely paved sections to muddy sections where they seem to be trying to figure out the drainage, to cinders and sometimes what appears to be crushed stone fill. The transitions in the surface can come about suddenly and if you're moving at a good pace they can throw you a bit. Even with 35mm tires there were a number of soft/deep gravel areas where my tires would sink in and throw the bike. I also kept hitting large chunks of rock and fill that would hop my bike a few inches to a side and send big chunks into the brush on along the trail. Weirdly, I noticed people riding road bikes with much narrower, smooth road tires and can't imagine that would be too pleasant and can't recommend trying it.
There are a number of rode crossings as noted by others but only two or so actually had any amount of busy traffic and any major ones had signaling that appeared brand new and adequate. I only found two crossings a little awkward/dangerous. The first is where you have to cross route 29 at a random place along a wall in front of some houses and it isn't an intersection. It wouldn't be a problem except that, even though it's clearly marked as a crossing, there didn't appear to be signaling and drivers don't know what to do. Some stop and wave you on while traffic from the other direction, in the other lane, may not stop or slow down at all. I didn't notice signaling requiring them to yield to the crosswalk.
Be careful there, especially if you have kids. Fortunately it's along a straight piece of road so cars won't come around a blind corner and surprise you.
The second tricky crossing was just below Green Lane at Perkiomenville. There, going north you cross an old, crumbing stone bridge and then have to ride/walk a hundred feet or so down the shoulder of the road and like the first dangerous area, you cross where there's no intersection or signal. Again, just be ready if you have kids.
There are a number of areas where it seems like they're still trying to figure out how to connect segments of the trail and although the trail is mostly well marked you will have to cut behind buildings and through alleys to find the connectors at a few places. I actually got confused coming back through Collegeville because I couldn't remember where the trail went and it looked different coming back the opposite way. It wasn't until I saw riders coming the other direction that I noticed a small sign and realized I had to cut through an alley behind a diner along a narrow area with a fence, once on it recognized where I was.
I passed a lot of people on my ride and it seems a pretty popular attraction. There were many out for a casual stroll, a run, a ride or a group outing with scouts. All along the trail are smaller parks that make good shaded stops if you need a break and as others mentioned there is a great little park about halfway between Collegeville and Schwenksville. It's just below Graterford and has new, clean restrooms.
Overall the trail weaves through some pretty picturesque areas. Do yourself a favor and stop once in a while and have a look around.
I usually link this ride with the Schuylkill River Trail, as it links up with it at Oaks, PA, and there is parking available either at the Pawlings Road trailhead along the Schuykill River Trail, or the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, where trail maps are also available at the parking lot. A good portion of the trail, after about 1.5 miles, is fine gravel or packed dirt, and goes along nicely wooded and scenic areas, which used to be a railroad. There are several road crossings in the Collegeville area that are stop light controlled. The crossing of Rte 29 is perhaps the least pleasant of the crossings, since vehicle traffic can be fast and heavy and it is not stop light controlled. Once crossed, you are on packed surfaces, and pleasant riding. There are quite a few parking areas along the trail, so with the trail map, one can easily schedule your journey as befits your skill or endurance level.
Once past Schwenksville, one does a brief climb, followed by a steep descent to the Perkiomen Creek. For me, that ends my journey on the trail and the last time I bicycled that far, it was all gravel down the slope.
My husband and I had a great day biking on this trail. We picked it up by the Collegeville diner and rode 10 miles north and then 10 miles back. It wound through multiple parks, woods and really pretty scenery. We will definitely be back.
I recently rode most of the trail from Lower Perkiomen Valley Park to Green Lane Park (roughly 18 miles each way). In comparison to the nearby Chester Valley Rail Trail the Perkiomen trail is more challenging and offers more variety. You will pass over the Perkiomen Creek multiple times, enjoy long shaded stretches and look out on a few open fields of wildflowers.
There are a fair amount of road crossings, with a few being pretty busy with no traffic signals but I had no issues crossing the roads. Many road crossings are very quiet streets. I never had any issue following the trail markings even when it breaks and you have to ride on a road for a short distance to get back on the trail. When I got to Green Lane Park I was unable to find the last two miles of the trail to Green Lane Borough but was satisfied with turning around there.
