Today's guest blogger is Heather Manning who lives in Bethlehem, Pa. with her partner and their sons, Lucas and Miles. Together they hike, paddle, run, swim, visit farms, and attend festivals throughout the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley area. A version of this blog originally appeared on Kids Outdoors Philadelphia, a free online community from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Biking with your kids is just one more way to get outdoors with your family and enjoy nature. If you live in the Philadelphia area or Lehigh Valley like we do, you are fortunate to have a multitude of scenic trails for family biking. Below are a few of my top picks.
Valley Forge National Historical Park, King of Prussia
This gorgeous park has more than 20 miles of trails that are perfect for family biking. As a child, I lived close enough to Valley Forge that my family would bike there a lot on the weekends and in the summer time. I have great memories of coasting down the rolling hills and stopping at the different monuments and cabins to take a look. There are plenty of picnic areas for eating and taking a rest as well as many other scenic and historical stops along the way. Valley Forge Bikes is located within the park and offers a variety of bike rentals for everyone in your family.
Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia and King of Prussia
A section of the Schuylkill River Trail runs from Schuylkill Banks in Center City Philadelphia to Valley Forge, offering more than 25 miles of scenic, paved trail used for running, walking, and biking. This is a biking excursion best suited for families with older children, as it can get fairly busy with other bikers and runners. There are also parts of this trail that take you on and across roadways so keep that in mind when deciding if your child is ready to bike this trail. When complete, the entire Schuylkill River Trail will connect Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Reading, Hamburg, and Pottsville with nearly 130 miles of multi-use trail!
Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park, Trexlertown
This 103-acre park has a 1.3-mile loop that has designated lanes for walking, cycling, and inline skating. It’s perfect for family riding, as it is paved and flat. In addition to the paved loop, there are areas for hiking, a boardwalk leading through the wetlands, and a huge sand box for kids to play in. Next to the sand box is a tricycle track for little ones to ride on.
Ironton Rail Trail, Whitehall/Coplay
Ironton Rail Trail is a great location for family biking. The loop is a little over 5 miles, with an additional segment that can be added on for extra miles. IRT is one of my family’s favorites and a location we went to frequently when my older son, Lucas was a tot. The trail is relatively flat with a few minor hills, and it’s primarily shaded and paved, making it a good location for even younger bikers. The parking area by Saylor Park has picnic benches and a playground to play on.
Ridley Creek State Park, Media
This scenic state park has a 5-mile paved trail that is a great family biking destination just 16 miles away from Center City. In addition to biking, there are plenty of other trails to explore for hiking. The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation is also located in the park and is open to the public seasonally.