Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania. The city’s many trees, parks, and open spaces make it a haven for runners. Whether you’re looking for soft running trails or asphalt routes, the running trails in Philadelphia have something for everyone. Philadelphia’s most iconic urban running routes will take you past reminders of the city’s colonial and revolutionary past. You may even run across a bridge named after one of Philadelphia’s most famous inhabitants—Benjamin Franklin. 

Philadelphia has seen the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the constitutional convention of 1787, and served as the second U.S. national capital. But even if you’re not a history buff, Philadelphia offers runners some of the country’s most well-maintained parks, creek systems, towpaths, and bridges. Looking for someone to run with in Philadelphia? There are over 50 organized running clubs in the city and even more races embracing Philadelphia running. 

Top 10 Philadelphia Running Routes

  • Wissahikon Valley Park
  • Schuylkill River Trail
  • Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
  • The Manayunk Canal Towpath
  • Fairmount Park
  • Ben Franklin Bridge
  • Penn Park
  • Cobbs Creek Park
  • Delaware Canal Towpath (Bucks County)
  • Tyler State Park (Bucks County)

Where to Run in Philadelphia

1. Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park

The Wissahickon Valley Park is among the best places to find running trails in Philadelphia. This 1,800-acre park is located in the northwest section of Philadelphia, north of Fairmount Park. Once there, you’ll find almost 50 miles of forested terrain and soft surface running trails. Due to its varied terrain, Wissahickon Valley Park is popular among hikers, walkers, mountain bikers, and trail runners. 

2. Schuylkill River Trail

Schuylkill River Trail
Schuylkill River Trail

The 30-mile Schuylkill River Trail runs along the Schuylkill River. It stretches from Center City Philadelphia through Valley Forge National Historical Park and ends in Parker Ford, PA.  This wide, paved trail is especially popular among cyclists, runners, and walkers, drawing over 20,000 recreationists each year. There is also a grass shoulder most of the way for runners looking for a softer surface. The Schuylkill River Trail is part of the Circuit Trails: a planned network of 750 miles of Philadelphia running trails. 

3. Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River between South and Locust Streets. It’s a scenic, 2,000-foot-long pathway that extends the Schuylkill River Trail. On any given day, you’ll find pedestrians, runners, and cyclists walking or riding on the boardwalk to take in the city’s skyline on this 1.6-mile Philadelphia running route. 

To get to this route, start on the South Street Bridge and take the ramp to the paved boardwalk. Continue along the path to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Then head back the way you came. Take a moment to explore the Azalea Garden or soak up views of Boathouse Row. The Schuylkill Banks is open year-round for walking, jogging, cycling, picnics, and dog-walking. 

4. The Manayunk Canal Towpath

Manayunk Canal Towpath
Manayunk Canal Towpath

The Manayunk Canal Towpath is a charming section of the Schuylkill River Trail. This Philadelphia running trail affords runners approximately 2 miles of mixed boardwalk and compacted gravel. It is popular among Manayunk locals for walking, jogging, mountain-biking and nature watching. The towpath begins in the business district at Lock Street, running behind Main Street through Manayunk, and ends with a scenic wooded trail in the Shawmont neighborhood. After passing through Shawmont, you can connect back onto the Schuylkill River Trail and run all the way to Valley Forge. On your run, make sure to keep an eye out for old canal locks, locktender house ruins, old textile mills, and rail lines. 

5. Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park

For runners looking for a respite from city streets, but don’t want to leave the city, look no further than Fairmount Park. One of the largest urban parks in the United States, Fairmount Park contains more than 9200 acres of woodland trails. With so many trails, you can run a different route every time you enter the park. One of the most popular paths is Kelly Drive Path. For a less crowded route, try Boxer’s Trail. The park is divided by the Schuylkill River into east and west sections, which you can cross at Falls Bridge, Strawberry Mansion, or Girard. If you’re coming from the Manayunk Canal Towpath, you can hop onto Main Street and continue down to the intersection of Kelly Drive to find yourself on the Fairmount Park Trail. 

6. Ben Franklin Bridge

Ben Franklin Bridge
Ben Franklin Bridge

For an elevated run with striking skyline views, try the Ben Franklin Bridge. This run takes you to New Jersey and back for a 3-mile round trip. The Ben Franklin Bridge hosts a sky-high pedestrian walkway and takes you high above the Delaware River. Because the bridge is painted light blue, it can seem to merge with the sky during daylight hours. Don’t miss the two historic churches, St. Augustine and St. George’s, nestled at the base of the bridge. St. George’s dates to 1769 and is the oldest Methodist church in the United States. St. Augustine’s dates to 1796 and is the oldest Augustinian church in Philadelphia. 

