Top Park Lists

5 spots to visit by bike in Fairmount Park

by Jonas Oesterle on May 28, 2024

In honor of National Bike Month, Fairmount Park Conservancy asked a local expert to share their favorite Philadelphia park rides with our blog readers. Thank you Jonas for your recommendations!

Happy National Bike Month! I’m Jonas Oesterle, a Philly Bike Tour Co. tour guide. 

Bicycles allow people not just to see their parks, but to experience them. That is why Philly Bike Tour Co. constructs safe and pleasant bicycle routes, including a tour in Fairmount Park. 

Today, I’m highlighting my favorite spots to visit by bike in Fairmount Park:


  1. Trails of the Centennial District

The Centennial District in West Fairmount Park is where my Fairmount Park Bike Tour is centered. There is a lot of great history to be discovered, most of it connected in some way to the Centennial Exposition of 1876. From the Smith Memorial Arch, you can ride past Memorial Hall (home to the Please Touch Museum), around Concourse Lake where turtles are usually sunbathing, and right up to the Catholic Total Abstinence Fountain. My hope is that for the Semiquincentennial Celebration in 2026, this fountain will once again flow, and small streams of water will spit from each of the 16 lions that adorn the outside. These paths are not for going fast or getting the miles in, they are for exploring.


  1. Strawberry Mansion Bridge

By taking Greenland Drive Strawberry Mansion Drive from the east or Greenland Drive from the west you can get to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge where wide boardwalks on either side provide a separate riding space and great views of the Schuylkill. This is a great place to watch a regatta, but on any other day you’ll probably be alone on these boardwalks. You may see the occasional horse (with rider) as this is also one of the favorite spots of the horses who live at Chamounix.


  1. Laurel Hill Cemetery

If you like riding hills, you’ll find them here. Laurel Hill was considered America’s first “rural cemetery” in 1836, which means it’s a recreational resource as well as somber grounds for the deceased. The fictional Adrian was buried here in the ill-considered “Balboa” installment of the Rocky franchise. Real graves you can find include Civil War hero and early Fairmount Park Commissioner George Gordon Meade and the greatest baseball announcer of all time, Phillies legend Harry Kalas.


  1. Belmont Plateau
  2. Here you can get your exercise in, riding loops of Belmont Mansion Drive and Belmont Ave. Riding up Belmont Mansion Drive is harder, but more scenic, while riding up Belmont Ave (heading north) is a gentler slope and on a dedicated bike path (use the one on the west side of the Ave). If you do the latter I call that the “back way,” then turn right onto Belmont Mansion Drive and you’ll arrive at the best skyline view of Philadelphia. The Fresh Prince told us back in 1991 that “a place called the Plateau is where everybody go.” So if you’re anybody, you should go there.


    1. Schuylkill River Trail

    This recommendation comes in fifth because the river trails are an obvious choice, but they’re also too good not to include. The 8-mile loop including the trail on both sides of the river, connected by Falls Bridge in Manayunk, is the most iconic ride in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it’s not connected at the south side due to roadwork at the MLK Drive Bridge which will last another year, but you can still ride the west river trail and find your way up to the Spring Garden Bridge via Lansdowne Drive and the 34th St bike path which runs alongside the zoo. As great as it was that MLK Drive was closed to cars for a full year, the bike path was completely repaved during that time so it’s still great riding along the river, and MLK is still automobile-free on the weekend.