We’re living in a weird time right now—a time when “social distancing” is not only recommended, but strongly encouraged, when grocery stores’ shelves are the most empty we’ve ever seen, and when an idyllic hike in the Wissahickon is more necessary than ever before.
I’ve said it many times, but now it seems as relevant as ever: living in Roxborough and Manayunk, with its proximity to the Wissahickon, the Schuylkill River, and an overabundance of green space is, quite simply, the best. While it’s incredibly important to practice social distancing, it’s equally as important to maintain your mental and physical health, and get some fresh air in a healthy and safe way.
Combat your cabin fever by exploring these outdoor spaces (in small groups, and maintaining a 6-foot distance away from others) and getting some fresh air, plus physical activity, right here in Roxborough and Manayunk. Don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer!
Manayunk Bridge Trail: once a bridge for the Pennsylvania Railroad, it was reopened as a trail in 2015, offering incredible views of the Schuylkill River for runners, bikers, and walkers – no cars are allowed on the bridge, making the experience even better.
Cynwyd-Heritage Trail: connecting directly from the Manayunk Bridge Trail, this paved path is hilly, scenic, and perfect for a family bike ride, or just an escape from your neighborhood – it feels like you’re in another world surrounded by greenery when you’re here!
Schuylkill River Trail: starting in Center City and spanning all the way to Phoenixville, the best part of this trail starts in Manayunk, providing a wide path that’s very popular on the weekends. Stop at Riverbend Cycles or Conshohocken Brewery along the way, have a picnic in Valley Forge National Park, or just meander through the 70 miles of car-free trails.
Manayunk Towpath: running adjacent to the Manayunk Canal, this part-boardwalk, part-trail passageway along Main Street is great for a leisurely stroll after dinner, or as a connector from Fairmount Park to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Forbidden Drive: Pennsylvania named this iconic path the 2018 Trail of the Year, and for good reason. This dirt trail spans the entire length of the Wissahickon Valley Park, with multiple spots for parking, and passes numerous Wissahickon landmarks including the Valley Green Inn, Thomas Mill Covered Bridge, statues, and awesome views of the Wissahickon Creek.
Wissahickon Trails: the Wissahickon Valley Park is easily the best hub of activity in Philadelphia. At any hour of the day you’ll find couples walking their dog in the trails, mountain bikers pedaling through the woods, runners and running groups like Chasing Trail trekking along Forbidden Drive and up its hilly offshoots, and kids frolicking in the creek. The Wissahickon is often one of the top reasons people move out to the Roxborough Manayunk area.
Wissahickon Bike Path: accessible via the 100 Steps off Rochelle Ave. or right across the street from the Wissahickon Transportation Center, this paved trail is a great spot to bike, and connects to Forbidden Drive or Historic Rittenhousetown for longer explorations. If you’re into bouldering, there are a couple of great spots to set up a crash pad and climb, too!
Kelly Drive and MLK Drive: you may have heard the term “the Loop” from local runners, which refers to the 8-mile path along the Schuylkill River from the Falls Bridge down to the Art Museum and back. The paths along Kelly Drive and MLK Drive are easily accessible from Roxborough Manayunk and offer incredible views, and great training areas for covering long distances. Bonus: from April-October, the four lanes of traffic on MLK Drive are completely closed to cars, making it the perfect spot to explore every Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Leverington Cemetery: this spot is located in Central Roxborough along Ridge Avenue. The cemetery is open to the public during daytime hours. As you walk through you’ll notice a lot of names of neighborhood streets in the area. The cemetery dates back to 1645. It was almost sold to developers soon after WWII. A local family purchased the property and still operates the cemetery today.
Courtesy Stables: if you love animals, visit this spot in Andorra and the pasture at W.B. Saul High School. I bring my daughter by to see the horses regularly and they’re both great spots to visit and to take pictures.
The Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve: The Preserve on Port Royal Avenue was revitalized into a nature area and walking path by volunteers with the Friends of Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve. When you walk around the Preserve you’ll find great views of the reservoir and local wildlife. There are a couple of spots where you’ll also find views of Roxborough and Center City.