September 05, 2017
The perks of living and working in Philadelphia are endless, but even the most dedicated city-dweller feels the need to make an escape into nature every once in a while. We all know about Philly’s most popular outdoor destinations (like the Schuylkill River and Boxers’ Trail), but did you know there are trails with incredible views of waterfalls within an hour’s drive from Center City?
So, if you’re feeling stuck within the confines of crowds, SEPTA buses, and one-way streets, take a short drive to one of these three hiking trails and get ready for a scenic adventure:
With over 50 miles of trails and close proximity to the city, Wissahickon Valley Park is a prime place for hiking. Also known as Forbidden Drive (as cars were banned in the 1920s), this sprawling park is great for all kinds of hikers. It’s known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty and views. You're bound to share your hike with animals like red foxes, deer, toads, and over 200 species of birds. There are trails ranging from fairly smooth to rocky and a little steep, providing different levels of hiking challenge.
You’ll fall head over heels in love with lovely forests, green meadows, and scenic waterfalls along your hike. One popular destination for waterfall views along the trail is Cresheim Creek (better known as Devil’s Pool), located in Northwest Philly just off Livezey Lane. Go there to take in the scenery, but remember – no swimming allowed.
Starting in Huntingdon Valley and winding for 5.4 miles, Pennypack Trail is located in Montgomery County. Prepare to see over 150 species of birds, such as hummingbirds, hawks, and geese, as well as other wildlife, like rabbits, raccoons, turtles, and frogs. This lush trail passes through Pennypack Park and Pennypack Creek. The park runs for 9 miles of bountiful hills, meadows, and long stretches of both paved and unpaved trails. Here, you can enjoy invigorating, simple hiking.
Along the creek, you'll feel far removed from the city while hiking alongside scenic little waterfalls and woodlands. Pennypack Trail is a perfectly gorgeous, family-friendly nature destination.
Just 16 miles from Center City in Delaware County Park, Ridley Creek State Park provides a surplus of opportunities for hikers, and is especially popular for those with dogs. Along this wooded 5-mile trail, you’ll find Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation — restored with 18th century tools — where interpreters offer a realistic look into life on a Quaker plantation before the American Revolution.
Hikers of all skill levels will enjoy wooded trails and ample, lush hills, as well as paved trails if desired. Take in the stunning waterfalls and dams at Ridley Creek, and end your visit at the nearby Sycamore Mills, a quaint 18th-century mill village. The park is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.
As we head into fall, these foliage-filled hiking destinations give us many reasons — from an easy commute from the city and health rewards to stunning views of waterfalls — to go out and find a new adventure spot.