The Schuylkill River Trail

The text below comes from my Philly Love Note written back in 2011. Philly Love Notes was an amazing collection of Philadelphians writing love letters to their favorite parts of the city. Having recently dug up my note, I was inspired to share more about what I love about the Greater Philadelphia region, so look for more odes to the hometown soon!


Dear Schuylkill River Trail,

Sunset on the trail, May 2016

You made me fall back in love with Philadelphia. After an absence of just over two years, I returned to my home city and moved into Brewerytown, putting me just a few blocks away from the Schuylkill River Trail. Walking this beautiful trail has become my favorite part of living in Philadelphia. No matter where I start or where I end up, a stroll along the Schuylkill always offers plenty to enjoy.


At what is now the southern tip of the trail, there is a playground that puts others to shame right next to an impressive community garden and a dog park that always seems to have plenty of pups romping around. Stroll just a bit north to where Walnut Street crosses the river and you’ll find a great spot for a picnic or, on certain nights throughout summer, for a free movie at dusk.


Continue walking north and you appreciate just how lucky we Philadelphians are to have this gem of a park along the river. The stunning view of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is enough to distract many from an almost unnoticeable spiral staircase just south of the Fairmount Waterworks that allows walkers to get a bit closer to the river and take in a bit of history (and another fantastic vista, this time of the falls) before coming back up next to the Waterworks.

On the way to Le Bus East Falls, June 2019

After passing Boat House Row, the trail opens up to allow more space for runners, bikers, pedestrians, and meanderers like me. Again, you’re treated to some stunning views as you make your way past the bleachers for watching the regatta and up toward East Falls.


Aside from the trail itself, so many of my favorite fun in Philadelphia can be found close to the Schuylkill River Trail. Whether it be a visit to the Parkway Museum District, the view of the skyline from the South Street Bridge, grabbing a bite in Brewerytown, or continuing your hike along the Wissahickon, there is no shortage of awesome just a few steps from the trail.


All that being said, I invite you, fellow lovers of this great city, to pay the Schuylkill River Trail a visit. It’s ideal for your daily run, a leisurely bike ride, a picnic, people watching, a stroll hand-in-hand with your special someone, and even the occasional drum circle. You can check out the progress of the boardwalk construction, watch the rowers practicing early in the morning, take in a movie later in the evening, or just take a moment to appreciate this little slice of nature that winds through our city.

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Verb. 1) Pertaining to the behavior of being a Wittwer. 2) Doing odd things that only Wittwers would do. 3) Catchall phrase for the thoughts and actions of Patrick Wittwer.