Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail In Pennsylvania

Here is everything you need to know about the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Length: 25 miles.
  • Type: Walking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail is a significant historical landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1836, Laurel Hill Cemetery is one of the oldest rural cemeteries in the United States and was designed as a picturesque burial ground during the Victorian era. The Victorian Trail within the cemetery offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and architectural beauty of this period.

During the 19th century, the Victorian era was characterized by a fascination with death and mourning rituals. Laurel Hill Cemetery was designed to reflect this sentiment, with its elaborate tombstones, mausoleums, and ornate sculptures. The Victorian Trail showcases some of the most notable gravesites and monuments within the cemetery, providing visitors with a glimpse into the lives and legacies of prominent individuals from that era.

One of the highlights of the Victorian Trail is the resting place of General George Gordon Meade, the Union Army commander who led the victorious forces at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Meade’s monument is a towering granite structure adorned with intricate carvings, symbolizing his significant role in American history. Other notable figures buried along the trail include renowned poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, inventor and engineer John Ericsson, and philanthropist Stephen Girard.

The Victorian Trail also features stunning examples of Victorian funerary art and architecture. Intricately carved angels, obelisks, and mausoleums can be found throughout the cemetery, showcasing the craftsmanship and artistic sensibilities of the era. The trail offers a serene and contemplative atmosphere, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty and historical significance of these burial grounds.

Overall, the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail provides a captivating journey through the Victorian era, offering a glimpse into the lives and deaths of notable individuals from that time. It serves as a testament to the cultural and historical importance of this period, showcasing the art, architecture, and mourning practices that defined the Victorian era.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Main Entrance: The main entrance of Laurel Hill Cemetery is located at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. This is the starting point for the Victorian Trail.

2. Founder’s Garden: This beautiful garden is located near the main entrance and serves as a peaceful spot to begin your journey along the Victorian Trail.

3. Gatehouse: As you continue along the trail, you will come across the Gatehouse, which is a historic building that once served as the entrance to the cemetery.

4. Chapel: The Chapel is a significant landmark along the Victorian Trail. It is a stunning Gothic Revival-style building that offers a glimpse into the cemetery’s rich history.

5. Sculpture Garden: This area of the cemetery features various sculptures and monuments, including the famous “Angel of Grief” statue. It is a must-visit spot along the Victorian Trail.

6. Civil War Section: As you explore further, you will come across the Civil War Section, which is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. It is a poignant and historically significant part of the cemetery.

7. Laurel Hill Mansion: This historic mansion is located within the cemetery grounds and is a great place to learn more about the cemetery’s past. It offers guided tours and exhibits.

8. Riverfront Overlook: Towards the end of the Victorian Trail, you will reach the Riverfront Overlook, which provides stunning views of the Schuylkill River and the surrounding landscape.

9. West Laurel Hill Cemetery: The Victorian Trail concludes at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, which is located adjacent to Laurel Hill Cemetery. This cemetery also has its own unique history and features worth exploring.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be additional access points or trailheads along the Victorian Trail at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Transportation Available

1. SEPTA Bus Route 61: Public bus service connecting various neighborhoods and attractions in Philadelphia.
2. Uber: On-demand ride-hailing service available through a mobile app.
3. Lyft: Another popular on-demand ride-hailing service accessible via a mobile app.
4. Taxi: Traditional taxi service offering transportation within the city.
5. Indego Bike Share: Bike-sharing program providing rental bicycles for short trips around Philadelphia.
6. Zipcar: Car-sharing service allowing members to rent vehicles by the hour or day.
7. Philadelphia Trolley Works: Sightseeing trolley tours offering transportation and guided tours of the city’s landmarks.
8. Philadelphia PHLASH Downtown Loop: Shuttle service connecting major attractions in downtown Philadelphia.
9. Philadelphia International Airport: Nearby airport providing domestic and international flights.
10. Regional Rail: Commuter train service connecting Philadelphia with various suburbs and neighboring cities.


The amenities available at the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There is parking available for visitors’ vehicles.

