Wissahickon Valley Park is located in Pennsylvania, in the Fairmount Park area of Philadelphia. The park consists of 1,800 acres and consists of 50 miles of trails, used by hikers, runners, equestrians, and cyclists. The Wissahickon Creek, which runs through the park, is stocked each year with trout, which draws many fisherman as well.
It just so happened that my birthday also fell on Wissahickon Day, where each year on the last Sunday in April people gather at the park to celebrate the fact that Forbidden Drive ( a gravel road that runs along the Wissahickon Creek) was successfully closed to cars in 1921. Around that time, a turnpike was proposed to run the length of this gravel road. However, equestrian park users protested with a parade of carriages and horses. Hundreds of horses turned out for the parade in protest of the turnpike, and the proposal was defeated. Each year on Wissahickon Day, horses and carriages return to celebrate…festivities include a horse show, parade of carriages and horses, and added this year was a Fancy Hat Competition.
We chose to skip the horse-related activities, as Cello has become “spooked” by horses lately (something we are trying to work on with her). We did see lots of horses and carriages coming and going from their activities though!
We did about a 3.37 hike that led us on the trails, as well as onto Forbidden Drive. The hike took longer than usual because of all the stops we made to take pictures, and also because Cello has suddenly begun to lunge at all bikes, as well as all horses, and random bigger dogs. She was a bit on-edge at the park with all the horses, so we didn’t want to push-it with her. We have contacted a well-recommended local trainer and hope to counter-condition these behaviors.
Here is the hike that we did, recorded on MapMyFitness:
Our hike began on Forbidden Drive at the Valley Green Inn, a historic Inn along Forbidden Drive.
About a half-mile into our hike we came to Magarge Dam that once powered the Margarge Mill wheel, the last active mill in the Wissahickon Valley, which closed in 1883.
At about 1.15 miles, we came across this neat stone bridge, archway, and stairs.
We stopped for a minute so that Cello could go in the Wissahickon Creek
Then at about 1.55 miles we reached Thomas Mill Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge still standing within the city limits of Philadelphia, and the only covered bridge in a U.S. City. The bridge spans across the Wissahickon Creek. As of 1980, the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thomas Mill Covered Bridge was originally built in 1855. It was renovated by the Works Progress Administration in 1938, and by the city of Philadelphia in 2000. The bridge is open to pedestrian traffic only.
Our first time walking through a covered bridge!
At this point, we decided to head back to Valley Green Inn, where we parked. We took Forbidden Drive all the way back to our starting point.
Overall, this is is a great hike with decent trails, historical significance, and beautiful sights along the way!