Harrisburg Riverfront Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 4 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Susquehanna Riverfront Park
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.hazletonrailstotrails.org/

The Harrisburg Riverfront Trail is a scenic pathway that stretches along the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The trail has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century when it was initially developed as a transportation route for the Pennsylvania Canal. The canal, which operated from 1828 to 1901, played a crucial role in the region’s economic growth by facilitating the transportation of goods and resources.

Following the decline of the canal system, the abandoned towpath was transformed into a recreational trail in the 1970s. The trail was initially known as the Capital Area Greenbelt and was designed to provide residents and visitors with a scenic route for walking, jogging, and cycling. Over the years, the trail has undergone several expansions and improvements, resulting in the creation of the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail as we know it today.

In recent decades, the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail has become an integral part of the city’s revitalization efforts. The trail offers stunning views of the river, the city skyline, and various landmarks, attracting both locals and tourists alike. It has also become a popular venue for community events, such as festivals, concerts, and outdoor exhibitions. The trail’s historical significance, combined with its natural beauty, has made it a cherished asset for the city of Harrisburg, preserving the region’s past while providing a vibrant recreational space for the present.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. City Island Park: Located on City Island, this park serves as a major access point to the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. It offers parking facilities, picnic areas, and beautiful views of the Susquehanna River.

2. Walnut Street Bridge: This iconic pedestrian bridge connects downtown Harrisburg to City Island and serves as a popular trailhead for the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. It offers stunning views of the river and the city skyline.

3. Front Street: The trail can be accessed from various points along Front Street in Harrisburg. These access points provide parking options and easy entry onto the trail.

4. Fort Hunter Park: Situated a few miles north of downtown Harrisburg, Fort Hunter Park offers a trailhead for the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. The park features historic buildings, gardens, and ample parking.

5. Wildwood Park: Located on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River, Wildwood Park provides a trailhead for the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. The park offers nature trails, a lake, and parking facilities.

6. Riverfront Park: Situated in downtown Harrisburg, Riverfront Park is a major access point for the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. It offers parking, picnic areas, playgrounds, and beautiful river views.

7. Paxtang Parkway: This park, located in Paxtang Borough, provides an access point to the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. It offers parking facilities and a connection to the trail.

8. Fort Hunter Conservancy: Adjacent to Fort Hunter Park, the Fort Hunter Conservancy offers another access point to the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. It provides parking and a scenic entry onto the trail.

9. State Street: The trail can be accessed from State Street in Harrisburg, offering parking options and easy entry onto the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail.

10. Shipoke Neighborhood: The Shipoke neighborhood in Harrisburg provides access to the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail. Street parking is available, and the trail can be accessed from various points within the neighborhood.

Transportation Available

1. Capital Area Transit (CAT) – Local bus service in Harrisburg.
2. Amtrak – National passenger railroad service with a station in Harrisburg.
3. Greyhound – Intercity bus service with a station in Harrisburg.
4. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in Harrisburg.
5. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in Harrisburg.
6. Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) – Nearby airport serving the Harrisburg area.
7. Yellow Cab – Local taxi service in Harrisburg.
8. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service available in Harrisburg.
9. Zipcar – Car-sharing service with vehicles available in Harrisburg.
10. Harrisburg Bike Share – Local bike-sharing program in Harrisburg.


The amenities available at the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas near the trail where visitors can park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not allowed directly on the trail, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where visitors can set up their tents or RVs.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack while taking in the scenic views.

5. Benches: There are numerous benches placed along the trail for visitors to rest and relax.

6. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at various points along the trail to keep visitors hydrated.

7. Bike Racks: Bike racks are provided at different locations along the trail for cyclists to securely park their bikes.

8. Dog-Friendly: The trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run. However, dogs must be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them.

9. Fitness Stations: There are fitness stations equipped with exercise equipment along the trail for visitors to engage in outdoor workouts.

10. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Susquehanna River and the surrounding landscape.

11. Interpretive Signs: There are interpretive signs placed along the trail, providing information about the history, wildlife, and natural features of the area.

12. Accessible Facilities: The trail is designed to be accessible for people with disabilities, with ramps, paved paths, and accessible restrooms available.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the trail and its proximity to other facilities.

