Recreation

Do you live your life in the fast lane or like to take things slow and easy? No matter which, the Schuylkill River will flow with you! Whether on the river or beside it, there are many ways to appreciate the river and many groups to connect with to get more involved.

Whether it be kayaking the Schuylkill River or catching a giant carp while fishing in the canal, we have something for everyone. You can head north to Schuylkill County on the Schuylkill River Trail or you can travel south to Center City Philadelphia on Kelly Drive. No matter which direction you head, Manayunk is a perfect hub of recreation, restaurants, and shopping.

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Paddling


Hidden River Outfitters

Hidden River Outfitters (HRO) is Philadelphia's premier kayaking outfitter, with tour locations in Manayunk and Center City. The group offers kayaking trips, kayaking rentals, paddle board lessons, instruction, and corporate programs. Hidden River Outfitters has been leading kayak tours on the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers in Philadelphia since 2005. They launch from Penn's Landing on the peninsula next to The Seaport Museum, the dock at Manayunk Brewing Company, and the bank of the Schuylkill River at Boat House Row. Hidden River Outfitters also offers personalized kayaking instruction classes.

Philadelphia Canoe Club

Established in 1905, the Philadelphia Canoe Club (PCC) is a dedicated group of canoeists and kayakers headquartered on the Schuylkill River. The PCC club house is located at the confluence of the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River, within the Fairmount Park System. The Philadelphia Canoe Club offers courses in both canoeing and kayaking for all skill levels. Training selections include flat and moving water canoe, touring and sea kayak, whitewater canoe and kayak, and safety and rescue. Courses follow the American Canoe Association guidelines and curricula for safety and training.

Fairmount Park Rowing Camp

Offered through the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park Rowing Camp offers young adults living in Philadelphia the chance to learn the sport of rowing. There is no fee for the rowing camp. Participants must be between the ages of 13 to 17 and must be able to pass a required swimming test. A number of sessions are offered throughout the year.

Schuylkill Navy

Founded in 1858, the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia is the oldest amateur athletic governing body in the United States. Today, the Schuylkill Navy comprises the clubs of Boathouse Row and conducts four regattas annually.

Dragon Boats

Dragon Boat Racing is the second largest sport in the world today, trailing just behind soccer. The sport dates back almost 2,000 years to the Chinese legend of Qu Yuan, who after being exiled from the land he loved, threw himself in the Milou River. In an attempt to save him, local fishermen wildly beat their drums and splashed the water with their paddles to prevent water dragons and fish from eating his body.

The standard crew of a contemporary dragon boat is around 22, including 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 steerer or tiller(helm) at the rear of the boat.

The sport has grown rapidly in popularity in the United States in recent years, and today there are over 1,200 U.S. teams. A number of teams call Philadelphia their home and practice on the Schuylkill River.

Dragon Boat USA

Dragon Boat USA has been fielding Men's, Women's and Youth dragon boat teams and competes at the world championship level. The team periodically offers classes through Mt. Airy Learning Tree and has been reaching out to local high schools to grow their youth program. They also offer team-building programs for local and nationally based companies. The team paddles from the Manayunk dock behind the Manayunk Brewing Company.

Hope Afloat

Hope Afloat USA is Philadelphia's and Pennsylvania's FIRST breast cancer survivor dragon boat racing team led by a board of breast cancer survivors. They paddle from the East Park Canoe Club.

Philadelphia Dragon Boat Racing Team

Established in 1983, the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Racing Team was originally the Philadelphia Men's Dragon Boat Racing Team, but now includes men’s, women’s and kids’ divisions, competing and training at the world championship level. The team paddles from East Park Canoe Club.

Philadelphia Flying Phoenix

The Philadelphia Flying Phoenix women's dragonboat team was founded in 2003. It is comprised of over 70 dedicated women of various ages (25 through 70), backgrounds, and athletic abilities, and has three separate divisions: competitive, recreational, and a breast cancer survivor's team. They paddle from East Park Canoe Club.

Schuylkill Dragons

The Schuylkill Dragons, founded in 2001, is the oldest continuously active women’s dragon boating team in Philadelphia. The team includes paddlers of all levels, ranging from beginners to those experienced in international competitions. They paddle from East Park Canoe Club.

Trails


Whether you hike, bike, walk, or just love the outdoors, there are many trails in the Philadelphia area for you to enjoy. The City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department manages approximately 10,500 acres of park land, one of the largest urban parks in the world. From paved paths to rugged terrain, there is plenty to explore in this beautiful corner of Pennsylvania.

