Hiking in Philadelphia Hiking in Philadelphia

How to Explore Hiking in Philadelphia? 6 Best Trails

Are you bored from the same 9 to 5 every day or constantly tapping away on your phone and endlessly scrolling? USA Mocha has you set, whether you are a seasoned hiker searching for a difficult trek with amazing views, intrigued with fantastic walks and outings close to home, or hoping for a quick and family-friendly nature hiking in Philadelphia.

There are many fascinating things to do and see in Philadelphia, but hiking in Philadelphia is something you must do. The city, which is on the eastern coast of the country, has been a significant American city for many centuries and has molded modern America.

6 Best Trails For Hiking In Philadelphia

The incredible civilization of a lot of firsts in the city of Philadelphia. It is the location of the country’s earliest zoo, a pediatric hospital, a stock market, a mint, an art class, and a gallery, among other landmarks.

And obviously, Philadelphia is where the United States celebrated its first anniversary.

Photo by Geoff Alexander on Flickr

The city of Philadelphia and its outskirts may find up at the top of your wish list of ideal vacations because of its rich history, convenient location, and countless opportunities for fun and relaxation.

These settlements, as well as the nearby nature trails, provide peaceful settings with roaring cascades, lush forests, stunning scenery, and even some culture.

Philadelphia is well known for its cuisine, culture, and art, but it also has a variety of hiking trails that are ideal for exploring its beautiful natural surroundings. The greatest seasons to visit are springtime and early fall because of the northern mountain paths for volcano hiking.

Hiking in Philadelphia in the natural surroundings is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate Philadelphia’s outdoors whilst keeping in shape. Philly is a hiking lover’s dream with its abundance of routes and pathways.

If you are a metropolitan person who enjoys nature, taking advantage of any opportunities to explore the nearby woodland areas of Philadelphia can be a welcome break from the noise and commotion. Why not explore some locations with breathtaking beauty, such as panoramas and cascades, outside the four walls of your room?

The Best Hiking Trails for Hiking in Philadelphia

1. Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon valley park
Photo by Geoff Alexander on Flickr

With a total area of 2,042 acres, Wissahickon Valley Park is a well-known parkland. It is present as a path that runs the whole course of the park along the Forbidden Drive watercourse.

Starting in the early 20th century, when automobiles and any other forms of mobility were prohibited from using the creek and route, it was given its current name. Since that time, only equestrians, bikers, and hikers have been permitted to use it.

To take a more difficult trek or off-road bicycle tour, climb up the steep woodland pathways that ascend Forbidden Drive, the adventurous dirt roadway that borders the stream. Beverages and refreshments are available at the historical Valley Green Inn, the final survivor of the numerous rest stops and eateries that previously thrived here.

The area features a number of intriguing historical artifacts, notably old houses that prominent citizens still call home. The stream empties into Schuylkill River there, and the Forbidden Drive connects to Ridge Lane through a paved route.

Two cherished statues honor the early Quaker and Leni Lenape clan of aboriginal people of America who were settlers and once had adored these premises, while a number of stone piers and cottages from the Works Progress Authoritative period but now collapsing dams provide trickling remembrances of iron and steel factories which once drew force from the river.


There are numerous trekking, bike riding, horse riding, and jogging paths in the Wissahickon. Additionally, there are Devil’s Pools, where bathing is permitted but not technically allowed, as well as a few sizable Wissahickon sandstone rocks for climbers.

Aside from two sizable open fields planted with indigenous blooms and grasslands, the vast majority of the park is dense forest. One of the most favorite 6-mile treks departs from the north parking area, meanders around the wooded area that connects the two, and then heads back via Forbidden Drive. Visit and peek into the culture and history at its best.

The National Audubon Organization has named the region an Important Birding Area. An abundance of native owls, titmice, chickadees, five kinds of thrushes, woodpeckers, blue jays, Coastal wrens, melancholy birds, hummingbirds, and valentines can be found in the Wissahickon.

A trip to this place should be on your itinerary if you want to experience both wildlife and heritage whilst thinking of hiking in Philadelphia. Have a look at year-round activities at Wissahickon Valley Park to make the most of your trip.

2. Appalachian Trail

This lengthy but oh-so-worth-it Appalachian Trail is a popular trail that travels across the Appalachian Highlands’ picturesque, forested, peaceful, untamed, and culturally significant landscapes.

The Appalachian Trail was developed in 1921, was constructed by private individuals, and was finished in the year 1937. Currently, the US Forest Service, National Parks Service,  AT Foundation, multiple Government entities, and hundreds of volunteers administer the route.

Appalachian Trail
By ehrlif from Shutterstock

The Appalachian Track, which spans over 2,190 miles and 14 states, appears to be the world’s greatest long-distance trek and nature trail. Three million individuals hike the trek every year, but only a small percentage of them complete the entire distance.

