Best Hikes Near Philadelphia  by John L. and Debra Young

Best Hikes Near Philadelphia Guide Book

by John L. and Debra Young (Falcon Guides)
Best Hikes Near Philadelphia  by John L. and Debra Young
The beauty of the hikes in this book is that you won’t have to take a personal loan to buy gas for your vehicle, simply because none of the hikes listed here are more than 60 miles from Center City. Also, the majority of the hikes in this guide are rated easy to moderate, so other than a good pair of hiking boots, you won’t need any expensive equipment to enjoy these day hikes. In short, there are no hard climbs in this guidebook; on the other hand, there are plenty of easy to moderate hills to climb in southeastern Pennsylvania.

© 2016 John L and Debra Young/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes Near Philadelphia" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

If you’re looking for a place in the city of Philadelphia where you can get away from it all, this hike just might be the place for you. This is an easy hike that takes you through a natural area, which once was a famous nursery, on a network of well-marked, color-coded trails. You’ll get a chance to see a fenced enclosure that shows what the area would look like without the wildlife munching on the understory. The trail then leads you to the ruins of Black Farm, which you can explore before you reach the giant magnolia tree that has fallen and is today called the Fallen Magnolia.
Shawmont, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
You begin this hike on a mowed pathway that runs between a wind-blown knoll on your left that was once a farmer’s field, and a grassy floodplain area on your right. You cut down off the knoll and enter a young floodplain forest that is so well maintained it reminds you of a park. The trail then meanders through a mature hardwood forest, over a few streams, and into a pine plantation as you complete the circle through the period farm buildings and back to where you started.
Chester Springs, PA - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 1.8
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You begin this easy hike by walking downhill to a pristine stream where you can explore an authentic millrace dam, then visit a log cabin before you cross the stream on an historic three-arched stone bridge. Next, it’s on to the Audubon Trail and a visit to the bird-viewing platform; then it’s a short hike to the Pond Trail, where you can explore the aquatic plants and wildlife. From here you take the mowed Meadow Path and pass an historic pavilion on your way back to the parking area.
New Hope, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
This moderate hike begins in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in East Fairmount Park in the city of Philadelphia. Here, you walk on sidewalks that lead past baseball fields and picnic areas as you begin a slight uphill climb to the woodsy section, where you get off the sidewalk and pick up the dirt trail that leads you uphill into the forest. Along this section you see colorful signs that announce you will soon get a chance to explore a number of eighteenth-century mansions in what was once an affluent section of the city known as the Schuylkill Highlands. But before the mansions, you get to an overlook where you can see the colorful boats plying the waters of the Schuylkill River.
Camden, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
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There are a number of interesting and fascinating features on this easy hike, but the most striking feature is the gray-stone walls that run alongside and throughout the park. The walls were constructed by Italian masons for the du Pont family back in the 1800s, when the land that is now the park was their dairy farm. Add to this, rolling hills, beautifully maintained trails through woodlands, the Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve, and of course, the centerpiece of the park, Brandywine Creek, and you are all set for a very pleasant hike. Be sure to bring your camera, your children, and a picnic lunch.
Wilmington, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
As you start this hike, you’ll see plenty of young mothers with their young children. One reason for this is that the trailhead shares the parking lot with the park playground; another reason is that this is an easy hike with plenty of trees that provide deep shade. There are bicyclists pedaling along as well, but there is room for everyone on this 10-foot-wide trail, which is mostly paved and well-maintained. You get up-close views of Perkiomen Creek and two creek crossings—one on a modern iron bridge, the other on an old railroad trestle bridge.
Schwenksville, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
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This easy hike leads you through a forest where you will see a beaker hazelnut, a grandfather beech, sour gum trees, aspens, sassafras, and a white oak, without ever leaving the trail. In other words, somebody laid out this trail, the first loop, with a purpose. The second loop, starting with a stop at the old-time springhouse, leads you past a stand of white pine, then red pine, as you take the trail alongside the Churchville Reservoir. Is it possible to learn about the natural world while you’re hiking? Here at the Churchville Nature Center, the answer is yes. Their mission is to instill an awareness and appreciation of the natural world in all people through education and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship with a commitment to the preservation of resources and wildlife habitat.
Churchville, PA - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 1.6
This easy hike is long enough to give you a good workout as you explore the many facilities and activities the park has to offer. For example, if you’re a mountain biker, the park has a wooded section that has over 8 miles of single-track over mostly flat terrain with plenty of stream crossings. You can rent a kayak, play tennis, or spread your blanket under a tree and have an old-fashioned picnic. There are also modern bathrooms and pavilions with grills for families or large groups.
Langhorne, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
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It’s not often that you can walk in the footsteps of an American icon, but on this hike that is exactly what you will be doing as you hike the same lanes and forest paths where Daniel Boone once tilled the land, trapped and hunted, and learned the skills that would serve him so well as an adult. This easy hike leads you from one building to the next, giving you a feel for how things were back in the mid-1700s. Be sure to bring your children.
Birdsboro, PA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 1.7
This hike is a double whammy: First, it’s a short, easy hike alongside one of the prettiest streams in Bucks County, where you might see fishermen in waders casting about for native trout or a pair of kayakers floating along as the tree-shaded stream sporadically reflects the sun. And second, the trail leads you to an historically significant eight-arch bridge, where the only thing you’ll need is a camera. As you begin this hike, it may be hard to imagine that you are walking into the cradle of American history, but you are. The original bridge that crossed Neshaminy Creek at the site of the Eight Arch Bridge was built in 1710 to convey travelers on the Old York Road across the creek and on to points north to New York City or south to Philadelphia, as well as all the important cities and villages along the way.
