Find Your New Favorite Picnic Spot This Summer

News // June 13, 2024

Some park visitors come to the Wissahickon to sweat it out on the trail, and some visit to sit out in the shade. If you find yourself leaning towards the latter, find these perfect places in the park to sit back, relax, and have a picnic! 

A few quick reminders… 

Don’t forget your Leave No Trace principles. Pack out what you packed in and properly dispose of all trash. You can enjoy the park and also leave it better than you found it. 

Make sure to check for ticks after visiting the park, especially in tall grasses, right when you get home. Check your scalp, hair, armpits, and groin, and throw your clothes in the dryer on high, just in case they hitched a ride in your jeans. 

Stay safe: bring water and wear appropriate footwear. Don’t get caught without a way to hydrate and prepare for changes in soil grade and elevation.  

Onto the fun stuff… 

Part of the WPA initiatives in the Wissahickon included picnic areas across the park from as early as the 1930s. Learn about the history of the Works Progress Administration in the Wissahickon here on our YouTube channel. Today, our park visitors still enjoy many of the designated picnic areas built by WPA. Click here for a picnic area map!  

Salvatore Pachella Field is one of the most accessible picnic areas on our list. This entrance to the park has a large parking lot right off of Henry Ave and is also accessible from the Wissahickon Transportation Center via the 27 bus. Walk right up to this pavilion from the parking lot and then take a hike to the nearby Valley Green Area. Looking for a way to access the Valley Green Inn without having to park in this area of the park during the construction of the Valley Green Run Restoration and Pedestrian Bridge Project this summer? The hike from Pachella to the Valley Green area is about a mile via the Yellow Trail. 

Similarly, for ease of parking, check out Blue Bell Park! This area also includes a picnic pavilion and plenty of space to lay a blanket in the surrounding field. 

Did you know that Bells Mill & Forbidden Drive is the most visited park entrance? It also has two picnic areas, one on either side of the Creek. This is the perfect place to make a pit stop on a hike or bike ride. Leave your cooler and lunch in your car at the Bells Mill Parking Area, take Forbidden Drive north or south, turn back to have a quick snack here, and hop back on the trail! Great for people watching due to its popularity or a great central point to meet up with friends from surrounding Roxborough and Chestnut Hill neighborhoods.  

Who doesn’t love the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge? This is certainly a postcard-worthy location to bring out-of-towners or new park visitors! What else is great about this area, you might ask? Its picnic location is fitted with benches overlooking the last covered bridge in a major US city. 

Enjoy the solitude of Harpers Meadow with a snack from the nearby Cedars House Café or the picnic tables outside of the Wissahickon Environmental Center after one of their wonderful events. Conveniently, WEC has reliable, year-round access to a composting toilet.  

Happy trails! 

Photo courtesy of Chris Baker Evens