One of several segments of multi-use trail that extend along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, the Port Richmond Trail parallels Delaware Ave. for 2 miles, connecting the neighborhood for which it is named to nearby Bridesburg.
If you're looking for either a serene journey through nature, like the K&T Trail to the north, or a bustling trip past trendy eateries, shops and historic ships and submarines that have been repurposed for museums, like the Delaware River Greenway to the south, look elsewhere. Trail users will instead pass through a section of the Port of Philadelphia, with its tank farms and pipeline hookups at the Kinder Morgan oil and petrochemical terminal, and the freight cranes and shipping crates at the Tioga Marine Terminals. If they're lucky, one or more hulking freighter or tanker ships may be berthed at these shipyards.
Moving north, trail users will pass the massive concrete structure of the old Richmond Power Plant. The coal fired generating station was closed in 1985 and scenes from the sci-fi movie "12 Monkeys" were shot there a decade later. Despite sitting idle for nearly 40 years, the plant's imposing, gothic design, topped with rusting smokestacks and pipe work remain a sight to behold.
The trail passes beneath a RR bridge immediately north of the Richmond Power Plant. The steel girders that support this bridge are clearly visible and make it look like it was constructed from a giant erector set. Freight and PATCO commuter trains regularly roll across the bridge.
The trail intersects another local bikeway, the Frankford Creek Greenway, at the intersection of Delaware Ave. and Lewis Street. It then crosses Frankford Creek on a bridge that it shares with Delaware Ave. An older bridge, which originally carried the now defunct Kensington & Tacony RR across the creek, before being repurposed to accommodate cars driving along Delaware Ave., now sits unused immediately downstream. An old traffic signal, now overgrown with vegetation, surreally sits at the north end of the abandoned bridge.
After passing beneath the Betsy Ross Bridge, a major traffic artery linking NE Philadelphia and NJ, the trail threads a route between Delaware Ave. and the route of the old rail line, passing truck terminals and a school bus lot to its northern terminus at Orthodox Street in Bridesburg.
Although the trail's route past industrial properties may not seem particularly inviting at first, it does a great job highlighting the city's heritage as one of the nation's major seaports and transportation hubs, a roll that it continues to hold to this day. There aren't any benches or other amenities on the trail itself, but Pulaski Park near the southern terminus is a great place to relax and offers spectacular views of the river. There aren't many trees along the greenway, making it very hot and sunny in the warmer months of the year,
Plans are currently in the works to link the Port Richmond Trail to the K&T Trail further north and the Delaware River Greenway to the south. Eventually, all of these segments will be joined to form a greenway that will run along most of the city's Delaware River waterfront. When this happens, the Port Richmond Trail will be incorporated into the East Coast Greenway and will also connect to the D&L Trail.