IMAGE VIA PATRICK SCHNEIDER | UNSPLASH
The Philadelphia area offers a wide range of breathtaking views that are an added bonus to strolling one of the many hiking paths. Whether seeking a day trip or simply a quick stop to catch you breath nearby, Philly nature has got your back. You can explore these local paths anytime of the year.
Peace Valley contains 14 miles of natural trails in the woods and meadows of Bucks County. Take a mild half-hour hike on the Upper Woods Trail or take your time wandering down a longer two-hour walk to Lake Galena. With its picturesque white pine grove, the Evergreen Trail is a perfect hike for the holiday season.
Check out the natural and historic sites of Montgomery county and choose from six trails spanning over 30 miles at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The Joseph Plumb Martin trail is both beautiful and educational, and the off-road Mount Joy or Mount Misery paths are musts for those who enjoy a steeper, more challenging traverse.
The Forbidden Drive is mostly flat, paved with gravel and shaded by a deciduous canopy whose hue becomes warmer in the autumn months. Be sure to check out the Thomas Mill Road Bridge, the only covered bridge within Philly’s city limits as well as the hard-to-find Tedyuscung statue hidden along the hillside.
15-miles northeast of Philly, this nonprofit conservatory in Huntingdon Valley offers 11-miles of trails that are open and free to the public. As its name might suggest, the trail follows along the slow-moving Pennypack Creek and finishes with a panoramic view across the Delaware River. The 5.4-mile trail cuts across babbling brooks and sloping hills and is an easy-going walk or run for all fitness levels.
This 20-mile rails-to-trails path connects the Schuylkill River Trail and the Audubon Loop. Referred to as the “Perky,” it was formerly the Perkiomen Line of the Reading Railroad and now is a popular hiking and running trail about an hour northwest of Center City. Look out for horseback riders trotting by your side and even cross country skiers cruising by during the winter months.
Also known as the Green Ribbon Preserve Trail, this nearly 20-mile path follows along the Wissahickon Creek where wood ducks, great blue heron, and migrating raptors flock in the fall. Some sections are paved, while others remain more rugged as the trail system is still being completed. Be sure to check the website as some paths are often closed due to high water in the rainy months.
Just 16 miles from Center City, this gorgeous Delco park is an easy green getaway. Great for biking, hiking and trout fishing in the creek, the park is also open for in-season deer hunting. Several paved trails provide a great surface for road running, too, if that’s more your speed.
With a name stemming from the temporary fortification built by George Washington’s army during the autumn of 1777, this 493-acre park is now famous for its dogwood trees that blossom along its trails in the springtime. Popular for family picnics, bikers, hikers and runners alike, a wide array of trails ensure that every occasion has its place.
This Gladwyne-based park is full of paths with varying inclines and often crosses a meandering creek at the bottom of the hill. For dog-lovers, the park is off-leash territory and your furry friends will be free to roam as they please. If losing Spot is a concern, the park also contains a fenced-in dog park where you can supervise Sparky’s social time.
This Collegeville-area trail sports a 4.7-mile, lightly traveled loop filled with footbridges that run along the waterway. The creek itself is healthy and well stocked and has become a favorite with anglers. Cross over the equestrian trail before looping back to the beginning, just be sure to watch your step.
This 45-acre state park in Bucks County is chock-full of climbable rocks offering a view of the Tohickon Creek flowing beneath. While the park is certainly popular among rock climbers and kayakers when the water runs high, the area also has a number of moderate trails that climb above the creek where hikers can watch their boat-based counterparts bob and splash down the whitewater.
This Bucks County hidden gem spans 1,700 acres in Newtown and Northampton. The Neshaminy Creek weaves through the park, dividing the land into several unique sections that are hilly in some areas and flat in others. Hike out to the covered bridge and learn about the fire that destroyed it years ago, or explore the nearly 25 miles of open trails that crisscross the dog-friendly (on-leash) park.
This wild bird sanctuary in Albany Township contains 2,400 acres of land dedicated to raptor conservation and is the first refuge of its kind in the United States. The sanctuary has over eight miles of trails that vary in difficulty, stretching across the mountain and up to the summit. With numerous overlooks and places to birdwatch, we recommend bringing your binoculars if you plan on catching a glimpse of the mountain’s namesake.
Just northwest of Reading, Blue Marsh Lake has over 36 miles of trail that populates the area around the man-made reservoir. A single-track loop that spans the distance around the lake is best for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding while boat launches, a small beach, and picnic areas round out the possibilities of outdoor activity.