Several “thru-hikers” will remind you that there is no method to adequately prepare for the difficulty of hiking the AT from beginning to end other than by actually completing it. Some of these hardcore hikers discover a lot about the wild outdoors during the initial periods of their adventure.

The timing and course of your Appalachian Trail hike are two of the main considerations you will have to make. These two concerns are connected since the season you start your journey may determine whether you go south or north.

Typically, the southern entrance on Georgia’s Springer Hill is where most hikers begin their journey. This is due to the fact that many people regard the AT’s northern stretch, which terminates on Mount Katahdin in Maine, as the most difficult portion of the entire journey.

In either case, be prepared to devote a lot of time to the path. Many AT thru-hikers spend an average of 6 months traversing the entire trail. Nevertheless, the quickest time was only 45 days.

The Best Section Of Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania - "The Golden Mile"

Would you like to reduce your pack’s overall weight a little bit? Without the need for a tent, try trekking the AT. Unknown to many, the route features more than 250 cabins spread out throughout its course that may all be accessed for free.

Even though the distances separating them occasionally varies greatly, these bunkers were designed to be around a day’s journey apart. The route should have a cabin about every 8 miles or so, but in practice, based on the environment and the proximity to water, they can be up to 30 miles away.

However, you may be capable of leaving your tents at home if you determine how far the nearest hut is and make plans adequately when hiking in Philadelphia.

3. Schuylkill River Trail

The 18-mile, multipurpose Schuylkill Riverfront Trek in Montgomery County connects Mont Clare and Philadelphia.

It was constructed on the right-of-way of the Railroad and borders the lovely Schuylkill River as it travels across numerous counties and municipalities. The route is a well-liked location for strolling, jogging, cycling, and roller skating.

Schuylkill river trail
Photo by Michael Stokes on Flickr

The National Trail Network of the U.S. Interior Department has designated it as a National Recreational Route. The route would run through the area for 22.5 miles after the final Pottstown section is finished.

Also with the finishing of Chester County’s part of the work, a 60-mile uninterrupted section to Reading from Philly will ultimately be completed. A 115-mile route connecting Pottsville with Philadelphia should be the long-term objective.

The majority of the route is constructed over defunct railroad tracks. The public can now access approximately 75 miles of tarmac and crushed rock trails.

The extraction of sandstone and mineral ores, the transit of goods by railroad, and the manufacture of steel and aluminum are all examples of the industrial growth that has occurred all along the trail route over many centuries.

4. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

There are more than 8 kilometers of different lengths and complex hiking routes on Hawk Mountaintop’s 2500 acres of forest reserves.

Trekking is only permitted from morning to sundown, and there is a trailhead charge for non-members. A stroll through the forest can lift your spirits and reacquaint you with the natural world.

Hiking Pennsylvania: Hawk mountain sanctuary

The paths, which are roughly an hour’s distance from Bethlehem, are great for both a leisurely trek and a strenuous climb. You can choose the trail that is ideal for your experience level from among the many available.

You may easily take a quick walk or hike to the top thanks to how easily all the Hawk Peak routes are connected.

The Lookout Trail, the most well-traveled route on Hawk Mount, is where trekkers begin their ascent. The route starts near the visitor center and ascends to North Lookout. You get to choose how much further you want to go from the 4 main paths.

Southern Lookout is the place on Lookout Route that is the most accessible. It is open to everybody and is just 200 yards away. From South Lookout, you have the option of continuing on the Northern Lookout Route or the Express Path.

Although it is shorter than the lengthier North Lookout Route, the Express journey is sharper than Northern Lookout.

Hawk mountain sanctuary
Photo by Richard Bonnett on Flickr.

The Escarpment Route, which needs hikers to be capable of climbing over enormous rocks, is a stunning path to proceed on if you would like to stay after completing North Lookout. You will ascend this beautiful terrain to 1,373 ft from 720 ft.

Begin at Southern Lookout and ascend the River Rocks route to begin your trek upon the Golden Eagle route. Visitors will then immediately crossover onto the Golden Eagle Route. Although mostly level, this walk has some high and difficult sections.

The Skyline path and the Streams of Rock route are connected by this trail. Give yourself three to four hours of sunlight to finish.

The park also offers several intriguing walks, namely the River of Rocks path, which wanders over rugged terrain through two boulder basins, and the Skyline route, which descends a stone wall from the Northern Lookout.

5. Ridley Creek State Park

About just about 16 miles from Philly, Ridley Creek State Park is a terrific place to escape the bustle of the metropolis. A magnificent web of routes for hikers, riders, and bicyclists can be found in the area.