Now about the 12% grade hill: starting South and going North you will have to climb the hill on your return trip. It is a workout but fortunately there are benches at the top to take a break after your climb. I had to shift gears frequently as there are also many small inclines especially near the road crossings. There is a well maintained restroom and water fountain at the 10 mile mark, a perfect mid-way rest stop. The challenge is rewarded by interesting variety along the Perkiomen Trail!
Well kept trail with sections that vary widely, from woody to open. I don't think you can go wrong riding the length of the trail. Enjoyable with little elevation but changing scenery and riding conditions.
This trail was quite nice for a weekend morning ride. There wasn't much change in elevation so I didn't need to change gears that often. The terrain is a combination of totally paved to total gravel. Some parts were straight and flat, others were curved and hilly. There weren't any really steep hills. Part of it was very peaceful and serene in deep woods along the creek and there were very few people on the trail. Other parts were along the PECO and US Post office parking lots or along main streets. There are many spots where you need to cross a road (I did not know what a bollard was until today - it's the name for those 3 ft high yellow fence posts where the trail crosses a road). There were warning signs to stop for the bollards. The trail is fairly well marked although I did miss it a few times and had to turn around. Only about half or less of the trail was in the shade so be prepared to ride in the sun. We usually ride in Valley Green or along the Schuylkill River trail from Norristown to Audubon. This was a nice change and I would definitely do it again. We rode from the Oaks parking lot to about 2 miles before Schwenksville. There's a nice park there with very clean bathrooms and a water fountain. Great spot to turn around, about 10 miles each way.
okay after 5 years we came back to this trail ...
we started at lower perkiomen valley park ... big parking lot for users (big plus) ... need to bike/walk 0.5 miles to a bathroom (no problem, unless you really really have to go) ...... got on the trail headed towards green lane (we had planned to do a 25 mile round trip) ....
the first 5-6 miles from this point were nice BUT alot of road crossings ... an average of one a mile, never getting a chance to build up a rhythm ... however that seemed to abate once we were a mile or so past collegeville (if we go back i would start around that point and avoid the onerous road crossings) .... the trails surface randomly changed from pea sized gravel, crushed stone and pavement .... very pretty in most places -- a few icky industrial areas, but all in all a good ride
My wife (late 50's) and myself (early 60's) broke out the new hybrids this past Sunday and decided to venture up the Perkimomen Creek Trail off of the Schuylkill River Trail from where it starts just outside of the Betzwood trail head at Valley Forge.
The start of the ride was excellent as it was paved and offered a great opportunity to get the blood flowing and build into the ride gradually. A short distance along,about 3-4 miles we can upon the Upper Indian Head Rd section where we were greeted with a nice gradual climb and a 90 degree turn up some "interesting" gravel...a little loose and a bit washed out, but nun-the-less, the new Trek DS 8.6's took it all in stride.. After that the trail was a nice mix of mostly compacted gravel 80% and pavement 20%, where we could get down on the aero-bars that we had installed a maintain a good clip of around 14 to 17 mph with no problem. Just be sure to watch the tight turns as loose gravel can build up in these sections and you may feel your back-end slip a bit.
The best part was the 1/4 mile 12% grade just outside of the Spring Mtn. area, going to Perkiomenville was fun, (down hill) but the return was the best as the cardio got into high gear on the climb back up!!! Excellent!!
In a nutshell the trail offers an excellent variety for all, no road bikes to be sure, but for anyone on a hybrid or Mtn bike this is a great ride with good scenery and lots of shade to keep you cool..
Lots of rolling hills here, much more of a challenge than the usual rail-trail. Started at Green Lane Park and had a bit of a hard time finding the trail, would say to put in at Snyder trailhead below there to avoid roads. Went South to Cillegeville-Spring Mt hill is uphill traveling that direction, it is steep but only for a short distance- and had the downhill going back. Trail runs the gamut from coarse gravel to paved spots, did not see many road bikes, fair amount of horses, no recumbents. Scenery was varied, lots of bridges as you criss-cross the creek. We happened upon a charming little circus in Schwenksville along the trail- saw camels standing by the wayside!
I am a dog walker. My Beagle is a sniffer, taking her to a dog park is a complete waste of time. So we hit the trail. I am 55 and have degenerative disc disease in my lower back so I need to rest every 2/3 miles. So I like the section in Oaks with the picnic tables and the such.
