By Kate Siber
An astounding 10 percent of Philadelphia is parkland, and the cherry on top of the 9,200-acre network of green is the Wissahickon, a beloved overgrown gorge that plunges deep beneath the clamor of the city. “The Wissahickon is the best thing in Philadelphia,” says Sidney Goldstein, a local Meetup.com hiking group leader. “It feels like you’re in wilderness." With 57 miles of trails, there are plenty of opportunities to get lost.
Get Hiking: Pick up a map at Valley Green Inn, then head up the yellow trail to a nest of less-frequented loops through evergreen and deciduous forests frequented by deer, fox, and some 125 species of birds.
Après Hike: Dating to 1850, the Valley Green Inn welcomes hikers with a wood fireplace in winter and breezy porches in summer. Stop in the restaurant for stick-to-your-ribs American comfort food, like grilled cheese with brie, gruyere, caramelized onions, and applewood-smoked bacon.
More Info: Friends of the Wissahickon (fow.org) and Valley Green Inn (valleygreeninn.com)
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Photograph by Steve Weinik