3. Camping sites: There are no camping sites available at the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail.

4. Picnic areas: There are designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Benches: Throughout the trail, there are benches where visitors can rest and take in the surroundings.

6. Interpretive signage: The trail features interpretive signage that provides information about the cemetery’s history, notable gravesites, and Victorian-era architecture.

7. Walking paths: The trail offers well-maintained walking paths for visitors to explore the cemetery and its Victorian features.

8. Scenic views: The trail provides scenic views of the cemetery’s landscape, including beautiful trees, monuments, and tombstones.

9. Historical information: Visitors can access historical information about the cemetery and its significance through brochures or guided tours.

10. Accessibility: The trail is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, with paved paths and ramps available.

Please note that amenities may be subject to change, so it is advisable to check with the cemetery or visitor center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. The Inn at Laurel Hill Cemetery – A charming inn located within the cemetery grounds, offering comfortable lodging for visitors.
2. Laurel Hill Bistro – A cozy bistro serving delicious meals and drinks, conveniently located near the cemetery.
3. Laurel Hill Deli – A quick-service deli offering a variety of sandwiches and snacks, perfect for a quick bite during your visit.
4. Laurel Hill Coffee Shop – A quaint coffee shop serving freshly brewed coffee and pastries, ideal for a caffeine fix.
5. Laurel Hill Emergency Medical Services – A nearby emergency medical service providing immediate medical assistance if needed during your visit.

Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail Difficulty Notes

The Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for visitors. The trail consists of well-maintained paths and gentle slopes, making it accessible for most individuals. However, there are some sections that may require a bit more effort, such as navigating stairs or steeper inclines. Additionally, the trail is approximately 1.5 miles long, which may pose a challenge for those with limited mobility or endurance. Overall, while the Victorian Trail is not overly strenuous, it does require a moderate level of physical fitness and mobility to fully enjoy the experience.

Features And Attractions

The Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail is known for its scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. Laurel Hill Cemetery: The trail starts at the Laurel Hill Cemetery itself, which is a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. It offers beautiful views of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia skyline.

2. Founder’s Garden: This garden is dedicated to the founders of Laurel Hill Cemetery and features a variety of plants and flowers, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

3. Sculpture Garden: The cemetery is home to numerous sculptures and monuments created by renowned artists. The Sculpture Garden showcases some of the most impressive and unique pieces.

4. The Catacombs: Located beneath the cemetery, the Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels and chambers. They were originally used for storage but are now open for guided tours, providing a fascinating glimpse into the cemetery’s history.

5. The Soldier’s Lot: This section of the cemetery is dedicated to the burial of soldiers who fought in various wars, including the Civil War. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave individuals.

6. Laurel Hill Mansion: Situated just outside the cemetery, the Laurel Hill Mansion is a historic house that dates back to the 18th century. It offers a glimpse into Philadelphia’s colonial past and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

7. The Water Tower: Located within the cemetery, the Water Tower is a Victorian Gothic structure that provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. Climbing to the top offers a unique perspective of the cemetery and its surroundings.

8. Laurel Hill Overlook: This scenic overlook provides breathtaking views of the Schuylkill River, the Philadelphia skyline, and the surrounding countryside. It is a popular spot for photography and relaxation.

9. The Chapel: The cemetery’s chapel is a stunning example of Victorian architecture. It is often used for weddings, memorial services, and other events.

10. The Riverfront: The trail runs along the Schuylkill River, offering picturesque views of the water and the surrounding landscape. It is a great place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

These are just a few of the many attractions along the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail. Exploring the trail will provide a unique blend of history, nature, and scenic beauty.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail.
2. The Victorian Trail may have seasonal restrictions during inclement weather or maintenance periods.

Seasonal Information

The Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail is a fascinating and unique attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history and architectural beauty of the Victorian era. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this cemetery is a National Historic Landmark and is renowned for its stunning Victorian-style monuments and mausoleums.

The best times of the year to visit the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the cemetery comes alive with vibrant blooms and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll. The fall season, on the other hand, offers a breathtaking display of colorful foliage, adding an extra layer of beauty to the already enchanting surroundings. The moderate temperatures during these seasons make it comfortable for visitors to explore the trail at their own pace.

