Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Subject: RE: Places to run in Philly
What they said, and +1 for Philadelphia Runner.
A few extra pointers from another car-free runner:
On weekend mornings from April-October, all of MLK (West River) Drive in Fairmount Park is closed to automobile traffic until noon. It's the easiest and most scenic way to get out to the Belmont Plateau without crossing through too much iffiness on the way over.
An old standby is the loop from the front of Art Museum out to the Falls Bridge, across the bridge, and back, around 8.4 miles. Run up Rocky Steps as needed.
If you want some fairly flat, packed-gravel trail with no cars, try the newly resurfaced Manayunk Towpath. Catch a bus that stops at the Wissahickon Transportation Center (like the 9, which runs down Walnut Street in Center City), the run along Main Street to the start of the Towpath from the WTC (about a mile). The first part is a bit narrow and winding, but once you get past the Green Street Bridge, it really opens up.
You can trail run on the trails that branch off Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon (again, take a bus out to WTC to spare yourself the extra 10-mile out-and-back from the Walnut Street Bridge). From the WTC to the end of the Forbidden Drive gravel path and back is about 13 miles -- and you only cross traffic twice. A shady option for hotter days, but be aware that phone and GPS reception tends to drop out at several spots on the route. Look for the covered bridge as you go, and keep an eye out for the occasional pile of horse manure.
You can use the loop around Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park near Boathouse Row for a bit of hill work.
BTW, the stairway down to the Schuylkill River Trail from Walnut Street is closed right now on the south side of the street for sidewalk construction. (At Philly construction pace, it'll probably stay closed all summer unless we pay off some guys who specialize in concrete shoes.)
And if you're really feeling badass, take the 125 bus out to Valley Forge National Park Visitor Center and run the trail for 20 miles all the way back to the city -- just carry some money so you can hop on a train or a bus if you need to bail along the way.
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