Radnor Trail

Pennsylvania

Radnor Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Delaware
Length: 2.41 miles
Trail end points: Sugartown Rd. and S. Radnor Chester Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6217774
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Radnor Trail Description

This 2.4-mile paved trail provides a quiet, scenic escape northwest of Philadelphia, from Encke Park at Radnor-Chester Road to the shopping center at Sugartown Road and Route 30. The trail travels mostly through wooded areas, passes near local parks and is lined with several benches.

Founded in 1902, the Philadelphia and Western Railway Company (P&W) was intended to be part of Jay Gould's proposed intercontinental electric railway. Gould's grand and progressive plan was scaled back, as was the route of the P&W Trains, featuring luxurious, elaborately appointed cars. It once traveled from Philadelphia's 69th Street Station to suburban Strafford. For the first few months, the trains ran every quarter hour, with the full route taking a half hour. The line remained active until 1956, when it was replaced with bus service.

In 2005 Radnor Township celebrated the opening of the multi-purpose Radnor Trail. Running through residential areas, the trail provides a popular off-road route to retail centers and schools.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the trailhead from Interstate 476, take Exit 13 onto Route 30 West. Continue and turn left onto Radnor-Chester Road. Continue and turn right onto Conestoga Road. Proceed on Conestoga Road to trail parking on your left, near the intersection with Brookside Avenue.

Radnor Trail Reviews

Best for fitness outings, dog walks, or leisurely strolls. Because the path is paved, it's dependable throughout the year, save for blizzards. Parking is not plentiful.

This trail is mildly graded, and is wonderful for a 4-5 mile, slightly challenging run. On the east end and going west from the beginning, there is an elevation of about a mile, not steep, but it climbs gradually. You will get a workout. From there, it flattens and then declines. A water fountain and restroom is available about 2/3 of the way in. Plenty of parking at points along the way, either on Conestoga, at the Wayne Art Center (after 5 PM) or the dog park at West Wayne avenue.

Even though this is a very short trail, I enjoyed it thorough particularly since I am a visitor to the area. I biked this with a friend on a Sunday morning and as others have stated in their reviews, it IS very busy. The trail is very wide with a smooth as glass paved surface with a very shaded canopy of trees. There are NO at grade road crossings which means that you don't have to worry about automobile traffic. In the short span of 2.41 miles, we crossed over 7 bridges and each one was marked with signage to indicate the name of the road under the bridge. Other historical markers were also present along the trail.

NOTE: This trail has some grades on it. If you plan on riding this trail round trip and wish to bike most of the trail uphill first, then I would park at the Conestoga Trailhead. You will be biking uphill from this trailhead in both the eastward and westward directions. In other words, the Conestoga Trailhead sits in the valley. You have .6 miles to the east end of the trail at Radnor-Chester Rd from this trailhead and you have 1.8 miles to the west end.

If I lived in the area, I would frequent this trail often for walking, roller blading, or running, but it is too short for getting any type of workout on a bike; especially with all the congestion. But, I would definitely bike it again if I were to visit the area in the future because I found it to be a very pretty trail.

Accordion

Built on an old RR grade that was initially envisioned as part of a line that would have stretched all the way to San Francisco, but instead ended serving the more modest purpose of providing trolley service from Center City Philadelphia to the western suburbs, the Radnor Trail today is a superb example of a suburban greenway.

Despite the fact that trolley service ceased way back in the 50's, the bridges along the line remained intact and were restored when the trail was constructed in 2005. The result is a paved, 10-foot wide trail that does not have any grade-level crossings on its nearly 3-mile length between Sugartown and Radnor-Chester roads. It is perfect for use for cyclists, hikers, joggers and people with children or pets, and is extremely popular with locals, especially in the warmer months of the year.

Major attractions along the trail include historical signs interpreting former sites of stations and other infrastructure, easy access to the Wayne Art Institute and Enkne and Friends of the Radnor Trails parks and lush woodlands that provide ample shade in the spring and summer. Other attractions, including the Chanticleer Gardens and downtown Wayne, with its numerous shops and cafes, are nearby. Although a chemical toilet at the Conestoga Road trailhead is the sole restroom facility on the trail, there are flush toilets available at Friends of the Radnor Trails Park.

Not surprisingly, there are plans to extend this popular trail in the near future. Short-term plans involve extending the eastern terminus of the trail past Radnor-Chester Road into the Martha Brown Woods, while longer-range goals include extensions northwest towards the Chester Valley Trail and Valley Forge and southeast to the Heinz Reserve and Center City, integrating the trail into "The Circuit."

Moved into our home 3 years ago and decided to buy a bike and start riding the bike trail. Fell in love with the trail! Ride it atleast 5 days a week now! Definitely recommend this trail to everyone for biking and hiking.

This is one of my favorite trails. Paved and level, it's great for walking. Pet traffic is mildly annoying, but not a deterrent. Beautiful and serene trail through The Main line

I remember as a young boy as my mother drove me to school along Lancaster Pike seeing the embankment
of the old Villanova/Strafford trolly line littered with old ties in the snow and then passing under the bridge over Sproal Rd. just after passing under the P&W line- then later passing under the V/S line again where Conestoga Rd. turns towards Wayne. The line was only recently abandoned a few years before, but I always hoped my father would take me walking along the old right-of-way. I never realized until many years later the spur only went 2.4 miles, and finally three years ago I got to walk along most of the trail from Strafford to Conestoga Rd. (never did get the final half mile)- But wish they could continue the trail all the way to Sproal Rd. with a bridge across the ramps to I-476. Generally I like to ride, but 2.4 miles is too short to lead a bike group for a days ride. None the less I have great memories as a child growing up on Lee Circle with the P&W passing right behind our home. Thanks-

It really would be nice if the RTC would include at least some railroad history of the trails. This is the long abandoned Stafford branch of the Philadelphia and Western RR. This was an interurban line with trolleys using outside third rail for electrical pickup. It was originally intended to go from the 69th Street Elevated terminal in Philadelphia and extend all the way to Pittsburgh and compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was only built as far as Strafford, PA where the trail ends (Sugartown Rd.) Another branch was built to Norristown, PA, which continues to be used today by SEPTA as the Norristown High Speed Line, aka Route 100, previously known as Route W prior to the SEPTA takeover of the Red Arrow transit.

Agree with aford's review. The Radnor trail is a nice but it's too crowded with pedestrian traffic and pets on long leashes. Also, it's too short for anything worthwhile for almost any cyclist and there's no parking at either end of this short trail. The Radnor trail seems to have been developed for the local residents with little thought or concession made to commuters and I think they like it that way. Bottom line... there are better choices for cyclists.

Agree with aford's review. The Radnor trail is a nice but it's too crowded with pedestrian traffic and pets on long leashes. Also, it's too short for anything worthwhile for almost any cyclist and there's no parking at either end of this short trail. The Radnor trail seems to have been developed for the local residents with little thought or concession made to commuters and I think they like it that way. Bottom line... there are better choices for cyclists.

This trail is pretty but very crowded with dog walkers, casual walkers and families out for a stroll. It is very difficult to navigate your bike around all this traffic. Stay away if you want to go even a little bit fast.

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