It is important to note that the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to safety concerns and inclement weather conditions, the trail is closed from December through February. However, the cemetery itself remains open to the public during this time, allowing visitors to still appreciate the Victorian architecture and historical significance of the site. It is advisable to check the official website or contact the cemetery for the most up-to-date information on closures and visiting hours to plan your trip accordingly.

Overall, the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail offers a unique and immersive experience for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and those seeking a tranquil and reflective atmosphere. Whether you visit during the vibrant spring or the colorful fall, you are sure to be captivated by the beauty and charm of this Victorian-era cemetery.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Pathways: The Victorian Trail at Laurel Hill Cemetery features paved pathways that are accessible for wheelchair users, ensuring easy navigation throughout the cemetery.
2. ADA Compliant Restrooms: The cemetery provides accessible restrooms that meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ensuring convenience for all visitors.
3. Handicap Parking Spaces: Designated parking spaces are available near the entrance of the cemetery for individuals with disabilities, allowing for easy access to the Victorian Trail.
4. Braille Signage: The Victorian Trail features Braille signage at various points, providing visually impaired visitors with information about the cemetery’s history and notable gravesites.
5. Audio Guides: Laurel Hill Cemetery offers audio guides that provide detailed descriptions of the Victorian Trail, allowing visually impaired visitors to experience the cemetery’s rich heritage.
6. Wheelchair Rental: For those who require a wheelchair to explore the Victorian Trail, the cemetery offers wheelchair rental services, ensuring accessibility for all visitors.
7. Accessible Seating Areas: The Victorian Trail includes accessible seating areas where visitors can rest and enjoy the serene surroundings of the cemetery.
8. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Victorian Trail, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the necessary support during their visit.
9. Accessible Visitor Center: The cemetery’s visitor center is equipped with ramps and accessible features, allowing individuals with disabilities to easily access information and assistance.
10. Staff Assistance: The staff at Laurel Hill Cemetery is trained to provide assistance and support to visitors with disabilities, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive experience on the Victorian Trail.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the marked trails to ensure your safety and preserve the cemetery’s historic landscape.
2. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose sturdy, closed-toe shoes to navigate the sometimes uneven terrain.
3. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and mindful of other visitors, vehicles, and potential hazards.
4. Respect gravestones and monuments: Avoid touching or climbing on any structures to prevent damage and maintain the cemetery’s integrity.
5. Watch out for wildlife: Be cautious of local wildlife, such as squirrels or birds, and maintain a safe distance.
6. Stay hydrated: Bring water with you to stay hydrated, especially during warmer months.
7. Use sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect yourself from sunburn and insect bites by applying appropriate products.
8. Carry a map or guide: Familiarize yourself with the trail and bring a map or guide to navigate the cemetery effectively.
9. Inform someone of your visit: Let a friend or family member know about your visit to the cemetery for safety purposes.
10. Follow all posted rules and regulations: Adhere to any posted signs or guidelines provided by the cemetery management for a safe and respectful visit.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail is considered to be well-maintained and preserved. Efforts have been made to ensure the trail’s integrity and historical significance are protected. The trail is regularly monitored and managed by the cemetery staff and conservation experts to prevent any deterioration or damage.

Conservation measures include regular inspections to identify any potential threats to the trail’s condition, such as erosion, invasive species, or vandalism. Prompt action is taken to address these issues and prevent further damage. The trail’s vegetation is carefully managed to maintain its original Victorian-era landscape design, with native plants and trees being preserved and non-native species being removed.

Additionally, the trail’s historical features, such as ornate ironwork, tombstones, and monuments, are regularly assessed for any signs of deterioration or structural instability. Restoration and conservation work is carried out as needed to ensure their long-term preservation. The cemetery also implements educational programs and interpretive signage along the trail to raise awareness about its historical and cultural significance, further contributing to its conservation status. Overall, the conservation efforts for the Laurel Hill Cemetery Victorian Trail aim to protect its unique heritage and provide visitors with an authentic experience of the Victorian era.

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