Nearby Services

1. Hilton Harrisburg – Upscale hotel offering comfortable accommodations near the Riverfront Trail.
2. Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey – Modern hotel with river views, located close to the trail.
3. Red Lion Hotel Harrisburg Hershey – Convenient lodging option with easy access to the Riverfront Trail.
4. Hampton Inn Harrisburg West – Comfortable hotel situated near the trail, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
5. Holiday Inn Express Harrisburg East – Affordable hotel option near the Riverfront Trail, perfect for budget travelers.
6. Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel – Stylish hotel offering a range of amenities, located within proximity to the trail.
7. Subway – Quick-service restaurant chain serving sandwiches and salads, located near the Riverfront Trail.
8. Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar – Casual eatery offering American fare and a lively atmosphere, conveniently situated close to the trail.
9. The Millworks – Unique restaurant and brewery featuring farm-to-table cuisine, located near the Riverfront Trail.
10. Harrisburg Hospital – Nearby emergency medical services available for any unforeseen incidents along the Riverfront Trail.

Harrisburg Riverfront Trail Difficulty Notes

The Harrisburg Riverfront Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 5 miles along the scenic Susquehanna River, providing a mix of paved and unpaved sections. While the terrain is generally flat, there are some gentle inclines and occasional stairs, making it suitable for walkers, joggers, and cyclists of various fitness levels. The trail also features several access points, allowing users to customize their route and distance. Overall, the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail offers a pleasant and manageable outdoor experience for individuals seeking a moderate level of physical activity.

Features And Attractions

1. City Island: Located in the middle of the Susquehanna River, City Island offers stunning views of the river and the Harrisburg skyline. It is a popular spot for picnics, sports activities, and family outings.

2. Walnut Street Bridge: This historic pedestrian bridge connects City Island to downtown Harrisburg. It offers panoramic views of the river and the surrounding area. The bridge itself is a beautiful architectural landmark.

3. Riverfront Park: This expansive park stretches along the riverfront and offers various recreational activities. It features walking and biking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and beautiful gardens. The park also hosts events and festivals throughout the year.

4. Fort Hunter Mansion and Park: Located just north of Harrisburg, Fort Hunter Mansion is a historic site that dates back to the 18th century. The mansion offers guided tours, showcasing the rich history of the area. The park surrounding the mansion provides scenic views of the river and is perfect for hiking and picnicking.

5. Wildwood Park: Situated along the riverfront, Wildwood Park is a nature preserve that offers beautiful walking trails, wetlands, and wildlife viewing opportunities. It is a great place for birdwatching and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

6. State Museum of Pennsylvania: Located near the Riverfront Trail, the State Museum of Pennsylvania showcases the history, culture, and natural resources of the state. It offers exhibits on various topics, including Native American history, Pennsylvania’s role in the Civil War, and the state’s diverse ecosystems.

7. Harrisburg Cemetery: This historic cemetery is located near the Riverfront Trail and is the final resting place of many notable figures from Harrisburg’s past. It is a peaceful and serene place to visit, with beautiful landscaping and interesting gravestones.

8. John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion: This historic mansion was the home of John Harris Jr., the founder of Harrisburg, and later owned by Simon Cameron, a prominent politician. The mansion offers guided tours that provide insights into the city’s early history and the lives of these influential figures.

9. Susquehanna Art Museum: Situated near the Riverfront Trail, the Susquehanna Art Museum showcases contemporary art from local, regional, and national artists. It offers rotating exhibits, educational programs, and workshops.

10. Market Street Bridge: This iconic bridge connects Harrisburg to the neighboring city of Wormleysburg. It offers stunning views of the river, downtown Harrisburg, and the surrounding landscape. Walking or biking across the bridge is a popular activity for locals and visitors alike.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
– Bicycles and rollerblades are allowed on the trail, but must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but may have seasonal closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or maintenance.
– No camping or overnight stays are allowed on the trail.
– No littering or dumping of any kind is permitted.
– No smoking or open fires are allowed on the trail.
– Use of the trail is at your own risk; the trail management is not responsible for any accidents or injuries.
– Please be respectful of other trail users and maintain proper trail etiquette.

Seasonal Information

The Harrisburg Riverfront Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering stunning views of the Susquehanna River and a variety of recreational activities. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild and the foliage is at its most vibrant. Spring brings blooming flowers and budding trees, while fall showcases a breathtaking display of colorful leaves.

