A Guide to the Best Hikes Near Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love is known for many things — a rich national history, many movie and TV references, culture, industry, sports, museums and those cheesesteaks. It is also one of the best cities for hiking. If you love scenic walks and hiking trails, Philly is the place for you. In fact, Outside magazine recently named Philadelphia to their list of the 20 top cities in America to live for those who love outdoor activities, citing the prevalence of parks and trails in and near the city.
There are several urban options for hiking right in the city, and many more are in the surrounding state parks and national parks that are just a short drive away. This guide is full of the best hikes near Philly for all ages and abilities. Gather your day pack and water bottle, and try any and all of these amazing trail options — they each have something unique to offer!
Valley Forge Historical Trail
For a dose of history along your walk, the Valley Forge Historic Trail is one of the best family hikes near Philadelphia. The Valley Forge Historical Trail itself is 7.7 miles long, but it is part of the Valley Forge National Historical Park, which features more than 28 miles of trails altogether — connecting directly to the Appalachian Trail.
The park is steeped in Revolutionary War History, and you will see old cabins from this era, as well as actors in period costumes. The trails are mostly flat, so they are great for families with kids and for hiking beginners. The park is also pet-friendly.
Schuylkill River Trail
The Schuylkill River Trail offers some of the best hiking in Philadelphia, with miles of urban trail and gorgeous city skyline views. Winding right through the heart of the city, this trail stretches more than 70 miles, all the way to Landingville, PA, and there are plans to extend the trail even further in the future.
Some parts of the trail are forested, with beautiful natural surroundings, while other parts provide city skyline views and cross picturesque city bridges. The Schuylkill River Trail is more of a walking path and is great for all abilities. It is also very family-friendly and pet-friendly.
Ringing Rocks Trail
For a unique hiking trail with an interesting twist, head to Ringing Rocks Trail. Located about 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County, this short trail is definitely worth the drive. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings in this county park near other noteworthy sites, such as the High Rocks Vista, along with gorgeous waterfalls — one of the closest to the city.
The real highlight on this trail, though, is the field of seemingly magical rock formations that sing when struck. This may seem strange advice for a hiking trail, but you will want to bring a hammer or another small metal tool with you to experience the ringing rocks yourself.
About two hours outside of Center City, The Pinnacle offers up a full day's adventure and is one of the longer, more challenging routes on our list, at about nine miles long. Parts of this hike are more steep and strenuous, so this one is best for more experienced hikers. However, the long drive and more advanced hike are worth the extra effort.
You will find some of the best sweeping views in the state, especially from the two scenic vistas along the trail — the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock. The gorgeous views of the fields below and surrounding mountains make for a lovely backdrop to this nature hike. This lookout trail is also known for having plenty of wildlife, so keep your eyes open for local animals in their natural habitats, too.
Sullivan Run Trail to Lewis Falls
If you really enjoy challenging hikes, Sullivan Run Trail is the route for you. This rocky trail is 8.3 miles long and located in the Ricketts Glen area. This trail is strenuous and can also be difficult to follow — so do not try this one as a beginner. Also, make sure you are well prepared and have quality maps with you.
This trail is known as one of the most beautiful trails in Pennsylvania, though. You will see plenty of cascading waterfalls and beautiful views to enjoy during every season — from fall foliage to stunning sunsets.
Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop Trail
For a beautiful nature-filled trail that is still close to the city, head to the Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop. Located in Wissahickon Valley Park, this walking trail is about nine miles, but the 1,800-acre park features over 50 miles of trail to explore.
Along the way, you will find unique features like waterfalls and scenic vistas, hidden statues and bridges. This park is a must-see destination and may just be some of the best hiking in Pennsylvania. In the park, you will find trails for different abilities, too — everything from easy walking paths to more challenging hikes.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Animal lovers and bird watchers will love hiking at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. This nature conservation area is located right in Philadelphia, so you do not have to travel far to find it and can still enjoy some views of the city. The tidal marshes of the park attract plenty of migratory birds, as well as local birds and other wildlife.
With more than 1,000 acres of protected wetlands, this park has 10 miles of hiking trails. Try the John Heinz Lake Loop, at about 3.5 miles, for a great introduction to this gorgeous area of the city.
Stay at the Philadelphia South/Clarksboro KOA for Your Philly Hiking Adventures
For anyone who loves hiking and exploring the great outdoors, the Philadelphia area is a perfect destination — and the Philadelphia South/Clarksboro KOA Holiday is the perfect place to stay. The only KOA located in New Jersey, we are just minutes away from all the fun in Philly and close to Atlantic City, New York City and all of the gorgeous surroundings of the East Coast countryside.
There are so many amazing hikes near Philly for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels, and no matter what your hiking or camping style is, Philadelphia South/Clarksboro KOA Holiday has it all. With options for Deluxe Cabins, RV Sites, Glamping Tents, regular Tent Sites, and more, you'll want to pack your camping gear and explore the area. Our campground also features plenty of amenities, fun activities and opportunities for recreation. Make your reservation online or call to stay with us and discover all of the amazing hiking trails nearby.