The Philadelphia Trail Club currently has over 200 members. We are a casual and friendly hiking club, meaning that the pace of our hikes is typically between 2 and 3 mph and it is our policy to not leave anyone behind while we are hiking. Our hikes are mostly local, but we sometimes enjoy an excursion (could be a long weekend within driving distance or an over seas trip). We welcome non-members to try a few hikes before joining the Club.
Individual Members are our Hike Leaders - they decide the hikes that they want to lead, contact the Hike Chairperson directly to clear the desired date of the hike, and organize the meeting place, time and details of a hike. The Hike Chairperson coordinates all hike dates which are published in our bi-monthly Newsletters (available on our Members Page).
A typical hike will be 3-4 hours long on established hiking trails, and may include a "bring your own" lunch break. Some leaders choose to provide snacks and drinks at the hike's end. For descriptions of specific hikes, see our Public Hikes page.
Some hikes with an added social component have become annual favorites. These include the Pie Hike, New Years Day Hike, Weenie Roast and the Summer Philly Beer Garden Hike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that was not answered here, please click here to contact us.
Can Non-Members hike with PTC?
Yes, you are welcome on any hike on our Public Hikes page. Non-Member Hike Registration is required. After 3 Hikes you are encouraged to join.
How do I become Member?
Click here to apply to become a member. Print out the form and mail with your annual dues as directed.
What should I bring to the hike?
This varies depending on the starting time, length and difficulty of the hike. Hiking boots, comfortable clothes, plenty of water, snacks or lunch (if indicated in description) are the most important items. Most hikes have facilities at start/finish, but some hikers bring a little toilet paper. You can also check out our Hiking Guide
Do you carpool?
Once you join us and get to know people, you may find someone who lives in your area and may carpool with you.
What is the age group of PTC hikers?
We are mostly middle aged to mature very active adults. Our ages vary.
I haven't hiked much in the past. Are there easy hikes for beginners?
Yes! We classify all our hikes both as to length and difficulty. Click on "Hike Classification" on the menu panel at the left to see brief descriptions of the various levels of difficulty. Our hikes vary in length from about 5 to 10 miles, or even longer in some cases. If you're concerned about your ability, you might start with a 5-mile Class 1 hike.
What if I come on a hike and find myself lagging behind the others?
We're not speed demons, but we also don't leave people behind to fend for themselves! Every hike has not only a leader but also a "sweep," someone familiar with the route whose job is to stay at the back of the pack and make sure that no one wanders off the route or ends up alone. On most hikes, particularly the longer ones, we stop from time to time to rest and allow those at the rear to catch up.
What if it rains?
In general, if rain, particularly heavy rain, is predicted for the day of the hike, the leader will cancel the hike. Of course, it can rain unexpectedly after a hike has started, so if the weather looks doubtful, it's helpful to bring along a poncho or rain shell and hat.
Why do I have to register in advance?
If a hike has to be cancelled at the last minute, registering for the hike tells the leader whom to notify about the change in plans. If you haven't registered, and the hike is cancelled, you might show up at the starting point and find yourself alone! In addition, some hikes require car shuttles, so knowing how many people are coming is important.
I think I'd like to lead a hike. What should I know?
Great! We're always looking for willing leaders (you must be a member to lead a hike). The first thing you need to know is the hike route you plan to take, the date and time you choose for your hike, and accurate driving directions for getting to the starting point. Next, contact our Hike Chair. You'll find his or her contact information under "Who's Who in the PTC" on the Members page. The Hike Chair can tell you whether the date you want is available and suggest some other dates if it is not. This is the person to whom you send your hike description once you've got it finalized. Look at some of the descriptions in the current Bulletin to get an idea of how to write yours. In general, hike descriptions should be in the chair's hands about a month before the Bulletin is published.
Things to keep in mind when preparing to lead a hike, and when actually leading it, are covered in much more detail in our "Hike Leader's Guide." Don't be scared away by all the suggestions; most of them are just common sense. If you can hike, you can lead.