But seems as though these trails are mainly for the bicycle riders, of whom think the trail belongs to them and I have no right to be out there. I wish they would maintain the grassy areas off to the side of the asphalt trail. I WISH THEY WOULD MAINTAIN THE GRASSY AREAS ALONG the SIDE of THE ASPHALT TRAIL. ALL TRAILS SHOULD HAVE ROOM FOR DOG WALKERS. I am tired of bike riders yelling at me for having my dog on the trail !!!! And I wish bike riders would WARN walkers of their approach!!!!! IF the grassy areas were maintained (this is also a gripe on the Schuylkill River Trail. ) if these areas were maintained I would be able to keep the dog out of the way of the obnoxious bike riders (not all but a lot of them are arrogant twerps) . Me and my dog have a right to be out there just as much as anyone else!! But the bike riders (some of them) don't think so.
When I think if this trail it reminds me of some of the best periods of my life. It has come to represent them in my mind. My routine was start in green lane and bike down to the end and back (34ish miles total). In 2014 I did this several times and I cannot wait to start again this year!
My first time on the trail and found it to be more challenging than the normal flat rail trails which was a nice change. Many plus's such as the ups and downs, river crossings, good amount of paved areas, being very well marked, and great scenery. Negative would be quite a few road crossings...be careful as a few have a good amount of traffic.
I started at the North end and parked in a lot located at 1125 Crusher Rd. Perkiomenville, which was right on the trail a little south of the trail head and south of where you have to ride on the road, so it was a great place to start. I rode to the end of the trail where it met the Schuylkill River Trail. I clocked a little over 17 miles each way from where I started.
I decided to give this trail a try since everyone who reviewed it had good things to say. I agree with all of them. Varied terrain, elevation, and views made this trail an A+. The only conundrum was this: I read about the infamous 12% grade hill climb, though no one said which direction elicits the climb as opposed to the descent. I was riding the entire trail out and back, so I didn't want to have to face that climb at the 35 mile mark on my way back. I took a chance and decided to go from north to south first, since that trailhead would be closer to home. I got lucky. The ascent was pretty challenging, for a hybrid bike anyway, but wow was it fun coming down on my way back!
This is definitely not your typical rails-to-trails trail. Lots of inclines, none that are too hard, but just enough to make it feel like a great workout!
One final note on parking if you're going to start at the northernmost trailhead. The map here has a "P", but there is nowhere to park. There is actually a sign at said trailhead that says "Access for bikes and pedestrians only". The trailhead is nestled between two in-town businesses. Park at the Green Lane Park Deep Creek Recreation Area. Its a huge, beautiful park with plenty of parking, and if you choose, you can ride up to the trailhead or just immediately head south for your awesome adventure.
My trail of choice...black top, gravel, hills, straights, scenery....AWSOME
Wow!! The trail has everything, flat surfaces, gravel, dirt, crushed stone and even a mountain. The views vary from creekside to little hamlets with timeless houses to fields and everything in between. Nice trail. If you incorporate it with the Schukyll River Trail it's a great day ride. Lots of facilities and places to stop for a bite or drink or repairs if needed. Plenty of other people around, safety is NOT an issue. Go for it!!
I grew up in nearby Lansdale PA but had been away overseas and in California for about 40 years returning infrequently. In the meantime I became a trail runner. Upon returning to Lansdale for my father's funeral, I went for my first run in the area on the recently opened/restored Perkiomen Trail.
As I progressed up the trail I became aware that my surroundings and the trailside Perkiomen Creek were very familiar. Then I saw the sign for Green Lane Lane and realized that by chance I had run to my Dad and my favorite fishing spot that I had not visited since he took me there when I was about 8, or about 45 years prior. It was our own spot where I usually ended up going for a skinny dip swim. Its a beautifil summer place.
I become overwhelmed with mixed emotions of grief and wonderment.
From Lower Perkiomen Valley Park going north, the scenery is beautiful for nature lovers. The trail surface could use some improvement. We recommend this trail for tires of 1 3/8" or more. Some sections have rocks of 1 inch and more. You have to look out for them and it prevents you from appreciating the nature to its full value. There were water puddles and some muddy sections. The few paved stretches are much appreciated. North of Schwenkville, the trail is more suited to mountain bikes as it is hilly and the surface is loose rocks in many spots. Going South from the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, the asphalt surface is perfect and you continue to follow a river but you encounter more buildings and roads. Still very nice.
