You are here

Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
441.00 ft (134.42 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Wissahickon Valley Park is a hidden gem just northwest of Philadelphia, an extension of the beautiful Fairmount Park. Easily accessible both by car and public transportation and featuring over 1,800 acres of forest waiting to be explored, this park makes the perfect day hike destination for city residents who still want to be snuggled up in their apartments by dinnertime. 

One of the main Wissahickon activities is hiking, with over 50 miles of well-established trails running through the park and alongside Wissahickon Creek offering a wide variety of sights to see along the way. For a longer and more challenging (by Wissahickon standards) hike, try the Orange Trail. It spreads over 5 miles up the park, running parallel to the east bank of the creek most of the time. 

Walking throughout Wissahickon, you'll encounter a number of interesting, unexpected landmarks such as statues, historical plaques from the 18th century, and majestic bridges. If you catch the creek on a good day, you'll be treated to surprisingly blue waters to gaze at along your hike. Be careful of your footing, as some trails in Wissahickon can be rocky and steep compared to others. Some also offer some interesting surfaces to cross, such as covered bridges and even a large concrete pipe-turned-footbridge.

The park also offers numerous locations where you can venture off the trails and scramble down the cliff sides to rest along the creek banks and snap some photos of the Walnut Lane Bridge, among other landmarks. There's no shortage of surprises around every corner!

As you hike, you'll notice there are many areas where the trails cross, giving you the opportunity to switch between trails to mix up your hiking experience. Forbidden Drive offers a more leisurely stroll, while trails such as the White or Orange challenge hikers to narrow paths, steep hills, and even some minor rock scrambles. 

The true value in Wissahickon Valley Park lies in it's proximity to the city of Philadelphia, being a mere 15-minute drive out of the city. It leaves residents no excuses for not being able to experience the outdoors, as even the city's notorious SEPTA buses service the area. Next time you find yourself needing a true breath of fresh air, head up to Wissahickon!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Location. History. Proximity to the river. Varied terrain.

Cons

Limited number of trails. Noise pollution. High traffic.

Trailhead Elevation

125.00 ft (38.10 m)

Highest point

217.00 ft (66.14 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Fishing
Horseback riding

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.