A Hike Along The Scenic And Historic Schuylkill River In Valley Forge
A doctor visit for a sore shoulder and a chance to visit my niece took me to King Of Prussia in Montgomery County on Tuesday afternoon. I was staying at the Springhill Suites By Marriot. It was my first stay in this town in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I only knew it had a large Shopping Mall and it was located next to historic Valley Forge National Park. I chose this hotel since it was near the National Park and I planned to drive to the park and do some hiking and exploring after my 2:30 p.m doctor visit.
However, when I checked into my room after my appointment I looked at the trail maps and noticed that the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River West Trail were located very close to my hotel. So I decided to hike on this trail which would take me into the National Park. I walked past a few residences, and a sewage treatment plant, before reaching the trail.
There were also large areas where goldenrod that had grown along the trail during the Summer. I thought this would be a great place to see birds in the Spring and Summer . And I did see and hear some bird activity on my walk.
I saw song sparrows, American robins and white-throated sparrows. I only got a photo of this white throated sparrow. It was late afternoon, around 4 p.m., and November. I knew the sun would be setting soon so I couldn’t stop to try and photograph the birds.
After the underpass I came to Valley Forge National Park. and the Sullivan’s Bridge , a pedestrian bridge that spans the Schuylkill River. It is named after a bridge built by General John Sullivan’s during the Continental Army’s 1777-78 winter encampment at Valley Forge.
It wasn’t until I had walked about a quarter mile that the road ended and I came to the actual River Trail. It was a wide dirt road, now covered in fallen leaves and continued under large old oak and sycamore trees. It was a tranquil, beautiful trail.
There was an informative sign along the trail telling how this area above the river the northern defense of General Washington’s troops during the his stay at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. It was also a major supply route and served as an open warehouse of cattle, supplies and provisions for the troops.
I watched the setting sun as I crossed over the Schuylkill River and reflected on it’s origins in the Anthracite Coal region where I live. I never really thought much about the mountain streams and creeks I had hiked would eventually become this beautiful river.
I returned to my hotel with a desire to learn more about the history of the Schuykill River. now that I had seen how beautiful it is here near Valley Forge. My first memories of the river were seeing it from the Schuylkill Expressway in downtown Philadelphia. It looks a lot different near Valley Forge. .
I returned to my hotel, quickly showered and changed and had a wonderful evening enjoying dinner and conversation with my niece Cassidy, a promising young attorney. I enjoyed my walk through the streets of King of Prussia and I hope to return soon. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog webpage with some more photos from my late afternoon hike. Valley Forge Schuylkill River hike November 14 2023.
I returned to my room and did some research on the Schuylkill River and it’s role in the Revolutionary War. I also learned how it was the western border of the Lenni Lenape Native Americans and that they roamed the river and it’s tributaries. I soon realized I had hiked on the headwaters of the Little Schuylkill River many times. It originates in streams and creeks in Kline Township and Ryan Township, the homes of my maternal grandparents. I felt a connection to this beautiful river and the Native Americans who once lived here. ( I had just recently discovered, and was listening to, the music of one of them, Jim Beer and The River. Many of his songs are about the Schuylkill River). I hope to learn more about the river and return to finish my hike along it’s banks in Valley Forge.
“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”