Don’t miss a beat, plan your retreat!
Wissahickon Valley Park is a destination spot for Philadelphians and beyond. It’s a place where you can retreat from city-life and enjoy nature. With 1800-acres of forested gorge and 50-plus miles of trails, the Wissahickon Park offers a natural refuge for those who want to reconnect with nature, get some fresh air, and explore the trails. While we’re thrilled many people are enjoying the Wissahickon Park, the record number of visitors the park has seen over the past couple of years takes a toll on its integrity. In order to make the most of your visit with increasing crowds, we encourage park visitors to plan ahead.
Here are some of our tips and tricks for enjoying the Wissahickon:
1. Make a plan!
As we mentioned before, the Wissahickon Valley Park has seen an increase in the number of visitors over the past couple of years. Expect to share the park with others, including trails and parking. Parking at popular trailheads like Valley Green and Bells Mill Road usually get completely full on the weekends. Alternate parking locations for Valley Green and Ten Box are listed on FOW’s maps page, as well as how to get to them easily by public transportation.
While there are currently temporary facilities at major trailheads, bathrooms in the park are not always easily accessible or readily available—so plan accordingly.
Lastly, we recommend you download our app! Our free app has an interactive map of the Wissahickon Park with trails, parking, amenities and points of interest. You can also listen to audio tours with FOW Trail Ambassadors on the park’s history, geology, and nature. Plus, there is park information, tips, and FAQ—all of these features on the app are available in English and Spanish!
2. Keep it Cool- In More Ways Than One!
While spring weather is not as harsh as the summer, it’s still a good idea to bring plenty of water to drink and put on sunscreen.
It’s not just you out there, others are enjoying the park as well. So be cool and share the trail! Be kind and courteous to others in the park, including following trail guidelines on your hike, bike, or ride. Also, minimize your impact on the park’s habitat and wildlife by staying on established trails.
Dogs are welcome in Wissahickon Valley Park, as long as they are leashed at all times. Not only does leashing your dog keep them safe, off-leash dogs can disturb the habitat and ground-nesting animals. Also, you must also clean up after your dogs—not just because it’s cool and courteous, but leaving your pet waste is a health hazard.
Both ticks and poison ivy are present in the park. We recommend wearing long pants and doing a tick check after any hikes (Lyme disease and poison ivy rash aren’t very cool).
3. Leave No Trace!
We are all responsible for making sure that we leave the Wissahickon better than we found it. When visiting the park, follow the Leave No Trace principles to make sure that the park remains enjoyable for future generations of visitors and sustainable for wildlife.
If you brought it in, bring it out, including trash. Either bring a bag with you to carry out your trash or use one of the various trash receptacles located throughout the park. Even things like banana peels, apple cores, and nuts that may seem compostable, have a negative effect on the wildlife. So again, if you brought it in, bring it out.
Have more questions? You can find additional information on our Plan Your Visit Page!
Important Numbers in Case of an Emergency:
To report park damages, downed trees and littering: Submit a report here.
To report non-emergency situations, including swimming and noise complaints: Call the Park Rangers at (215) 685-2172 OR call 311 to report to the city.
To report a wildlife incident: Call the PA Game Commission at (610) 926-3136.
If you need help right away because of a medical emergency or an immediate danger: Call 911 and describe your emergency. Use the closest cross-street to describe your location.
Emergency numbers are posted at major trailheads in the park. There are also help locator numbers on Forbidden Drive and trail signage markers, so you can accurately report your location in areas of poor service.