It’s Summertime in the Wissahickon

Education // June 13, 2018

Summertime in Wissahickon Valley Park is beautiful… and busy! Over a million people visit our park every year and the summer months are some of the most popular. Here are some recommendations to make your next trip to the Wissahickon fun, safe, and sustainable:

• Parking is limited so think about walking, biking, carpooling, or utilizing public transportation.
• See all the Wissahickon has to offer and vary your routine. Join the 2019 All Trails Challenge! Start your journey here. 
• When parking your car, lock the doors, carry your keys with you, and do not leave valuables in plain sight in the car.
• Exercise with a partner. If exercising alone, avoid using the park during off-peak times.
• Be alert! Go headphone free. Using headphones leaves you vulnerable to physical injury and crime.
• Bring your dog on a leash. All pets are required to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. If you are looking for a place to legally let your dog off leash try these local dog parks:

Pretzel Park
MonDaug Bark Park
Schuylkill River Park Dog Run
Triangle Dog Park
Horsham Dog Park

• Trust your instincts. If you sense trouble because of a person or a place, leave. Report suspicious activity by calling 911.
• Swimming is not permitted in Wissahickon Valley Park or in any of Philadelphia’s rivers and streams. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health states that swimming and wading is not permitted due to risks of drowning, injury from submerged objects, strong currents, and other hazards. Thankfully, there are plenty of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation local pools to cool off in this summer. Below is a list of some public pools near the Wissahickon and you can find more at:

Hillside Recreation Center
201 Fountain Street
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Kendrick Recreation Center
5822-24 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19128

Pleasant Playground
6720 Boyer Street
Philadelphia, PA 19119

• Picnics are a great way to enjoy the Wissahickon, just be sure you reserve your spot. Permits are required for gatherings over 50 people. For more information on reserving a picnic space in the Wissahickon, contact Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Special Events Office at 215-685-0060 or download a permit here.
• Carry out what you carry in. Put all litter–even crumbs, peels and cores–in garbage bags and carry it home. Use a plastic bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can.
• There are over 50 miles of trails to explore! Be courteous to your fellow trail users and share the trail.
• Pay attention to trail conditions and respect trail closures. If you are leaving prints (hoof, tire, or boot), the trail is too wet to use. On wet days (and we’ve had many recently!) we recommend using Forbidden Drive, a wide gravel surface which can be used in any weather condition. If you do happen to approach a muddy spot please continue to hike or ride through it, rather than around it which widens the trail and can cause damage to the surrounding habitat.
• Call 911 for any emergencies or if your car is broken into. Use the parking lot number to report the location of your car. Stay until the police arrive.
• Call the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Rangers at 215-685-2172 for non-emergency help.
• If you are unable to call 911 or the Rangers, find an FOW Trail Ambassador (TA) or a member of the Seasonal Outreach Crew for help. TAs provide information to park visitors about the Wissahickon and report any problems they encounter to FOW Staff and Park Rangers. The Seasonal Outreach Crew will be stationed around Valley Green Inn, Devil’s Pool and Livezey Lane every weekend throughout the summer beginning in July, be sure to stop and say hi!
• Subscribe to text updates about Wissahickon Valley Park and report non-emergency problems or park damage to FOW by texting WISS to 267-966-2207.
• Visit and @FOWissahickon on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter frequently—FOW posts important park updates, project information, trail closures, & crime alerts as necessary.