Bartram’s Mile Trail
Travel the length of the Garden
The Bartram’s Mile Trail, a 1.1-mile paved path, stretches through the Garden and extends south along the river. It’s perfect for walking, running, riding your bike, or finding a spot to fish. Depending on your pace, it takes about 25 minutes to walk the trail from the future site of the Swing Bridge to the 56th Street Plaza – and you’ll see many different sections of the Garden as you go!
The Bartram’s Mile Trail is a portion of the Schuylkill River Trail, maintained in partnership with the Schuylkill River Development Corporation.
North Mile: 51st Street to Swing Bridge
This northern section of the Bartram’s Mile Trail extends from 51st Street to the future site of the Schuylkill Crossing Swing Bridge, which will connect the trail to Grays Ferry Crescent Park for pedestrians and cyclists. The North Mile is mostly flat and includes both a riverfront segment as well as a portion moving through previously industrialized land.
The future swing bridge marks the approximate western landing of the historic Gray’s Ferry: a river ferry operated by George Gray that served as the primary river crossing in the 1700s. In the early 1780s this site also housed a famous tavern, the Gray’s Ferry Tavern and Garden, known as America’s first public pleasure park, with bowers, grottoes, waterfalls, and other attractions.
The North Mile holds other reminders of the river: an old fishing pier will soon be restored by the Schuylkill River Development Corporation for public fishing access. Enjoy a picnic or a quiet moment in one of the river rooms, boat-shaped wooden overlooks, designed by artist Stacy Levy.
A 15-foot obelisk, the Newkirk Monument, anchors the north end of the Bartram’s Mile Trail. The monument was built in 1839 to celebrate the completion of the first railroad south from Philadelphia.
The land beneath the northern section of the trail was originally two high rocky hills, which were cut down in the mid-1800s to make way for the Pennsylvania Railroad. If you stand at the Newkirk Monument and look west, beyond the railroad, you can see that the houses around Grays Ferry Avenue and 49th Street are at a much higher level—the same height the cliffs once were. Out on a boat, you can still see the lower half of the two cliffs below the water.
The North Mile also includes the future home of the Concrete Cowboys stable. This partner program teaches Southwest Philadelphia students to ride and care for horses. Their program inspires the next generation of the city’s Black cowboys to build skills and confidence.
South Mile: 56th Street to 61st Street
Accessible from the 56th Street Plaza, this segment of the trail runs south along the river to 61st Street, extending about half a mile from the Garden’s southern border. Enjoy a beautiful overlook onto the Tidal Schuylkill, or check out the fishing plaza.