Philly Hikes during COVID-19

By: Emma Padner

With international travel barred and restaurants a scary scene, you might be looking for something to get you away and maybe get you outside. 

Maybe you live in Philadelphia and you’re craving green space and mountains. Maybe you want to see valleys and climb peaks, but don’t know where to go, and don’t know what to pack. 

I got you!

A Guide to Hiking Philly and Beyond:

  1. Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop Trail
    1. The trailhead starts at the Valley Green Inn in Wissahickon Park, and part of the hike is on Forbidden Drive. 
    2. Good for beginners and features a waterfall!
    3. Total Miles: 9.2 (but you can end earlier than that if you want!) Total Elevation: 643 feet
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Wissahickon Creek Gorge Trail
  1. Lincoln Drive Trail
    1. This trail goes through the Southern part of the Wissahickon, and is the most accessible for people who live in the city (you can get to the trailhead from Temple University from the SEPTA trains or busses)
    2. This trail is accessible all year round and is great for beginner hikers
    3. Total Miles: 4.3, Total Elevation: 347 feet
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Lincoln Drive Trail
  1. Mount Misery
    1. Don’t get worried- this trail is described as one of the “most tranquil” hikes in Philadelphia. Located in Valley Forge State Park, the trail connects with others in the state park, too!
    2. Mount Misery passes by some historic stone ruins on the path you can explore. 
    3. Total Miles: 2.9, Total Elevation: 675 feet
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Mount Misery Trail
  1. Trolley Trail
    1. Located on the West Bank of Fairmont Park, this loop starts at the Chamonix Mansion. Take the trailhead that is on the left of the mansion.
    2. Great for beginners, this trail has an awesome brick tunnel and follows a small stream through the park
    3. Total Miles: 5.0, Total Elevation: 360 feet
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Trolley Trail
  1. High Rocks or High Cliffs
    1. A bit outside of the city, these trails are located in Pipersville, in Bucks County. 
    2. Both are located in Tohickon Valley Park and are rocky, making it a perfect stop for hikers and rock climbers alike!
    3. High Ricks: Total Miles: 3.9, Total Elevation: 534, High Cliffs: Total Miles: 4.5, Total Elevation: 544 feet
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High Rocks Trail

Now into…what to pack and wear!

Day trips are generally easy to pack for, and can be done with little to no actual hiking gear. Here’s what I take on a day hiking trip. 

WHAT I WEAR FOR FALL/WINTER HIKING:

  1. Leggings or sweatpants
  2. Warm socks (that come above my ankle)
  3. Long sleeve shirt, sometimes fleece lined. 
    1. This one should be tighter and keep in your warmth
  4. Sweatshirt
  5. Zip up jacket (can be a raincoat or heavier, but will keep everything warm)
  6. Gloves
  7. Fleece Headband or hat
  8. Hiking shoes (I got them on sale!) but you can also wear sneakers
  9. Mask!
    1. You can probably take this off if no one is around, but bring it!!
    2. Just because you’re outside, doesn’t make it safe to be around people outside of your bubble maskless!

WHAT I WEAR FOR SUMMER HIKING:

  1. Shorts
  2. Tank top
  3. Socks that come above my ankle 
  4. Hiking shoes/sneakers
  5. Mask!
    1. You can probably take this off if no one is around, but bring it!!
    2. Just because you’re outside, doesn’t make it safe to be around people outside of your bubble maskless!

WHAT I BRING IN MY JANSPORT BACKPACK:

  1. Water- at least 2 big bottles
  2. Extra socks (in case mine get wet, or sweaty)
  3. Extra sweatshirt and shirt
    1. You can never have too many layers
    2. Also, something could get wet, muddy, etc
  4. Phone
    1. VERY important to bring, especially if you are hiking alone.
  5. Portable Phone Charger
  6. Map of the park I’m hiking in
    1. You can download these online or some of the entrance stands/buildings have them
  7. Toiletries
    1. Deodorant
    2. Chapstick
    3. Toilet paper (you never know when a trail bathroom will be out but please don’t leave TP or anything else on the actual trail)
    4. Santizer/hand wipes
  8. Snacks (here are some of my favorites)
    1. Cliff Bars
    2. Apple or other fruit
    3. Nuts 
    4. Trail mix
    5. Fruit snacks
    6. PB&J sandwich 
    7. Pretzels
    8. Cut up veggies 
  9. Bag for trash!

Just a reminder to leave no trace wherever you go! Whatever you hike in with, hike out with, and don’t hike out with anything you didn’t bring in. 

Have fun, stay safe and go exploring!