Nestled above the bustling Schuylkill River Trail and Kelly Drive in East Fairmount Park sits a quiet, wooded trail with a rich history called the Boxers’ Trail. The trail was named for the boxing champions that trained there, including Joe Frazier. Young boxers from local recreation centers and boxing gyms still use the trail as a training ground today.

The 3.8-mile trail starts at Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course and winds along a wooded hilltop overlooking the Schuylkill River.  It winds past several of East Fairmount Park’s historic mansions — including Mount Pleasant, Ormiston, Laurel Hill, and Woodford — before ending at Strawberry Mansion. Portions of the trail are paved with crushed stone and other parts with asphalt.

The trail underwent a complete restoration in the early 2000s, the first project done in partnership between the former Fairmount Park Commission and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Before that, the Boxers’ Trail was a narrow, unpaved, underutilized path. The completed trail now connects the historic Smith Memorial Playground to Fairmount Park’s historic mansions and the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, providing better access to the trail and encouraging a new set of park-goers to get out on the trail and enjoy it.

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One great way to get to know and enjoy the Boxers’ Trail is to take part in the Boxers’ Trail 5K Walk/Run, which will occur on Saturday, September 8. Participants run or walk the scenic cliff paths of the Boxers’ Trail, following the footsteps of Joe Frazier.

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Proceeds from the Boxers’ Trail 5K benefit East Fairmount Park and Mander Playground. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., and the race begins at 9:30 a.m.. The registration fee is $25 for runners; $20 for walkers. Children are free. Group registration is available.

If you’d like practice with others to prepare for the Boxers’ Trail Walk/Run:

To enjoy the Boxers’ Trail on your own, follow the route below!

The paved portion of the trail begins on Reservoir Drive and North 33rd Street in Strawberry Mansion, right near the driving range and Sedgley Woods Disc Golf course.

  1. Follow signage past the Smith Memorial Playground and turn left down the paved path.
  2. Turn left again on Fountain Green Drive and head down the hill. The unpaved, crushed stone portion starts on the right and heads up a steep hill.
  3. Follow the crushed stone portion about 1.5 miles until it meets Randolph Drive and becomes a paved path again.
  4. Follow the paved path around the Edgley Ballfields and follow signs all the way to Strawberry Mansion, for a total of 3.8 miles.

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Sign up for the September 8 event to experience the Boxers' Trail for yourself.