Located just northwest of Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Valley Park is one of Philadelphia’s most stunning outdoor sites. This beautiful park features dozens of miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
The most famous trail is Forbidden Drive, which is a scenic road carved into the hills of the park. This trail is frequented by runners, bikers, and dog walkers. Read on to know more.
With miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and a 1,800-acre gorge that has been likened to an alpine landscape, the Wissahickon Valley Park presents a remarkable outdoor escape – all within Philadelphia’s city limits. (Mountain bikers should note that a permit is required for the use of some of the park’s more challenging trails.)
A rare road-to-trail conversion, the Forbidden Drive Trail runs along the most dramatic section of Wissahickon Creek for 5.4 miles. This popular hike offers a beautiful trail experience with plenty of natural and historic highlights, including the historical circa 1850 Valley Green Inn. It also features a full-service restaurant and bar.
The 57 miles of trails within Wissahickon Valley Park offer a variety of experiences for hikers and horseback riders alike. Beginners can learn to ride at Pleasant Valley Ranch, which offers lessons and 2-hour trail rides through hundreds of acres.
Located near the Forbidden Drive Trail, Northwestern Equestrian Facility is a horseback riding stable that offers boarding and horsemanship programs. The facility is also home to the Philadelphia Saddle Club, which provides riding lessons and programs for children and adults.
For a more unique way to explore the park, book a moonlight horseback trail ride at Pleasant Valley Ranch. The experience is sure to be unforgettable and the ranch offers a number of different packages.
The park’s open meadows and grasslands nestled up against mature woods offer prime spots to see a wide range of birds, especially in spring. The wood thrush and the scarlet tanager are some of the area’s most distinctive songbirds.
The woods also provide a home to hawks and owls, while the creeks attract waterfowl. Raptors can also be spotted soaring overhead, including the majestic Bald Eagle.
Novice birders can learn the basics by taking a class at the Wissahickon Creek Watershed Association in Ambler. The facility offers a free Birding Backpack program, which gives participants binoculars and a field guide to area birds in one convenient package. A must-see place!
Philadelphia is a city with tons of urban hiking options that feature gorgeous skyline views and picturesque bridges. This park is especially popular for its unique opportunity to explore a natural oasis right in the heart of the city.
Hiking at Wissahickon Valley Park is a true adventure. Its 57 miles of pathways range from a gentle stroll on gravel roads to steep climbs and rocky terrain. You can also find historic landmarks and points of interest dispersed throughout the park.
The Forbidden Drive Trail is a unique road-to-trail conversion that runs along the most spectacular part of Wissahickon Creek for 5.4 miles. It’s a great choice for hikers, runners, and horses.
The wide rocky trails along the Wissahickon, known as the Forbidden Drive Trail, are a perfect place to lay out a blanket for picnicking. However, beware of standing water after rainstorms.
The high quality of the water in Wissahickon Creek caused Benjamin Franklin to propose that it be dammed and used as Philadelphia’s water supply. Instead, the Fairmount Park Commission began purchasing land in the valley to preserve the water.
In the late 1800s, when the mills had largely shut down, a movement known as Romanticism swept across the country and began changing people’s views of nature. In this new era, people started to appreciate wild, free-roaming nature.
The Wissahickon Valley Park is one of Philadelphia’s top attractions. The area was once a heavily industrialized part of the city, but now it’s a National Natural Landmark. This picturesque gorge attracts visitors from across the country and has inspired literary figures like Edgar Allan Poe and John Greenleaf Whittier.
The park is easy to access from the neighborhoods of Roxborough and Germantown via Ridge Avenue. SEPTA bus service also runs along Ridge Avenue, connecting to the Manayunk-Norristown line for a 20-minute ride to Center City.
After a day of romping in the woods, you’ll need something to eat. Get food delivery from your favorite place in the area at home or on the go with Uber Eats. Click here for more interesting articles.
Driving directions from Clean For Me to Wissahickon Valley Park
Driving directions from Wissahickon Valley Park to Fairmount Park