7. Penn Park 

Penn Park
Penn Park

Stretching from Walnut Street to South Street, Penn Park is part of the University’s Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics program. It contains 24 acres of recreational sports fields and open space east of Penn’s main campus. Runners will enjoy the four track-like running paths surrounding turf fields, a tennis center, playing fields, and a multi-purpose stadium. After your run, check out the Cira Green rooftop park for fantastic skyline views.

8. Cobbs Creek Park

Cobbs Creek Park
Cobbs Creek Park

This Philadelphia Park is a 700-acre, irregularly shaped park that follows the meandering path of rocky Cobbs Creek. It stretches from City Avenue in the Overbrook Park section of the city. A paved 4-mile bike trail runs from 63rd and Market streets within the park. The paved path is popular among families and cyclists. There are also seven miles of trails that wind through the woods and lead down to Cobbs Creek. This park is home to Mount Moriah Cemetery, two golf courses, three playgrounds, and an indoor skating rink.

9. Delaware Canal Towpath (Bucks County)

Delaware Canal Towpath
Delaware Canal Towpath

The Delaware Canal Towpath gets its name from its historical use as a path trod by mule teams pulling cargo boats along the canal. Today, the 60-mile linear route is home to several wildlife and is used by runners, cyclists, and recreationists. The towpath runs from Easton to Bristol. It takes outdoor enthusiasts past farms, historic towns, and the Locktenders House in New Hope. 

10. Tyler State Park (Bucks County)

Tyler State Park
Tyler State Park

This State Park offers Philadelphia runners 1,700 acres of rural paved roads, bike paths, and equestrian and hiking trails. The park winds through Bucks County scenery made up of farmland, meadows, covered bridges, and wooded hills. For a short, steep loop, check out the Nature Trail—a more rugged trail that traverses boulders and crosses a few creeks. 

Running with Friends in Philadelphia

Sometimes it’s nice to run alone and sometimes it’s nice to run with friends. Running with others is a great way to explore the city and make new friends. Whether you’re new to the city or just visiting, the Philadelphia running community has several established running clubs. These clubs meet regularly for group runs in and around the city. 

Philadelphia running club

Philly Runners 

Established in March 2002, Philly Runners is an all-skills running club based in Center City, Philadelphia. The club is open to all runners with skill levels among members ranging from brand new runners to Olympic hopefuls.

Chasing Trail

This trail-loving Philadelphia running club is all about trail running. Runners meet regularly to run, socialize and refuel.

Monster Milers

Run with a pup! This Philadelphia running club brings dogs from local shelters on group runs, giving them exercise and community exposure while they wait to be adopted.

Fairmount Running Club

Fairmount Running Club is a community running group in Philadelphia. Their training runs are free and open to everyone. Learn more about their running schedule on their Facebook page. 

Wissahickon Wanderers

The Wissahickon Wanderers is a Philadelphia trail running club that is free and open to runners of all ability levels. This club hosts biweekly group trail runs, weekly hill repeats, and track workouts in Chestnut Hill. 

See a full list of Philadelphia running clubs published by Philadelphia Magazine, here

The Klubb App

If you want to connect with other runners one-on-one, check out the klubb app. The klubb app connects you with runners of similar abilities in your location. You can also use the app to easily schedule runs with the people you meet at a running club.

Top 3 Philadelphia Running Races

  • Rocky Race: Held in November each year, the Rocky Race is your chance to run like the champ. Run either a 5K, ten miler, or half marathon (13.1) with thousands of other runners from around the world. This race is all about channeling your inner Rocky Balboa and showing the world you can go the distance.
  • Philadelphia Marathon: People have been running marathons in Philadelphia since the 1920s. But it wasn’t until 1994 that the City of Philadelphia held a 26.2-mile race within the city limits. The Philadelphia Marathon started with 1,500 participants. It has grown to become one of the top-10 marathons in the nation. Today, the race has nearly 30,000 runners. They participate in three races: Rothman Orthopaedics 8K, AACR Philadelphia Marathon, and the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon.
  • Philly 10K: The Philly 10K is a 6.2-mile race put on by a local group of Philadelphians since 2014. The race celebrates the history, diversity, and unique neighborhood fabric of the Philadelphia running community. Run through South Philly and Center City, passing through some of Philadelphia’s most vibrant corridors and 76 city blocks.