Langhorne, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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If you’ve ever wanted to get away from it all, take this moderate hike. You start out walking where the fishermen walk, alongside Neshaminy Creek, where you will see the “fishermen’s paths” that lead to their favorite spots along the bank to start casting. Then it’s off for a short climb to a flat area of agricultural fields surrounded by a mixed-hardwood and evergreen forest. It is here, on this wind-blown plateau, that you will find the solitude you seek.
Langhorne, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
This is an easy, flat hike. It is rated moderate due to its length. If you have two vehicles and want to shorten this hike, park one of your vehicles in the parking lot near Errico’s Market in Stockton, then drive south on Route 29 to the original parking lot starting point. This will give you a 4.8-mile hike. On the other hand, if you want to do the entire length, you need to know there is very little shade on this trail, so the earlier in the day you start the better, and once you get away from the towns, there is no place to get water. The bottom line is this is a great hike where you can explore the historic canal system, then hike across an historic bridge over the Delaware River, then pass through a number of quaint villages, where it will take all of your willpower not to linger.
Upper Black Eddy, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.1
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You hike along the tree-lined perimeter of Fort Mott State Park to the Delaware River, where you walk on a sea wall and take in the views. From there you take the Interpretive Trail through a small forest and on to the serenity of Finn’s Point National Cemetery. Then it’s back to the fort for a tour of the massive gun emplacements, Officer’s Row, the moat, and other mysterious buildings, tunnels, and towers. While this hike includes a forest trail and dirt road, the actual tour of Fort Mott is on paved pathways and could be considered handicapped accessible.
Pennsville, NJ - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
Even though this easy hike is only two miles long, you’ll experience two completely different ecosystems as you cross over the fall line that separates the coastal plain from the Piedmont Plateau. Along the way you’ll see plants such as the high bush blueberry that thrive in the coastal plain, and you will spot honeysuckle and sphagnum moss on the Piedmont Plateau side. Most of the land on the fall line in the Philadelphia area has been highly developed with housing tracts, malls, and commercial endeavors of all sizes and shapes. But when residents in Lower Wakefield Township were faced with the decision of what to do with the last 300 acres of forest and bogs in their community that encompassed the fall line, they voted to turn the unique slice of land into a nature preserve. In 1981 a grassroots group of nature enthusiasts began to lay out and create the trails.
Yardley, PA - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 2
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After you finish this 2.5-mile loop, you can visit historic Hopewell Furnace, a oncethriving industrial plantation built on the border of Berks and Chester Counties in 1771. See a restored iron maker’s village, complete with implements and tools, sheds, furniture, and houses.
Elverson, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
Want a hike where you can take your children and your parents? This is it. Along this easy, flat hike, you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty and the excitement of spotting some of the 280 species of birds that have been seen here. In season you can check out the migratory birds as they make their spring and fall journeys. On this 1,200-acre refuge, you can bike, fish, or take a canoe and do your bird watching and amphibian and reptile sighting from the water. Once written off as a useless swamp, the refuge will surprise you with more than fifty species of wildflowers, an abundance of deciduous trees, and wildlife from white-tailed deer to turtles.
Woodbury, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
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There are a number of interesting trails here, and there are a number of ways to connect the various trails to create your own hike. This hike is an easy hike for beginners who like their adventures more or less on level ground; in other words, there’s very little climbing. At the start of the hike, you pass the historic Mill Grove home where John James Audubon once lived. From there you walk a forest footpath, then a mowed path through a delightful meadow, and on to make a loop around an ingenious chimney sweep tower.
Audubon, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
On this short, easy hike you’ll have the chance to experience the grandeur of one of the world’s premier horticultural showplaces. Along the way you can visit twenty outdoor gardens—each fashioned in a unique landscape of similarly colored flowers— a 41/2-acre glass encased conservatory, and the largest greenhouse in the world, and you can stop and smell the roses or any of the other 11,000 different types of plants. You will also pass by the Italian Water Gardens on your way to Hourglass Lake and the 86-acre Meadow Garden area before you climb the Eye of Water tower as you complete this one-of-a-kind hiking experience.
Kennett Square, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.9
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There are a number of highlights on this moderate hike that just about anybody could do. After you hike through the activity and picnic area of the park, you cross Pennypack Creek on an interesting footbridge to the wooded area where you can get up close to Council Rock, a 100-foot-high gneiss outcrop where chiefs of the local Lenni Lenape Indians met on the topside to celebrate or to seek or give counsel. You then hike uphill to get on top of the boulder to check out the view. From here, the hike leads you back across the footbridge and alongside Pennypack Creek to connect for a short time with the Pennypack Trail before you cut away and reenter the forest before you return to the paved park roads and the parking lot where you started.
Huntington Valley , PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
On this flat hike you’ll walk on the first canal and towpath begun in the United States. Your hike starts from the gentrified downtown area of Manayunk, a former workingclass neighborhood that is now a popular spot for upscale restaurants, night clubs, and shopping. As you make your way farther out of town, you can immerse yourself in the history of the industrial era as you pass rail lines, old canal locks, the ruins of the lock tender’s house and the sluice house, and old textile mills. There are also landscaped areas along the trail, with trees and benches that provide a shaded resting spot with a wide-open view of the Schuylkill River.
Shawmont, PA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
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