Ridley Creek State Park is the ideal destination for regional trekkers and mountain runners because it is only 16 miles from Center City.

The Witch of Ridley Creek ~ Pennsylvania's Own Witch Trial

With 13 miles of trekking paths winding through undulating hillsides and an extra five miles of tarmac multi-use track alongside Ridley Creek, the park is expansive and offers lots of choices for entertainment. There are streets that are quiet and empty, and there are crossroads that are really busy.

A number of homesteads and windmills were originally located inside the park’s boundaries, which at the time was the biggest privately owned unused land in the neighborhood. These ancient structures still stand today, in varying levels of ruins and continuous usage.

In addition to having a classic lawn, horse stables, and a lot of camping, boating, hiking, and leisure activities, Ridley Creek State Area is also the abode of a magnificent mansion. Given that it has some of the prettiest, oldest woodlands in the area, it is a terrific site to visit if you are fascinated by flora and fauna.


Ridley Creek State Park
By Andrew Zudans from Shutterstock

The Southwestern corner of the parkland is connected to Tyler Arboretum. There is a fee for entry, but it is worth it. One of every tourist’s favorite natural areas close to Philadelphia is this area’s treks.

There, you may expect to observe a lot of springtime blossoms, rare flora, birds, and enormous specimen woods. You can explore the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a functioning recreation of a homestead from the late 1800s to get an insight into heritage and culture.

Additionally, Ridley Creek is a well-liked location for catching fish.

6. Ricketts Glen State Park

If you would like a challenging hike while exploring waterfalls, the Ricketts Glen Waterfall Route is unquestionably one of Philly’s best locations. Almost all of Philadelphia’s Ricketts Glen Nature Preserve is in Luzerne District, with tiny portions in Columbia County and Sullivan County.

Approximately 45 to 1 hour’s drive from Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and Scranton in Philly where you will find the Ricketts Glen Waterfall Path in Ricketts Glen Nature Preserve. It includes 21 of the facility’s 22 falls, which range in height from 11 feet almost to 100 feet.

Ricketts glen state park
Photo by Gene Krasko on Flickr

There are two lakes, a fantastic campsite, and 26 miles of Ricketts Glen trekking paths in this 13,000-acre parkland. The Falls Trail, although, is the park’s main attraction.

The waterfall biking trail normally starts to stop in November and can be reopened on ordinary in the month of April. Visit the park’s website or its social media pages, wherein Ricketts Glen frequently posts information.

Before starting your journey, you should visit the park’s headquarters to pick up a park brochure and get some background information. Although many of the cascades have signage on the stone wall nearby, the park guide can assist you to locate each one. The park rates the hike as being the “most challenging.”

It is not really the “most tough” route but it is also not a trail for beginners. Just on the gorge’s walls, there are a series of steep, unequal steps. It might not be the route for you if you have any balance issues or trouble keeping your stance, etc.

For anyone with mobility problems, the distance of the walk and the abundance of stairs do present a problem. There are no other safety measures. Hiking sticks will surely provide you with some more security if you do have any lingering doubts.

Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania - Hiking the Falls Trail & More

This is a lovely trail to discover even though there are some worries. The waterfall trek is unquestionably one you can appreciate if you are able to hike comfortably and are in decent physical condition.

Best Designated Hiking Trails Near Philadelphia

Philadelphia may be well-known for its historical attractions and chicken-fried steak, but it is also a great location for outdoor recreation. There are just so many places for hiking in Philadelphia that you won’t be required to dig into the research much.

Apart from the places mentioned above, you can also hike in Tohickon valley park, Wissahickon gorge north loop, Mount joy trail, Valley forge historic trail, Ralph Stover state park, Pinnacle trail, East Fairmount park, and many more.

There are so many places for hiking in Philadelphia, that you will forget all your worries on the rocky terrain and the colorful wooded areas nearby the best hikes near Philadelphia. Explore 10 tips to camping safely whilst also having fun to make sure you and your group are safe.

There are numerous urban green areas and paths that are fantastic places to have some clean air without having to leave the metropolis, in contrast to adjacent gorgeous hills that are ideal for snowboarding, skiing, and hiking. Given the multitude of states and federal parks nearby, hiking in Philadelphia is relatively simple.

Hiking in Philadelphia will surely be an experience you won’t forget anytime soon, happy exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When is the best time to go hiking in Philadelphia?

Without a doubt, September is among the nicest times of the year to go hiking in Philadelphia since the weather is cooler and you can see some beautiful scenery. However, the fall treks in Philadelphia are particularly memorable.

2. Does Philadelphia have a riverwalk?

Yes, the Delaware River Trail is a riverwalk that runs alongside Philadelphia’s Central Delaware River Waterfront.

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Last Updated on June 11, 2023 by somya909