Gaining Mileage: Nine New and Upcoming Circuit Trails
Authored By: The Circuit Trails
The Circuit Trails network is one of America’s largest trail networks, extending nearly 380 miles across nine counties in the Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region. In the past decade, the Circuit Trails has added more than 130 miles of trail, creating new spaces within communities for people to exercise, recreate, commute, connect and relax.
Check out some of the most recent additions to the Circuit Trails that are ready for you to explore!
Photo courtesy of the Friends of Upper Darby Trails
At the end of May, the new bridge along the Darby Creek Trail connecting Swedish Cabin and Gillespie Park opened. The bridge adds .08 miles to the overall network, but establishes a link between two segments of the Darby Creek Trail in Drexel Hill to create a 1.2-mile continuous trail. Another bridge crossing is in-progress along the trail, which will connect the 1.2-mile section with another .34-miles of trail.
Photo by Kelly Cofrancisco
After much anticipation, the 3.8-mile extension of the Chester Valley Trail opened in March 2023. The new segment links the existing 14.5-mile portion of the Chester Valley Trail, which currently runs from Exton to King of Prussia, then to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown, connecting the gap between Chester and Montgomery counties. As part of the trail expansion, two multi-use bridges were added at South Gulph Road and Henderson Road and two existing bridges were improved. These upgrades provide safer and more accessible crossings for trail users.
In November, Burlington County celebrated the opening of the 2.2 miles of multi-use Arney’s Mount Trail, highest hill in South Jersey. The new trail links with the existing trail that connects into the wooded hill. In the future, the trail will extend to the Kinkora Trail to the north and the Rancocas Creek Greenway Trails to the south that are currently existing.
Photo by Daniel Paschall
The first segment of the Rancocas Greenway Trail opened in September 2022. The 4-mile segment runs along the Rancocas Creek from Amico Island and Pennington Park in New Jersey. Future plans include extending the trail to 30 total miles from the creek’s confluence with the Delaware River to its headwaters near the Burlington-Ocean County border. The trail is perfect for hiking, running and biking, and it provides a much-needed connection between neighborhoods, schools and parks.
Photo by Alyssa Zinar
A significant portion of the Delaware River Trail between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street was completed in Spring 2022, providing an off-road option for travelers along Columbus Boulevard. The trail currently spans 3 miles and offers access to restaurants and waterfront recreational activities. Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is actively pursuing acquisition, design and construction funding to extend the trail north to Allegheny Avenue and south to Oregon Avenue.
Photo courtesy of Bucks County Planning Commission
The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Newtown Rail Trail – Phase 1 was held in the Spring of 2022. The 2.54-mile trail, which runs from Bristol Rd to County Line Rd in Upper Southampton, established a highly anticipated connection between Bucks and Montgomery counties. When complete, the Newtown Rail Trail will be a 25-mile continuous off-road trail from Newtown to the Delaware river in Holmesburg.
But that’s not all, there are more than 73 miles of trails in progress right now! Here’s just a few of the exciting upcoming additions to the Circuit Trails:
Parkside Cynwyd Trail
Construction is expected to begin later this year on the Parkside Cynwyd Trail, which will connect users between Lower Merion Township and West Philadelphia, providing an exciting new link for the Circuit Trails from the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
K&T Trail Extension
The K&T Trail Extension broke ground in September 2022. The new segment will connect Lardner’s Point Park at the base of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to the Tacony Boat Launch, adding 0.63 miles to the network and closing a critical trail gap.
Spring Garden Street Connector
A major funding announcement in August 2022 from the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth and the William Penn Foundation made it possible to kick off the design of the Spring Garden Street Connector. This new trail will provide an important link from river to river in Philadelphia, connecting the Schuylkill River Trail and the Delaware River Trail, making it easier than ever for users to explore the Circuit Trails network and navigate the city.
The Circuit Trails network is growing, but there’s more work to be done. The Circuit Trails Coalition has set an ambitious goal of completing 500 miles of trails by 2025. Achieving this goal will require continued investment and advocacy from individuals and organizations across the region. If trails are important to you, take a minute to get involved by sending a letter to your county commissioners. Your support can help ensure that the Circuit Trails network continues to grow!
If you enjoy trails and being outdoors, consider getting involved and advocating for the continued expansion of our region’s trails. To stay up to date about all things happening #OnTheCircuit, sign up for our email list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.