Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Activities

It’s hard to believe, but this wooded paradise is nestled within the city limits. With over 57 miles of trails running throughout the 1,600 acre park, the Wissahickon is an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a walk on Forbidden Drive, a flat gravel road that meanders through the park. Pack a picnic and slow down for the afternoon. Let your imagination run wild as you discover thousands of plant and animal species, or get active and go for a hike, ride, or run through the park – the possibilities are endless. Click here to view a map of locations for outdoor activities.

Upcoming Events in the Park

  • September 6, 9:30 am

    To the Top of Both Ridges with Bruce Wagner

    Join FOW and take a 3.5 mile stroll reaching the two ridgetops between Chestnut Hill and Roxborough and enjoy how different the terrain is and how different Wissahickon Creek looks from either side.

  • September 6, 10:00 am

    Germantown Flea at Grumblethorpe

    Germantown Flea at Grumblethorpe will feature vendors selling antiques, handicrafts, tools, vintage items and other merchandise.

  • Sunday, September 7th

    Mt. Airy Community Drum Circle

    Come join a community outdoor drum circle from 1-3 PM at the Lovett Library Park (6945 Germantown Ave).

  • September 13, 9:00 am

    Mommy & Me Yoga at the Wissahickon Environmental Center

    Bring your little one for an hour of outdoor yoga at the Tree House. Moms with children up to age 5. Please register at least one week prior to the program.

  • September 19, 7:30 pm

    Full Moon Hike with Wissahickon Environmental Center

    This program will take the adventurous into the forest at night. Hunt for animal signs, listen for nighttime sounds, and enjoy marshmallows around a campfire. This hike is geared for families and is appropriate for children 8 years and older. Free! Register in advance.

Wissahickon

Hiking

From Forbidden Drive to a network of trails, there’s always a new path to discover on a trip to the Wissahickon. Hit the trails on your own, or join a group and get social in the park. Follow the colored signposts as they guide you through the 57 miles of trails that wind through the park. See more.

Location: Forbidden Drive and Trail System Plan It!

Feeding Ducks

Children of all ages delight at feeding the ducks – don’t forget to bring some bread! See more.

Location: Valley Green Plan It!

Walking and Running

Forbidden Drive, “forbidden” to motor vehicles since 1920, is a charming gravel paved path through the woods that is ideal for hiking, jogging, and the casual stroll. See more.

Location: Forbidden Drive Plan It!

Fishing

Trout are released into the Wissahickon Creek every spring, summer, and fall. See more.

Location: Bells Mill Road to Valley Green Plan It!

Biking

Casual cyclists can ride along the creek on Forbidden Drive, while mountain bikers can get off the drive and onto the trails with a permit. See more.

Location: Forbidden Drive (okay for all bikes) and Upper Trails (by permit only) Plan It!

Rock Climbing

This 40 foot high outcrop of schist is beloved by area climbers See more.

Location: Livezey Rock, accessed via Livezey Lane Plan It!

Horseback Riding

With three stables offering riding lessons, boarding, and more, the Wissahickon is a horse-friendly destination. See more.

Location: Monastery Stables, Northwestern Equestrian Facilities, and Courtesy Stable Plan It!

Exploring Historic RittenhouseTown

Discover the birthplace of paper in America! The seven remaining structures along the creek are all that is left of British North America’s first paper mill, built by the Rittenhouse family in 1690. See more.

Location: 206 Lincoln Drive Plan It!

Picnics

Pack a lunch, grab a blanket, and enjoy your meal in the great outdoors. Nearly a dozen designated picnic sites are located throughout the park (there's a great one located in the Mt. Airy section). There is no better place than the Wissahickon to enjoy a meal al fresco. See more.

Location: Blue Bell Park Picnic Grove Plan It!

Birdwatching

The Wissahickon, recently named an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society, is home to an impressive array of birds. Be sure to watch out for owls, wood peckers, mourning doves, orioles, herons, and more. See more.

Location: Carpenter’s Woods Plan It!

Wissahickon Environmental Center

The Wissahickon Environmental Center offers environmental education programming and has a children’s activity center. See more.

Location: 300 Northwestern Avenue Plan It!


BEYOND THE WISSAHICKON

Morris Arboretum

Explore the beauty of nature at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum, located in nearby Chestnut Hill. Stroll through the dozens of gardens on their 92 acre grounds, and be sure to stop by the Tree Adventure, a canopy walk through the arboretum! See more.

Location: 100 E. Northwestern Avenue Plan It!

Awbury Arboretum

Get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the quiet of Awbury Arboretum, located in Germantown just off of Chew Avenue. Awbury’s grounds are free and open to the public. The arboretum also offers extensive environmental education programming to area youth. See more.

Location: Chew Avenue between Washington Lane and Haines Street Plan It!

Plan it.

Click this icon for Maps, Parking, Hours, & More.

Get out!

Looking for organized fun outdoors? Click here for a listing of regularly scheduled activities.

Fun Fact

Did you know Northwest Philadelphia is home to not one, but two fantastic arboretums? Be sure to check out the Tree Adventure at Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum and the Agricultural Village in Germantown’s Awbury Arboretum.

Plan it.

Click this icon for Maps, Parking, Hours, & More.

Fun Fact

Did you know Northwest Philadelphia is home to not one, but two fantastic arboretums? Be sure to check out the Tree Adventure at Chestnut Hill’s Morris Arboretum and the Agricultural Village in Germantown’s Awbury Arboretum.