Manayunk Canal Towpath

The Manayunk Canal Towpath runs from Lock Street in Manayunk to Shawmont for a distance of approximately 2 miles. A mixed trail of boardwalk and compacted gravel, the trail is best suited for off-road bikes and is a popular jogging, birding and fishing destination as well. The trail runs adjacent to the Manayunk business district, progressing to the more scenic wooded section of the trail in Shawmont, which offers a convenient jumping-off point for the Montgomery County sections of the Schuylkill Trail that run to Valley Forge and beyond.

For cyclists, Manayunk can be a destination or an excellent resting point on the Philadelphia-to-Valley Forge section of the Schuylkill River Trail. A portion of the trail incorporates the Manayunk Towpath, which parallels the canal and the Schuylkill River. Along the Towpath, visitors will find historical signage about the industrial heritage of Manayunk and its canal.

The towpath is accessible from Fairmount Park to the east and from the Schuylkill River Trail to the west. As the towpath runs through heavy industry and rural settings, its surface varies between boardwalk, gravel, and hard ground. These surfaces make the towpath practical for jogging, walking, hiking, and off-road cycling. For your convenience, rental bikes are available in Manayunk. Fishing along the towpath is also a favorite pasttime.

Visible along the towpath are rail lines, old canal locks, ruins of the lock tender's house and sluice house, old textile mills, and wildlife. Take time to enjoy historical Manayunk's "back door". The Manayunk Development Corporation is currently organizing a full restoration of the Manayunk Canal. Once the restoration is complete, it will be possible for canoes and small boats to sail through the canal as they make their way down the Schuylkill River.

Traveling along the Manayunk Towpath is one of the best ways to learn about the neighborhood's past, experience the present, and envision the future.

East Falls

There is an eight-mile loop trail from East Falls to the Art Museum that crosses the Schuylkill River at the historic Falls Bridge in East Falls. The Falls Bridge connects to Martin Luther King Drive, which is located on the west side of the Schuylkill River. Portions of Martin Luther King Drive are closed during the day on Saturdays and Sundays from May to October to accommodate recreational activities. An on-road portion of the trail begins where Kelly Drive meets Ridge Avenue and continues to the Manayunk Canal Towpath at Lock Street. Visiting the city for the day and didn't bring your bike? No big deal, you can rent one and take a ride to Manayunk for lunch!

Wissahickon Valley Park

Located in Northwest Philadelphia, the 1,800 acres of Wissahickon Valley Park are part of Philadelphia's 10,500-acre park system, one of the largest urban park systems in the world.

A lovely, wooded valley with Wissahickon Creek running through its entire seven-mile length, the Park extends from Chestnut Hill in the north to Manayunk in the southwest. Forbidden Drive, a wide gravel road closed to automobile traffic, parallels the Creek and the Park is criss-crossed by more than 50 miles of often rugged trails

- See more at: http://www.fow.org/about-park#sthash.4rwSXRPv.dpuf

The gateway to the Wissahickon Valley Park trails is located at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Ridge Avenue. The Wissahickon Valley Park offers some of the most scenic hiking and mountain biking trails in Pennsylvania. Wissahickon Creek cuts through the park, a 1,800-acre, 7-mile long forested alpine gorge that empties into the Schuylkill River. There are many bike paths and trails within the park. At the bottom of the gorge, below the hiking, mountain bike, and horse trails, popular Forbidden Drive is a mostly level, gravel path. Visit the Friends of the Wissahickon website for more information on the Wissahickon Valley Park.

A lovely, wooded valley with Wissahickon Creek running through its entire seven-mile length, the Park extends from Chestnut Hill in the north to Manayunk in the southwest. Forbidden Drive, a wide gravel road closed to automobile traffic, parallels the Creek and the Park is criss-crossed by more than 50 miles of often rugged trails. - See more at: http://www.fow.org/about-park#sthash.4rwSXRPv.dpuf

Lower Merion

Yet another option along this section of riverfront is to enjoy hiking, walking, and biking on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail, which opened in 2011 along the west side of the scenic Schuylkill River in Lower Merion Township. Lower Merion Township is committed to expanding and connecting open space, as well as connecting communities to one another and to their industrial and cultural heritage. The Cynwyd Heritage Trail, a 350-acre linear park comprised of public, private, and institutional lands, is central to this goal. It offers recreational, economic, community-building and educational opportunities to Lower Merion Township and the region. The Cynwyd Heritage Trail winds through Lower Merion, between two large cemeteries, and along the Schuylkill River, and eventually will cross over the river and into Manayunk.