During the spring, visitors can enjoy pleasant temperatures and the opportunity to witness the riverfront come alive with the arrival of migratory birds. The trail is also less crowded during this time, allowing for a more peaceful and serene experience. Fall, on the other hand, offers cooler temperatures and the chance to witness the stunning transformation of the surrounding landscape into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.

It is important to note that the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions due to inclement weather or maintenance work. During the winter months, portions of the trail may be closed or inaccessible due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check the trail’s official website or contact local authorities for up-to-date information on closures and conditions before planning your visit.

Despite potential closures, the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail remains a beautiful destination year-round. Whether you choose to visit during the vibrant spring or the picturesque fall, you are sure to be captivated by the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that this trail has to offer.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Entrances: The trail offers multiple entrances that are designed to be easily accessible for individuals using wheelchairs.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features smooth and paved pathways, ensuring a comfortable and accessible experience for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and accessible sinks.
4. Handicap Parking: Designated parking spaces are provided near the trail entrances for individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Seating Areas: The trail offers designated seating areas that are accessible for wheelchair users, allowing them to rest and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Braille Signage: Informational signs along the trail include Braille, ensuring accessibility for individuals with visual impairments.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available at various points along the trail.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be accessible for individuals using wheelchairs, allowing them to enjoy outdoor dining.
9. Accessible Fishing Spots: The trail provides accessible fishing spots, equipped with features such as lowered platforms or railings, for individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps are available in accessible formats, such as large print or digital versions, to accommodate individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Stay aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of other trail users, including cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians, to avoid collisions and maintain a safe distance.
2. Use designated crosswalks: Cross the road at designated areas to ensure visibility and minimize the risk of accidents with vehicles.
3. Wear appropriate safety gear: Use helmets, reflective clothing, and lights when cycling or walking during low-light conditions to enhance visibility and protect yourself.
4. Follow trail rules and regulations: Adhere to posted signs, speed limits, and any specific guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all users.
5. Stay hydrated: Bring water and stay properly hydrated, especially during hot weather, to prevent dehydration and related health issues.
6. Be cautious of wildlife: Respect the natural environment and keep a safe distance from any wildlife you may encounter along the trail.
7. Report any suspicious activity: If you notice any suspicious behavior or feel unsafe, report it to the appropriate authorities or trail management.
8. Travel in groups: When possible, walk or cycle with others to enhance safety and deter potential incidents.
9. Stay on designated paths: Avoid venturing off the marked trail to minimize the risk of accidents or encounters with hazardous terrain.
10. Carry a cell phone: Have a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies or the need to contact authorities.
11. Be mindful of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for changing conditions, such as rain or extreme temperatures.
12. Secure your belongings: Keep personal belongings secure and out of sight to prevent theft or loss while on the trail.
13. Be considerate of others: Show respect and courtesy to fellow trail users by yielding when necessary and keeping noise levels to a minimum.
14. Stay on the right side: Keep to the right side of the trail, allowing faster users to pass on the left, similar to road etiquette.
15. Avoid distractions: Minimize distractions such as using headphones or texting while walking or cycling to maintain awareness of your surroundings.

Conservation Notes

The Harrisburg Riverfront Trail, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a popular recreational trail that stretches along the Susquehanna River. In terms of conservation status, the trail is considered to be well-maintained and environmentally protected. Efforts have been made to preserve the natural habitats and ecosystems along the trail, ensuring the sustainability of the surrounding environment.

The conservation status of the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail is reflected in the careful management of vegetation and wildlife. Native plant species are encouraged and invasive species are actively controlled to maintain the ecological balance. The trail’s management team works closely with local environmental organizations to monitor and protect the habitats of various wildlife species that call the area home. This includes implementing measures to minimize disturbance to nesting birds and protecting the riverbanks to prevent erosion and maintain water quality.

Furthermore, the trail’s conservation status is also evident in the efforts to educate visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship. Interpretive signs and educational programs are in place to raise awareness about the local flora and fauna, as well as the significance of the river ecosystem. By promoting responsible use of the trail and encouraging visitors to respect the natural environment, the conservation status of the Harrisburg Riverfront Trail is upheld, ensuring its long-term sustainability for both recreational enjoyment and ecological preservation.

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