This a very nice and mostly shaded trail that has many different trail surfaces throughout the trail. It covers a lot of ground and has a many nice stop off areas in different towns that can make the trip more pleasant if you are looking a nice day long adventure. The scenery changes often along the trail keeping it interesting the entire length of the trail.
Nice well maintained trail that follows the perkiomen most of the way. We'll be back for another visit.
During the summer, I ride this trail every week on my Specialized MTB and love it so much! I also road bike a lot, so the smooth cruising on the Perkiomen trail is relaxing and easy for a change. The scenery is beautiful and the trails are smooth and well maintained. There are stores restrooms and parks along the way that add to the fun and pleasure of the journey.
My wife and I rode our bikes from Green Lane to Collegeville, which is 12 miles. Though a hot and humid day, there was welcome shade on most of it. I'm glad we went without our 6-year-old daughter and her Trail a Bike, since there's enough ups and downs to have made it a challenge for me with the extra weight. We walked the 12% grade, which was short. High marks for Trailwinds Bike Shop, which was right on the trail. Those guys are very friendly. Also high marks for Da Vinci's restaurant, right near the trail in Collegeville. If you're looking for where to park at the trailhead in Green Lane, take my advice and drive to the parking lot SOUTH and WEST of both lakes, on the west side of Snyder Road. There's a lot there just for the trail. Yes, the trail starts by the Marlborough Elementary School and has a cool paved slope and bridge tunnel, but we drove all around and couldn't find any legal parking anywhere.
I tried this trail for the first time this week and found it to be in great shape despite the recent rain... I decided to pick it up at the halfway point and bike south and then turn around and return to my starting point... I did this to avoid the 12% grade just north of Schwenksville (and to reward myself with ice cream at Main Street Station Eatery)
The trail surface is crushed stone with occasional paved sections... even after some heavier rains in the days prior the trail was mostly dry with only a few water run off areas to be concerned about....
this trail is more up and down hilly than most of them I've been on but nothing too bad (remember I avoided the big hill to the north)... it also crossed a lot more roads than I expected... some of them quite busy...
at the north end of the trail it feeds into a large park and the trail is less well marked (and surprisingly more water hazard filled)... there were several pavilions and a port-a-potty at the north end but no local business catering to the trail users...
on the way back north I stopped at a little pizza place with trail access (and the business savvy to put a big sign on the back of their shop for the trail side)... there were a couple of places like this along the trail.. I didn't ride as far north as Schwenksville but the trail is literally in the back parking lots of many businesses so I suspect they know how to treat trail users...
there was a few bikers and runners on the trail and the north end had a lot of office workers taking their noon constitutionals on the trail... but Shawn at Tailwinds Bike Shop told me that on the weekend the trail is very busy... he also said the 12% grade is a challenge going up and a rush going down and invited me back to give it a shot...
it's a good trail with some detractors for me ... but close enough that i will be back...
I rode this trail on Sunday June 26th and had a great ride. This is a very good trail but not a great one. I saw every thing from full suspension Mt bikes to road bikes on the trail. About 80% of the trail is under a tree canape and on a hot summer sunny day that is a blessing. There were mile markers every half mile and by in large the trail is well marked. This is another family friendly trail that is very near a large population. Just below Spring Mt there is a 12% grade for about a 1/4 of a mile, not fun going up but a great ride down. There are a lot of bench's from one end of the trail to the other. The south end was much busier then the north end. The high light of the trip for me was the Pennsylvania Live Steam Railroad at mile marker 8, I am a kid at hart.
