Checking out the French Creek River Trail
If you look around the suburbs of Philadelphia, you will find so many nature trails for walking, running or biking. One of the most prominent trails is called the Schuylkill River Trail (pronounced Skoo-kill). This awesome trail runs is approximately 130 miles long and runs from Philadelphia to Pottsville with multiple breaks in between sections. While we did not check that out this day, we did look at a smaller trail that is not far from the Schuylkill trail called the French Creek Trail in East Pikeland township. This trail is less than 5 miles long but provides a nice walk through nature even on a rainy day through the French Creek stream corridor.
Speaking of rainy days, the day prior to our journey it rained…like a lot. You will see some of the images that show some flooding and a lot of general wetness. We started our journey right near the Rapps Bridge (also known as the Rapps Dam Bridge). We were able to park our car easily right near the bridge and start the journey. There is another parking area on the other end of the trail located at the Hares Hill Rd. bridge area. The Rapps Bridge was originally constructed in 1866 by Benjamin F. Hartman. At the time it was not only one of the longest bridges of its type at 105 foot long but also one of the most expensive ringing in at $3,600. The bridge was renovated in 1978 and again in 2011 for approx. 1.5 million dollars. Big difference that 100+ years makes huh? This bridge is pretty awesome with some amazing architecture inside. Check it out for yourself…
Once we started on the trail it looked like it had a bit of a split. We started on a muddy trail right along French Creek. Just to the left (we didn’t see it at first) there was a paved trail that ran next to the National Guard Armory. We took our already muddy shoes and made our way up after only half a mile. It was a quiet scenic trail that my family enjoyed. We came across a little information board right past the Armory as shown below. This was the spot where Continental Powder Works was to be constructed which they decided on in February 1776. It was remote enough for security but close enough to Philadelphia to quickly supply the troops. Hey, who knew I would get a history lesson. Good ole George Washington used this to stack up on some gunpowder and they had it up and running in two months. They were feeling pretty good and also decided to relocate a gun factory here. Unfortunately the Powder mill blew up killing one soldier however the gun factory remained to supply the troops.
A little further down we found a nice metal bridge that went across the creek where we spotted a fisherman. My daughter enjoyed throwing sticks off of one side with us so we could see which stick came out of the other side first. Since there was heavy rain the day prior, the creek was higher and faster than normal. On the other side of the bridge the pavement ended as shown by the “end of ADA area” sign. We continued on for maybe another mile and discovered multiple little side trails along the way. There were fields, homes and everything else you would expect on a small country journey through the woods. There were a bunch of raised sewer caps along the way which I found a little strange.
Overall, this was a nice walk and one I would recommend if you are into nature with a little American history mixed in. I am looking forward to a dry walk down the trail and possibly from start to finish. Due to the dirt trails this is not the best for your sporty overpriced bicycle but works perfectly for your mountain bike. The reason this trail is extra interesting to me is that we are moving soon not far from the French Creek trail and this is closer than the entrance point to the Schuylkill trail.
You can find more information on the East Pikeland Township website about all of their parks & trails.
Have you been on the French Creek Trail? We would love to hear your experience below in the comments.
Training & Development Director by day; Daddy, Husband and web junkie by night. For years I have benefited by creating many things including : Web Sites, Logos, illustrations, online training courses , writings and much more.