Monday, July 27, 2015

10 Ways to Celebrate the Schuylkill River Trail's Designation as Best Urban Trail

The Schuylkill River Trail came in first place in USA Today's 10 Best Reader's Choice Awards, beating out 20 other trails from around the country. We couldn't be happier, and if you use the trail you probably want to celebrate the trail's newest honor. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Explore the trail: Sure, the SRT was named best urban trail, but what makes it so terrific is the varied landscape it traverses. So take an hour or two to get to know a different section of the trail. Ride from Pottstown to Reading, for example. Or take a day trip up to Hamburg and ride six miles (12, round trip) on the very scenic section known as the Bartram Section. Visit our website at for maps and trail head locations. Or pick

2. Take a walk on the Boardwalk: The Schuylkill River Boardwalk (pictured at top) is the trail's newest amenity. Built to extend the trail in Philadelphia past Locust Street, this 2,000-foot long structure allows trail users to literally walk, ride or jog on top of the water. This beautiful addition to the trail opened last fall and has been extremely popular. If you haven't visited it, now's a great time to see one of the Best Urban Trail's best urban features.

3. Pick up a Free Trail Map: Our popular, full-color, accordion-style Schuylkill River Trail Brochures area available at trail heads and other visitor locations. The map shows completed, on-road and planned sections of the entire trail. Click here for a list of sites carrying the maps
 4.  Bike the Trail: If you haven't ridden on the trail, you're missing out. The section from Phoenixville to Philadelphia is mostly paved, and it's flat, making for a nice, easy ride. The Chester County piece, from Phoenixville to Parkerford, is gravel and shady. And the Pottstown to Reading section is also mostly gravel and tree canopied, with a paved piece in Pottstown. Wherever you ride, we can pretty much guarantee a fun and often peaceful experience.

5. Borrow a bike:  In Pottstown, Phoenixville and Hamburg, you can take advantage of our completely free bike share, Bike Pottstown and Bike Schuylkill to take a ride on the trail. The program's signature yellow cruisers (above) are available to anyone age 16 or older at absolutely no cost, and you can use them for an entire day if you want. Visit for more details.

6. Learn about the Trail: Did you know, for example, that the trail will one day total 130 miles? Today, there are about 60 miles complete. It is being built in sections by a number of partners who own and maintain various sections of the trail. You can learn more by visiting
Trail Ambassadors on the Trail's Thun Section in Berks Co.
7. Volunteer!: In Berks and Schuylkill Counties, the trail is managed and maintained by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, which relies on Trailkeepers to help with upkeep and Trail Ambassadors to assist trail users. In fact, volunteers play a key role along most sections of the trail. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

8. Become a Trail Advocate: It takes many organizations to build the trail, and those organizations seek support in many different ways. You can learn more about Greater Philadelphia's Regional Trail Network at  Or to learn about other organizations that build and maintain the trail here.

9. Experience the Schuylkill River Water Trail:  The Schuylkill River has many areas that are great for kayaking and canoeing. The Schuylkill River Water Trail Guide pinpoints access points and hazards to make recreational boating on the river safe and accessible. Or take a guided paddle with Take it Outdoors Adventures, which offers kayak rentals, shuttles and regular kayaking events on the river.

10. Celebrate with an SRT Ale!: This spring, Sly Fox Brewery debuted its seasonal Ale for the Trail, known as SRT Ale. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Schuylkill River Heritage Area in support of the trail. So after you've ridden, hiked, jogged you can top off the day with an SRT Ale and know that you've done your part to support the trail.