Was in town for a wedding and ,per the recommendation of a local running store, ran this trail. I ran a 9 mile section (4.5 out and back)starting at the parking area at the intersection of RTs 113 and 29 going south. I wanted a place that I could run early in the morning while still dark . After getting multiple opinions that it was safe to run in the dark I found the parking area to be tidy, porta-john reasonably clean, overpasses free of graffiti etc. The trail is mostly crushed gravel with small portions that are paved. In Collegeville, the trail is a little tricky to follow if it is both dark and not familiar, in the light while not geat signage the path is easy enough to find. It follows through wooded areas, residential, and in-town business district. There is no traffic in the very early morning. The path becomes pleasantly busy but not congested in the early morning. In this section of the trail there was a porta-john at the trail head and business district to stop if needed. The trail was relatively well maintained. A great run, and big bonus to get to run this trail while in town!
we rode this about 2 years ago (not all of it) from valley forge and liked it alike, so we went back and started from green lane......this is a very lovely trail once you get rolling....leaving from green lane is very disjointed and on the road for part of the 1st mile...afterwards it becomes the nice easy to follow trail we remembered....unfortunately the spring mount section is still under construction (as of 10/23...several weeks late as to scheduled completion) and we had to turn around, so our planned 35 mile ride turned to a mere ten.....we tooled around green lane park for some more riding....but if you're looking for a long ride, check to see if construction is completed before choosing your start point
This is a very good trail, but 1/4 of the people are rude. They will not go 1 inback of 1 and also expect you to move over.
The Perkiomen Trail is a pleasant peddle through changing scenery and surfaces...woods, towns, bridges, and fishermen (and women) in the creek, sunlight and shade, paved and cinder. There are no "Oh wow, look at that!" vistas, but it is an enjoyable ride. If you have read about the steep hill, not to fear, there is a nice bench at the top where you can catch your breath and laugh along with everyone else who gives in and walks their bike up the hill.
If you want to spend a leisurely afternoon on your bike and not go long distance, start in the Central Perkiomen Valley Park in Schwenksville and peddle south for as long as you desire and return to a picnic lunch in the park where there are restrooms and bar-b-q grills. Or, stop for lunch along the way at the Collegeville Diner; the trail passes by their front door, and enjoy the air conditioning and the food, both of which are good.
First, on directions - from the PA Turnpike, there are signs for Valley Forge but no mention of Rte422. Once off you will see signs but be diligent - the connections there are very confusing. Got on 422 north - at one point it is obviously going through the park (green all around, no exits). Then, an exit but no sign for Egypt Rd - I guessed right (whew!), first right to the huge parking lot!
Took the trail from there to Green Lane Park/Snyder Road Trailhead. At that point, all signs for Perkiomen disappear - there were roads, and a trail to the west. We decided to just turn around rather than ride on streets or hope the trail went somewhere (would be nice in the future if someone would document final trail route).
The trail is wide and overall condition was very good to excellent - small crushed stone or asphalt. Signage was excellent (I just wish I had gotten the contract to provide the plethora of "Do Not Leave the Trail" signs). Road crossings had marked crosswalks or lights.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, so many people were on the trail it was hard to ride abreast for long. Once past Schwenksville, the traffic dropped markedly. An update on the "mountain" pass north of there - yeah, its steep! The Spring Mt Rd bridge is still out (and will be out for some time!). On the return, I had hoped to take the road bypass mentioned earlier, but goofed. I **believe** the way to bypass the mountain is to use Main Street and Spring Mountain Rd (east of the river) then pick up the trail on the west side of the river (I believe the Perkiomen Path bridge is still open but do not know this for a fact). Thus, on the return, you would ignore the "Spring Mt Rd is closed" sign and continue on the trail south.
There is an earlier mention of an Ice Cream store on the trail at Schwenksville - well, it has food too - and there is a mini-mart at the gas station to the north. Lots of places to east in Collegeville too.
We had a really nice time - the trail offers varied scenery, and is well maintained.
Stolen biline: "Ride a trail, write a report"
We started the ride north to south, starting near Green Lane and ending at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. Trail is in good condition, tho there are some spots of very loose sand/gravel that are a little tricky. One of those spots is the start of a hill that has a posted 12% grade. We did avoid those hills on the return ride, thanks to the directions previously posted here by twowheelertom! Several times we ended up out on the roadway; and there wasn't a very good shoulder--particularly tricky in afternoon rush hour traffic. Lots to see along the path, and there are several nice benches for taking a break. We stopped at the Collegeville Diner for a light supper on the return trip...great place to stop. Also has a lot of places along the way for joining in and doing a shorter version of the trail if you don't feel like doing 38 miles out & back.
