Unless you live in Chestnut Hill or Manayunk—both neighborhoods made up almost entirely of hills—finding a good hill to run sprints on in Philly can feel a bit like trying to find a Tinder profile that doesn’t make you cringe: difficult AF.
Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork: I asked Takia McClendon and Kiera Smalls, co-founders of the popular running group City Fit Girls, to name their favorite spots in Philly to get in a killer hill workout, and then I sprinkled a few of my own favorites in for good measure. Get ready to feel a serious burn, friends!
Ben Franklin Bridge
Access walkway at 5th and Race Streets
Anyone who runs the Ben Franklin Bridge knows these two things: feeling a slow burn in your legs is a guarantee, thanks to the incline, and if heights aren’t your jam, you definitely shouldn’t look down. Kiera names this as her top spot for hill repeats, thanks in no small part to the spectacular Delaware River and city views—a welcome distraction when your glutes are begging for a break.
Access at Sedgeley and Lemon Hill Drives
This steep hill leading up to the historic Lemon Hill mansion is the perfect spot to veer off of Kelly Drive for some hill sprints. That said, if you lack the motivation to do ‘em on your own (I’m with you), not to fear: Philly’s chapter of the free workout group November Project often tackles this hill during their Friday-morning workouts. Find updates on their meeting points here.
South Street Bridge Ramp to the Schuylkill River Trail
Access from the South Street Bridge
If the Schuylkill River Trail is your running spot of choice (it was named America’s Best Urban Trail, after all), then you’re likely familiar with the South Street Bridge ramp that leads you to the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. But Takia notes this wide, roomy ramp shouldn’t be overlooked as a workout spot in its own right: As she says, “You get a great view of the SRT and you can easily add hill repeats to your run if you’re already using the SRT.”
2000 Belmont Mansion Drive
This plateau nestled in Fairmount Park is known for its unbeatable city views—and you know why it has such great views? Because in order to get up to Belmont Plateau from the baseball field that sits below it, you have to climb a pretty giant hill. Connected to a network of cross-country trails, this grassy incline serves as a great spot to run sprints and do exercises like steep bounds, etc.
Philadelphia Museum of Art Ramp
Access by western entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
“Awful and fantastic at the same time”: That’s how Takia describes the workout this steep ramp (located on the western side of the Art Museum, that looks out onto the Water Works) will give you. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could even alternate between hill repeats on this ramp and stair climbs up the infamous Art Museum steps.