The Best Running Spots in Philadelphia

Our five favorite runs in the region (with maps!)

Photo by Flickr user Rhys A.

Photo by Flickr user Rhys A.

In a running rut? A change of scenery might be just what you need. Here are our favorite places to run in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Have a favorite running spot we missed? Share it in the comments!


Ben Franklin Bridge

It's a toll-free trip to Jersey. The bridge is generally open during daylight hours and 1.5 miles from the entrance on the Pennsylvania side to the stairway at the end of the pedestrian walkway on the Jersey side. During sunrise or sunset, this run is sure to make you feel infinite. Do we even need to mention the views? You'll see Camden in a whole new light.

Haverford Trail

This 2.2 mile loop on the campus of Haverford College has enough quick turns, steep little hills and shady flat stretches to keep you from getting bored while doing two or three loops. It's easily accessible on foot from Lancaster Avenue in Haverford, and there's parking at the track in the center of campus, a great place to get in some speedwork.

The River Loop

Bet you didn't see this one coming: This 8.4-mile paved path along Kelly Drive to Falls Bridge and back on West River Drive is as Philly as a cheesesteak. It's super easy to get to from Center City—just toward the Art Museum on the runner-friendly Ben Franklin Parkway and conquer the Rocky Steps a few times before hitting the path. Pro tip: Lose the headphones. Speedy bikers or little ones on roller blades are easier to dodge with all senses intact.

Make it longer: Continue along the Schuylkill River Trail for an extra-long run. The distance from the Art Museum to Valley Forge is 20.5 miles. Be sure to keep some cash on hand in case of emergency. Public transportation is available back into the city.

Valley Forge Park
This one's worth the trip if you're looking for some fresh air and hills to climb. My personal favorite is Mount Misery, around a half mile hill with a 557-foot elevation gain. (Run back down and repeat. Do five times and then die.) Park at a lot just past route 252 and Gulph Road and you have easy access to the the Joseph Plump Martin Trail, a 6.6 mile grass/dirt loop that covers the main historic landmarks in the park on rolling grassy hills.

Forbidden Drive
The 5.5-mile shaded path in Wissahickon Valley Park features pretty gorges, covered bridges and Valley Green Inn. No need for the iPod, folks—the rushing water and possible horse (or horse-poop) encounter will keep things exciting enough. If you're feeling extreme, break off the main path onto a trail that snakes up the hill into the woods. A note on getting there: A paved path connects Forbidden Drive to Ridge Avenue at the confluence of Wissahickon and the Schuylkill River, or get on at the Valley Green Inn (Valley Green Road at Wissahickon). Google maps is your friend.

Make it longer: Check out the path at Pennypack Park, which is similar to Forbidden Drive's terrain but almost twice as long at 9 miles start to finish.

>> Get more running tips from Be Well Philly here.

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  • JLC 776

    My favorite is the Ridley Creek State Park trail. The main loop is just over 4.5 miles and it is absolutely gorgeous – open fields, shaded woods, a nice waterfall, and a beautiful winding river along the north end. Run it clockwise to get all of the elevation gain over with in one hill, or counterclockwise to spread it out a bit.

  • Gibson

    I thought for sure you’d miss Pennypack – nice job! Looking forward to trying a few of the others