Unlike the Schuylkill River Trail, from which this is a lengthy spur, most of this trail is unpaved. In some ways that's good, but in other ways it's not so good. This path generally follows the path of the old Perkiomen Railroad that was abandoned in the 70's. The two biggest towns on the trail are Collegeville and Schwenksville, and both have enhanced their business districts thanks to this trail.
Deep shade makes this trail a good choice for summer usage. While there is ample room to ride two or even three abreast, the trees along the trail have matured enough to provide almost full coverage, even in the midday sun. On the other hand, in the autumn when all those leaves fall and then get wet, that could make cycling a little dicey. But if you can catch the colors before the leaves fall, it's a breathtaking sight.
From around Thanksgining to late March, there isn't enough daylight or warmth to dry out the trail. While it does remain open year-round, I for one don't like biking on it in those conditions.
From south to north, here are some notable features on the trail:
Oaks - Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. A dam helps provide scenic views of the creek and wildlife in this area. The trail is paved here.
Collegeville - There are numerous places here to rest, eat, and drink. The Collegeville Shopping Center, less than a block away on Main Street, offers even more choices.
Rahns - Trail head provides access to/from PA 113.
Graterford - Junction of Skippack Township Trail, which takes you to Palmer Park, Skippack Village, and Evansburg State Park. Perkiomen Trail is paved in this section.
Plank Road - Central Perkiomen Park.
Schwenksville - Old train station is now an ice cream stand, conveniently located to serve both trail users and traffic on PA 29/73 in town. There is also a bike shop here that is accessible from the trail.
Spring Mount - Ski and camp area nearby; old arch bridge (to be closed June 2009 for repair work). There's also a pizza place here--in the middle of nowhere! The trail goes right past it.
Perkiomenville - Trail crosses PA 29 for last time, enters Green Lane Park.
Between Schenksville and Spring Mount there are challenging grades both ways, and the unpaved surface makes it even more daunting for some. Here is how you can bypass that: From Schwenksville, where the trail turns right to cross the bridge, go OFF the trail here. Turn right at the light at Ortino's, use the shoulder of PA 29/73 for 7/10 mile, turn right at the light at Spring Mount Road. Follow this 8/10 mile to stop sign, turn left. Go past hotel and pizza place, follow trail signs to return to trail. From Spring Mount, turn right at the 3-way stop sign, take this road 8/10 mile to light at 29/73, turn left. Use shoulder of highway 7/10 mile to next light, turn left. You'll see the trail on the right, you can access it there.
I would give this trail three-and-a-half stars out of five, and here is how I would make it better:
1. If they want it to be an unpaved trail, fine. But cinders should be the surface, not crushed stone or gravel. The latter is OK for mountain bikes or comfort bikes, but not so hot for hybrids or road bikes. About 1/2 mile south of Yerkes Road (near Collegeville) there is a spot than needs attention because there are exposed rocks in the surface that could pose a flat hazard, and every time we get a heavy rain it keeps getting worse.
2. Unless it is cost-prohibitive, find a better place to run the trail between Schwenksville and Spring Mount.
I grew up in Collegeville and remember watching trains along the route in the 1960s. I am very glad to see the old right-of-way become something useful for the entire Perkiomen Valley community.
"We rode this 16 mile out and back yesterday. Two things that you might want to know if you take this ride. One, there's a hill that many casual riders will need to walk, definitely not a rails-to-trails 2%'er. It's not bad, but if you have someone how has no gears or isn't up to the hill, go a little more east to miss the hill. Second, no matter how many times you ride this trail, you must ride on the 4th Sunday afternoon of either June, July, or August. At Rahns, there's a group called the PA Live Steamers. They offer mini-steam train rides for donations once a month. The kids will absolutely love it and the oldsters will enjoy the unbelievable detail in the trains. My 4-year old said it was the best part of the trip. "
"Mu wife and i came from south Jersey to ride this trail. We happened upon it awhile back while visiting Valley Forge National Park, but at that time it wasn't completed. We got lost in Collegeville that time.
We parked at the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park off of 422 (Oaks exit). We rode towards Schwenksville. By the time we got to Bethie's Cafe we weren't too hungry so we ventured further. We turned around once we climbed the hill near the Spring Mountain ski area.
