Park Conditions

Habitat Management in the Wissahickon

On the Yellow Trail near Kitchens Lane 

FOW’s Ecological Land Management Plan (ELM) has rated the slope along Wissahickon Creek as having both a high restoration potential and being a priority restoration and conservation area. Thus, the segment of the Yellow Trail by Kitchens Lane has fencing in order to clearly define the trail and protect ground nesting wildlife in the adjacent area from park user pressure, in addition to allowing the forest understory to regenerate.


Thank you for staying on trail! FOW, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, is actively monitoring and restoring areas in the park that are priority restoration and conservation areas. Even with over 2 million annual visitors, the Wissahickon remains a vital habitat for hundreds of species of flora and fauna. This is why staying on trail and embracing Leave No Trace Principles is of utmost importance in order to protect the park’s threatened forest and understory. These principles include:

  1. Staying on the designated trail
  2. Carry in, carry out
  3. Respecting other park visitors
  4. Leaving what you find

Bikers and Equestrians

Bikers and Equestrians:

Bikers, hikers, and horses: who goes first? It’s not a mystery, and following trail courtesy guidelines is key to staying safe on the trails.

  • As the largest, slowest-to-maneuver and (usually) least-predictable creatures on the trail, horses get the right of way from both hikers and mountain bikers. Hikers and bikers should avoid loud noises or sudden movements that could spook a horse.
  • Bikers should be prepared to yield for hikers and pedestrians at any time,  and should always call out on trails as they approach.
  • Though not widely known, hikers and runners going uphill have the right of way. Hiking courtesy also extends to groups: groups should walk in single file, and single hikers should yield for groups to pass.
  • Finally, all dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet within the boundaries of Wissahickon Valley Park. Dogs off leash can scare or injure horses, riders, bikers, and runners, and dog waste is a significant contributor to water quality issues in the Wissahickon Creek. Owners of off-leash dogs can also be assessed a significant fine from Philadelphia Park Rangers. Don’t let that be you!



The Wissahickon will be stocked with trout and open for fishing under the regular trout season (from April 3, 2021.)  Anglers 16 and older must secure a fishing license, including a Trout Stamp. Visit the PA Fish and Boat Commission website for details on licensing, seasons, harvest regulations, stocking dates, and consumption guidelines. Current creek conditions are linked here.

Wasps and Yellowjackets

Ground-nesting wasps are an occasional hazard in areas of the park! Please exercise caution around reported ground wasp nests. Unlike bees, wasps can sting more than once, which typically just causes temporary pain and irritation (as anyone who’s been stung by a bee or wasp knows); but if you’re allergic, stings can be dangerous or even fatal.

See the below map for 2023 sightings.

See closures, trailheads, available parking, picnic locations, and points of interest on the map below.

Page updated Wednesday, September 13th, 2023.