Regional

The Schuylkill River Trail will eventually enable visitors to hike or bike from the headwaters of the Schuylkill River in Tuscarora Springs to the City of Philadelphia. Parts of the trail are complete from the City of Philadelphia through Montgomery County to Phoenixville in Chester County, Pottstown-Montgomery County to Reading in Berks County and a section from Hamburg in Berks County to Auburn, Schuylkill County. Currently, one can travel from the South Street Bridge in Center City to East Falls along Kelly Drive, and then after a brief on-road portion on Ridge Avenue, connect with the Manayunk Canal Towpath at Lock and Main Streets. This scenic path is a favorite recreational spot for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and rollerbladers. Varied trail surfaces in Philadelphia make some sections more conducive to certain activities. Many trail users follow an eight-mile loop from East Falls to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, circling back by way of the East Falls Bridge. Others opt to travel farther north on the trail to Valley Forge and beyond by way of the Canal Towpath segment. Beyond the Canal Towpath, the Schuylkill River Trail heads north to Pottstown. This multi-use trail has a projected length of almost 130 miles when completed, but even in its current form, it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise or commute.

The Circuit

The Circuit is a network of over 250 miles of walking and biking trail in the Greater Philadelphia Region. When complete, the Circuit will be 750 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting the region to communities, jobs, and parks. Go to their website to find your trail, learn about new segments, and help connect the Circuit. The Circuit website is a great resource to find new and exciting trails to explore or enable you to join the movement to connect the trails you already love.

Biking



Biking is a common sight in the community of Manayunk. Many cyclists ride through Manayunk daily. They may take a pit stop to eat, rest, or get a tuneup. Cycling is a huge part of Manayunk's culture because of its central location between Center City Philadelphia and Valley Forge National Historial Park along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Looking for trails to cycle on? Check out our local and regional trails.

Need a new bike, rent-a-bike, tune up, workshop, or group rides? Learn more at Human Zoom and Cadence Cycling, our cycling-focused neighborhood stores.

Our major local biking event is the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, which is held in June each year.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, one of the region's top advocates for universal bike use, is another great resource for events and news.

Nature


Philadelphia is fortunate to have one of the largest urban park systems in the country. The Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia is part of the Fairmount Park system. Whether strolling along the paved trail in East Falls or making one's way through the forested sections on the upper reaches of the canal towpath, one can witness a vast array of wildlife. The trails present a variety of developed and natural areas, including engineered environments, riparian slope forests, lowland forests, and wetlands. The Schuylkill River is home to many different species of birds, fish and turtles as well as native and invasive plants. Fishermen and birders can often be seen along the river, but many other visitors just enjoy sitting along the river and admiring nature.

Nature-Related Organizations

Friends of the Wissahickon

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Lower Merion Conservancy

Wissahickon Environmental Center

Fairmount Water Works

Geocaching

If you need an exciting new hobby that allows you to combine your love of technology with nature and exploration, geocaching is for you. Geocaching is a world-wide scavenger hunt using GPS technology. The hobby is great for people of all ages and abilities. There are caches hidden all over the world in cities and forests and everywhere in between. There are over 2,500,000 geocaches worldwide! No matter where you are, there is always a geocache to be found.

Visit Geocaching.com to learn more about this worldwide treasure hunt!

Fishing

Known for its natural beauty and historical significance, the 128-mile-long Schuylkill River offers many spots for sport fishing. The river is home to channel catfish, brown bullhead, flathead, and other varieties of catfish. Additionally, you can find yellow and white perch; American, hickory and gizzard shad; largemouth, rock, smallmouth and striped bass; and many varieties of sunfish, trout, pickerel, walleye, muskellunge and more.

You can also fish in the Manayunk Canal. This is a great spot for family fishing because of the large number of sunfish - and their competitive appetite. Sunfish, largemouth bass, and carp are the most common fish in the canal.

Please see the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website for fishing licences, rules and regulations, and general fishing information.

Art

The Schuylkill River in Manayunk and East Falls has long attracted artists and craftspeople. The beauty of the river, coupled with a thriving community, have long been an inspiration. In addition to the many artists’ studios and galleries located here, one can often see artists sketching and painting along the River. Arts festivals held annually in both communities provide a place for artists to share their work with the public.


Fishprinting at the Arts by the River festival in East Falls


The contrast of the physical and natural environments have long attracted artists to Manayunk and East Falls.

The Manayunk Arts Festival comes to Main Street Manayunk in June.


Public art also creates a vibrant landscape alongside the river and within its adjacent communities. Murals and sculpture recall and reflect local history and culture while celebrating the natural environment of the river.


A Network Arts mosaic mural in Manayunk depicts native animals.