We thought it was quite a contrast that some residents along the way left out a water container and lolipops (on Cedar near Spring Mountain), while others apparently fought the trail and had it travel around their property. I most enjoyed seeing the different homes along the trail.
We decided to eat at Bethie's since it was recommended by other reviewers, but we had quite a decision since the Ice Cream Junction offered sweets too (Ice Cream Junction is a little further past Bethie's Cafe towards Green Lane).
Surprisingly we made it back to our starting point 15 minutes faster after a hearty lunch. The only tip I can offer is to get a view of the bird feeders if you eat at Bethie's.
We'll be back!"
"I just wanted to say thank you to Commissioner Merlino for supporting this trail. It is one of the nicest we've ridden in Pennsylvania. We've ridden the whole thing and enjoyed the variety along the way.
We also want people to know that biking this trail was the reason we came down from northeastern PA. On two occasions we spent a night in a motel, had several meals and bought gas, so the trail definitely contibutes economically to your area. Keep up the good work. We're looking forward to returning."
"As with all of my trail reviews, please allow me to set the stage. It's May 1, 2004, and according to the bank, it's about noon, 80 degrees, and very sunny. I've ridden this trail before, but only going west from this point. Now, I'm going to try the east leg. I parked my truck in the lower Spring Mount Ski Resort parking lot, and entered the trail at that point. The trail surface is similar to west bound leg, packed, crushed stone. The beginning part of my ride seems ok so far, meandering along the lazy river. Oops, I spoke too soon. In front of me sits a steep, curving hill. I wasn't ready for this, at least not so soon. At the top of the hill is a welcome park bench. I wasn't the only one to need it. After catching my breath, I rode on. Down the other sides, a short trip on the road, not anything major though. The trail goes past the back yards of a few homes and stores in Schwenksville. I detoured into a local bike shop (Tailwind), to say hello to the guys, then back to the trail. It seems to change from stone to a paved surface in several locations. You'll go past several parks, most with visible restrooms (just in case). One area where you're going to want your water bottle full is near the prison. The trail is not shaded, and probably for good reason. A guard told me, ""So convicts have nowhere to hide."" A little farther down the path, I came upon Bethie's Café. They're very nice, so stop in for and iced tea, I did. Well, that's as far as I went this time. After resting at Bethie's for a few minutes, I headed back..
Ride on and remember, leave only tire tracks."
"This is a nice, flat trail for biking or inline skating. However, the parking area is a hangout for perverts, who continually drive through and park and wait by their cars. "
"Officially completed on November 22, 2003, the Perkiomen Trail (PT) can now be ridden its entire length, 19 miles, without leaving the trail. As a rural rail-trail, it is unique in the Philadelphia area. The trail often winds through cuts in the surrounding rock high above the creek, which provides some great vistas. You'd swear you were miles from any urban setting, even though one is just around the corner.
Since this is a bike-hike-equestrian trail, one often meets horses and hikers, too. Beware the 1/3 mile steep hill on the northern end just north of Schwenksville. It traverses the same hills that the Spring Mt. Ski resort does, which one can see just before beginning the hill heading north from Schwenksville. Casual bikers will need to walk it.
For seniors,children and non-bikers, there is a concession in Schwenksville renting the same wheeled buggies one can see on a boardwalk ""down the shore"". See also ""A place to eat on the PT"" on this site for Bethie's Cafe. Send thanks to former Montgomery County Commissioner Mike Merino for this Trail; it was his brainchild. John Wood, Open Space Planner for the county, has done great work on it also.
The PT is worth the trip."
"We often spend our weekends riding the beautiful PT. One of our favorite resting points is Bethies Cafe, which is complete with bicycle racks, a hitching post, a picnic table, an outdoor drink vending machine and wonderful food.
My wife and I especially like the homemade breakfast specialties and warm atmosphere. Next time you are on the trail, make Bethies your resting stop!"
"Let me be up front: I love the PT. I regularly drive the 10 miles or so from nearby Chester County to ride it, even though there are plenty of other biking opportunities for me that are closer.
One of my favorite destinations on the PT is Bethie's Cafe near Graterford. I go often for a Sunday morning ride with Bethie's as the midpoint in the ride just to have breakfast there. Bethie's has two of its signs right on the PT, so you can't miss it. From either end of the PT, it is a great rest stop!"
