When Muhammad Ali wanted to challenge Joe Frazier, he came to the Boxers’ Trail because he knew he could find Frazier there. Even today, young boxers still jog along the trail.
Restoration of the Boxers’ Trail was the first project done in partnership between Fairmount Park and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. It stands as one of the key recommendations contained in the Fairmount (East/West) Park Trail Master Plan completed for the Fairmount Park Commission in April 2001. The process of preparing the master plan included public meetings and workshops to solicit community input into the selection of projects. It was during this process that the Boxers’ Trail emerged as an area of special concern and interest to the community.
Before the start of the project, the Boxers’ Trail was a narrow, unpaved path along a wooded hilltop that overlooks the Schuylkill River. The completed Boxers’ Trail connects the historic Smith Memorial Playground and the historic mansions of Fairmount Park to the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood as well as to the regional trail system that leads to Valley Forge. A fully implemented Boxers’ Trail now invites a new group of diverse park enthusiasts to experience a beautiful, but underutilized, portion of Fairmount Park. The project was funded by Anonymous, Delaware River Port Authority, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Fairmount Park Commission, Patricia Kind, Pennoni Associates, Inc., Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor Grant Program, Synterra Ltd., and William Penn Foundation.
An annual 5k race, The Boxers Trail 5k was created in 2012 to celebrate the trail and invite people to experience it. Find more information on the Boxers’ Trail 5k here.