The Manyunk Towpath is a perfect example of re-purposed historical infrastructure from Philadelphia’s industrial past. Opened in 1819, the towpath was originally where donkeys walked to pull barges carrying coal through the Manayunk canal. Now, 200 years later, it is a scenic urban trail for Philadelphians to walk and bike.
Just behind Main Street in the Manayunk neighborhood, the towpath is a mixture of boardwalk and gravel that runs for about a half mile. It is a part of the greater Schuylkill River Trail that runs for 120 miles between Philadelphia and Schuylkill County.
Along the trail, you’ll pass by some of Philadelphia’s oldest industrial buildings, now restaurants and apartments, and you’ll find plenty of art to admire – from murals to mosaics – all by local artists. Local folks like to come here to fish in the canal and walk their dogs, or just grab a coffee from one of the cafes on Main Street and sip it on a sunny bench.
You’ll notice the beautiful concrete arch bridge over the trail that has been re-purposed into a walk/bike trail as well; combine these two walks for a varied and scenic hike!
To access the Towpath in downtown Manayunk, there are entrances at both Lock Street & Main Street, and at Green Lane & Main Street, as well as a couple of additional entry points along Main.