Hiking, Weekend Activities

Hiking in Berks County, PA: Union Canal Trail

Trails are such a great way to be one with nature, take in the beautiful views, all the while being active and working on any fitness goals one may have. If you’re lucky enough to live near some trails, or are able to visit one, take full advantage of it! This is definitely the case for me, as I live near so many wonderful trails here in Pennsylvania. One of them being the Union Canal Trail here in Berks County.

Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or a ride on your bike, the Union Canal Trail is for you!

Red Covered Bridge near the Union Canal Trail entrance in Berks County, Pennsylvania

What is The Union Canal Trail?

If you’ve never heard of this trail before, are new to Berks County, or you’re looking to hit the trail, it’s good to know a little bit about it.

The Union Canal Trail is a crushed stone trail here in Berks County, Pennsylvania that takes you through some beautiful sections of the area. The trail runs along the Tulpehocken Creek from the city of Reading to Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport.

It’s a lesser known but still amazing, little hidden gem of a trail. Sure, we have the trails surrounding and leading up to The Appalachian Trail in Berks County as well. Lots of people tend to visit that trail. However, Union Canal Trail is a local favorite which offers nothing short of beautiful scenery, flat and easy paths for whatever activity you’re partaking in.

Though this specific trail is not on AllTrails, it is located on TrailLink! If you’d like to check out the trail, click the TrailLink link to see for yourself.

Related Post: The Appalachian Trail – Pulpit Rock Trail

Bench located near the Tulpehocken Creek on the Union Canal Trail in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

How to get to the trail

There are about four parking lots which give you access to the trail. If you type in the address or name of either one of these parking lots into a navigation system, you’ll be near the trail and can start your activity!

The parking lot and some address for the Union Canal Trail are:

  • Union Canal Trail Head
  • Stonecliffe Recreation Area Trailhead
  • Berks Heritage Center – 1102 Red Bridge Rd, Reading, PA 19605
  • 1901 Tulpehocken Rd, Wyomissing, PA 19610

There are connecting trails at either end of the Union Canal Trail, one of them being the Blue Marsh Lake Trail. If you’re able to go on this particular trail, you can not only get to the Union Canal Trail but you can use their parking lot as well.

Union Canal Path in Berks County, Pennsylvania

How long is the trail?

According to trail sites, the length of the Union Canal Trail is about 6.1 to 6.5 miles in length. You can complete this whole trail, from start to finish, within a day. Depending on the type of activity you’re doing (walking/hiking, biking, running) will determine how long it would take for you to make it from start to finish.

Although my boyfriend and I have not done the whole trail from start to finish in one day, we have walked along many different sections of the trail on separate days. I know we’ve basically completed the whole trail by walking it, though it wasn’t completed all at one. I think it’d be nice to do the whole trail from start to finish.

Related Post: Witch’s Hat Pavilion – Exploring Abandoned Places in PA

Deer located on a path off the Union Canal Trail

When can I visit the trail?

You can visit the trail anytime of the year! It’s pretty much open year round and unless Berks County has had pretty bad storms (rain, snow, etc.), you can still access the trail.

Because of its flat paths and easy terrain to navigate, this makes it ideal for people to use throughout the year. Now, I’m not a fan of the cold so I personally wouldn’t do this trail during the winter. However, if you’re not bothered by the cold than by all means, do your thing on trail!

Red Covered Bridge over the hiking path of the Union Canal Trail

My personal experience

My boyfriend was the one who first discovered this trail. We’ve passed by one of the many entrances to the trail so much, that one day he decided to stop and look at where the entrance led to. Turns out, it was the Union Canal Trail!

At this particular entrance point (off Tulpehocken Rd, near the red covered bridge), you park your car in either the parking lot or on the side of the road. You walk across this beautiful red covered bridge and walk down towards the river. This is the start of one portion of the trail. Who knew that this cool red covered bridge led to such a cute little trail?

Throughout the year, when the weather has been hot and cool, we’ve managed to walk along this trail. We’ve walked to quite a few points on this trail, stretching several miles in either direction. No matter the starting point or time of year, this is just a pleasant trail to go on.

Related Post: Tips for Visiting Arches National Park

The Union Canal Trail is relatively flat, with mostly paved or has even dirt paths at certain points. For the most part, you’re walking next to wooded areas along the river. Often, you’ll see other people on the trail so you’re never truly alone. Especially on a section of the trail that’s near another big bridge. You can walk, run, bike on the trail (on trail) or go fishing and kayaking in the creek! You’re not limited for options and the area is just lovely and peaceful. Plus, you see so many cute animals (on land and in the river). My personal favorite creatures to spot are chipmunks and deer.

There’s a reason why we come back to this trail every time! It’s one of those trails that has a variety of things to do on it that’s relatively easy and accessible for practically everyone. Anyone, no matter their fitness level, can go on this trail and enjoy themselves. There are benches scattered throughout the trail as well, so one can sit down and admire the beauty of Berks County. This trail is one of our favorites!

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