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Mar 05

Walking along the Wissahickon Creek

Posted on March 5, 2015 at 1:15 PM by Michael Stokes

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A hike along the Wissahickon Creek from near the Schuylkill River to North Wales is an adventure through vastly different landscapes.  The best thing about it is that you can arrive at the starting point by train and return to that point by train if you plan out your trip carefully.  This winter I began my Wissahickon adventure at the Wissahickon SEPTA Station, and descended what seemed like over 100 steps down to the trail along the Wissahickon Creek.

The first eight miles of the walk were generally within the deep gorges chiseled by the Wissahickon Creek over millions of years.  By walking along the beautiful Forbidden Drive, you pass under huge oaks, hemlocks and tulip poplar trees along the valley surrounding the cascading creek.  History in this area is on display at different old mill dams, bridges, the Valley Green Inn and old mill buildings. 

Emerging out of the gorge on Northwestern Avenue, you follow the Wissahickon Creek through the fertile limestone belt that crosses Montgomery County.  Here instead of deep gorges and forests, you find rolling hills and farmland- particularly the iconic Erdenheim Farm landscape.  There is a gap in the trail system in this section so pick your way carefully along Stenton Avenue.  After crossing into Fort Washington State Park you enter the broad Jurassic sandstone and shale shaped floodplains. 

The Green Ribbon Trail along the Wissahickon Creek from Fort Washington State Park to North Wales provides a great trail and natural history experience.  This trail maintained by the Wissahickon Valley Wateshed Assocation chases the Wissahickon Creek along broad and wooded flood plains.  Hikers have the thrill of crossing the creek several times on cleverly designed stepping stones and bridges. 

You have easy access to train stations on the Lansdale SEPTA Regional Rail Line at Gwynedd Valley,  Penllyn, Ambler and Fort Washington - all very near the trail.  Also, for the real adventurists, you can do the full trail all the way to the North Wales SEPTA Station, giving you over 18 miles to get to know one of the very important streams in the Philadelphia Area.  That’s where my hike ended just in time to catch a train bound for Philadelphia so that I could make my connection back to where I started at the Wissahickon Station.

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