"Let me start by setting the scene for you. It's June 25, 2003 at 5:00 p.m. and it's 95 degrees. I'm riding an old mountain bike with no suspension. My impression of the trail is that it's a great, mostly shaded, ride.
The surface is almost entirely packed gravel, so it's fairly smooth. I wouldn't think twice about bringing my wife and her comfort bike. They both fair very well on this trail. You'll cross a couple of bridges, see lots of animals, a few swimming holes, and the occasional bench for when you get tired. Just be careful when crossing the streets, as there are several, but they're not heavily traveled.
Ride on and remember, leave only tire tracks."
In late April Montgomery County opened another 2.5 mile extension to Graterford. Just 4 miles separates the northern and southern Perkiomen Trail. By the end of the year you will be able to ride off-road from Locust Street in Philadelphia to Green Lane Reservoir 45 miles away (except for a mile in Manayunk and a 1/2 mile in Shawmont).
"What a terrific trail...lots of shade, and beautiful plantings trailside. Friendly people walking and riding. Very few horses. But evidence of some :)"
"I rode the paved and unpaved portion a few days ago w/o too much difficulty on 20mm wide tires. I managed to reach the halfway part of the unpaved trail, about one mile short of Collegeville, before experiencing very loose small stone. (Southern part). Work has already begun on the Collegeville to Graterford portion. It's expected this trail will be completed in 2003. "
"The newly opened paortion of the trail from Oaks to Collegeville has two distinct faces. The Oaks end is paved and very family friendly. I passed several mothers with strollers, a couple rollerbladers and some older couples out for a fitness walk. Right around the county line the pavement gives way to crushed stone.
The crushed stone surface is rough and in many spots the stone is thick and loose, making it difficult to control your bicycle at times. This portion of the trail is only going to appeal to the true knobbies out there and not to families with children. Even walking the trail on the crushed stone is uncomfortable. But I am told this will remain as long as a certain county commissioner has his way, because he is a horse fanatic and feels pavement will preclude horses from using the trail. Someone needs to tell him that horse use on this trail is miniscule at best when compared to the numbers of cyclists and walkers of all ages that are eager to use the trail on the Collegeville end. "
"I have ridden both ends of the Perky Trail. I first rode the northern section from Spring Mount, PA, to Green Lane Park. I thought it was decent, a little rought in spots (I rode this section shortly after some heavey rain). There were a couple of very sceneic creek crossings. Once you get to Green Lane you can ride back through the park. I rode the new southern section as soon as it opened. I started at Betzwood Park which is actually part of the Schuylkill Trail; this section is over 3 miles of newly paved, very wide, fire road. Lots of bladers here and families riding so watch your speed and courtesy. This section continues into Lower Perkiomen Valley Park in Oaks where it shadows the creek and snakes back through the park's picnic area. There is access to rest rooms here and water. The paved trail ends about a half mile from the park where the Perky
Trail begins. This approximate 3 mile section is
small stone. Some areas are very loose and accumulating while sections are now packed down. I have been this a number of times now and have seen riders quit before going too far due to the loose stones. Certainly a MTB or ATB bike area though I did ride it on my Hybrid Street bike with 30mm tires. The trail is good, will be better once it settles, feels like you are going uphill most of the way, offers some nice views of the creek. It is a good ride."
"Eight miles at the southern end of the Perkiomen Trail, which tracks across the heart of Montgomery County, is now open.
The Betzwood-Collegeville section will be the second part of the 19-mile path for hikers, cyclists and equestrians to open. The northern piece, between Spring Mount and Perkiomenville, opened last fall. Officials hope to link the north and south ends by the end of next year - their deadline for opening the final stretch, from Collegeville to Spring Mount.
The mostly cinder and packed-gravel path is laid largely on the old Reading Railroad line, running along the Perkiomen Creek. At the south end, the Perkiomen Trail hooks into the 22-mile Schuylkill River Trail, which runs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Valley Forge National Historical Park."
"I was on the trail yesterday, 5/27/02. Very nice, well maintained. Will definitely return and do more of it.
I entered from the southern end and found that the Camp Rainbow parking is closed as of April, 2002. You can park behind the Spring Mountain Hotel with immediate access to the trail. Also, there is a nice big parking lot on Crusher Road, just east of trail, to access the trail there. "
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