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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).
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