Valley Forge National Historical Park | KNOX TRAIL

Knox Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Knox Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Length: .3 mile
Time: 10 minutes on foot
Difficulty: Easy

Download the Valley Forge Trail Map (PDF)

The Knox Trail is a path open to hikers and bikers that runs from the Philander Chase Knox Estate on the southwest side of Valley Forge National Historical Park to Knox’s Quarters before ending at Valley Creek Road just past the Knox’s Quarters Parking Lot. On the other side of the road it turns into the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, and if you take this another .3 mile you will come to the Mount Joy Trail.

In truth, there is almost no reason at all to hike or bike the Knox Trail unless you want to get to the Mount Joy Trail or other trails in the main section of the park and for some reason parked at the Yellow Springs Parking Lot on Wilson Road instead of the nearby Knox’s Quarters Parking Lot (both parking lots will be packed on the weekends). If this is the case, to get to the start of the Knox Trail you must first ride a short distance on the road to the Philander Chase Knox Estate. To do so, exit the parking lot and take a right. Within eyesight is Library Road, a little used road that leads to the Knox Estate where the Knox Trail officially begins. Library Road is marked with a DO NOT ENTER sign, but this is for vehicles, not hikers and bikers. In fact, Library Road looks more like a paved hiker / biker trail than an actual vehicle road.

Library Road leads to the Knox Trail from the Yellow Springs Parking Lot at Valley Forge

Library Road leads to the Knox Trail from the Yellow Springs Parking Lot at Valley Forge

Philander Knox was a politician who purchased much of the land in this area back in 1901. His house, which existed during the American Revolution, was used during the Valley Forge encampment in the winter of 1777-78 as the headquarters of General William Maxwell, and it is often referred to as the Maxwell House. Today it is used as a venue for weddings and other events. It is not open to the public unless, of course, you booked an event.

Philander Chase Knox Estate at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Philander Chase Knox Estate at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Before getting to the Maxwell House, you will pass a few buildings along the way, one of which has a neat Hobbit door. You’ll see a few grass paths branching off from the paved road, but just ignore them. The trailhead for the Knox Trail is located between the Hobbit House and the Maxwell House, and it has a sign identifying it.

Official start of the Knox Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Official start of the Knox Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Hobbit House near the Philander Chase Knox Estate at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Hobbit House near the Philander Chase Knox Estate at Valley Forge National Historical Park

The Knox Trail begins along a path paved with stone slabs, like tombstones, so it’s a bumpy ride if you are on a bike. It leads through a meadow and over a footbridge that spans Valley Creek.

Footbridge over Valley Creek on the Knox Trail, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Footbridge over Valley Creek on the Knox Trail, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Creek at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Creek at Valley Forge National Historical Park

The trail eventually comes out at some farm buildings and a stone house. Now known as Knox’s Quarters, the house is where General Henry Knox stayed for a short while during the Valley Forge encampment before moving into a cabin with his troops. Knox was the Chief of Artillery for the Continental Army, though he is better remembered as the man for whom Fort Knox is named. He is not related to Philander Knox.

Farm building at Knox's Quarters in Valley Forge

Farm building at Knox’s Quarters in Valley Forge

Farm building at Knox's Quarters in Valley Forge

Farm building at Knox’s Quarters in Valley Forge

Knox’s Quarters is much bigger today than it was in 1777. Referring to the photo below, the original house extended from the left side to just right of the window above the center door. The rest of the white section of the building was added sometime between 1825 and 1925. The¬†stone additions—two of them—were added in 1975, the year before Valley Forge State Park became Valley Forge National Historical Park. Don’t ask me why more house was added in modern times. Historians for some reason must have thought this section existed in the 1700s and decided to reconstruct it, and now historians think otherwise. The house is not open to the public.

Knox's Quarters at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Knox’s Quarters at Valley Forge National Historical Park

From Knox’s Quarters, the Knox Trail passes the Knox’s Quarters Parking Lot and ends at Valley Creek Road. As mentioned, it becomes the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail on the other side of the road. Keep going another .3 mile on the J. P. Martin Trail and you’ll come to the Mount Joy Trail.

Knox Trail ends at Valley Creek Road, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Knox Trail ends at Valley Creek Road, Valley Forge National Historical Park

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Last updated on August 3, 2022
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