Boxer’s Trail at East Fairmount Park
3.8 miles of trails
What’s to love
Tucked away between the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood and the Schuylkill River, Boxer’s Trail is the stuff of legends; Joe Frazier once trained here. The 3.8-mile trail winds through old-growth woods and climbs up an outcropping of stone along the east side of Kelly Drive, providing a unique vantage point of the river below. It was recently restored by Fairmount Park and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Today, it exists as a wide gravel and hardpack trail perfect for runners.
And though the trail itself isn’t long, recent renovations have made this a significantly more exciting destination for nature lovers. The nearby East Park Reservoir—largely abandoned by the city and gated off for the past 65 years—just reopened as a wildlife habitat and outdoor adventure course. A partnership between Audubon PA and Philadelphia Outward Bound School is overseeing efforts to preserve this accidental oasis while making it accessible to the public. A new hiking trail around the southern half of the reservoir is now available, as is a new center for environmental conservation and outdoor leadership training.
Tips and quirks
- The Sedgley Woods Disc Golf course is located near the trailhead; I find it easiest to park here and walk to the trail, so that’s where the directions above will take you.
- Several historical buildings can be accessed from Boxer’s Trail, including the Woodford Mansion (1758), Mount Pleasant (1765), Ormiston Mansion (1798), and Rockland Mansion (1810).
- The ruins of another building, referred to as The Cliffs, is also nearby. The Cliffs was built in 1753 and was once used by Benjamin Franklin’s daughter, but the city failed to protect the building and it fell victim to vandalism and arson in the 1980’s.
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Last updated: December 30, 2018