The Northwest is the greenest part of Philadelphia, and you don’t have to travel far to find some gorgeous treescapes. With a forecast of good weather, this weekend is a great time take advantage of our natural environment. Here are five nearby places to enjoy the last call for fall.
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Roxborough
Four miles of trails in 340 acres of private lands featuring woodlands, meadows, ponds, and wetlands, the Schuylkill Center is as close as you can get to a natural environment without leaving Philadelphia.
Awbury Arboretum, Germantown
Designed in the 1850s when this elevated site in East Germantown offered views of the Delaware River, today Awbury is a great example of the English landscape style. Broad views are broken by groupings of impressive mature trees, including several champions. Check out the meadow as well, and look for migratory songbirds.
Clifford Park, Mt. Airy
The home of Thomas Mansion and Tommy’s Hill is most popular as a sledding destination in winter. But this mini-forest of colorful native hardwoods, pretty views, and a lovely meadow for distance viewing is a great place to enjoy the sound of leaves crunching underfoot as others swirl down around you.
Laurel Hill Cemetery, Hunting Park/East Falls
Sometimes you don’t need the forest, just the trees. Built on a high ridge above the Schuylkill, it’s a great place to see the river sparkle and the colorful treeline on the opposite shore. Paved surfaces are good for bikes, and strollers; the only spot on this list that can be entirely accessed by car.
Wissahickon Valley Park
The grand dowager of them all, the Wissahickon is one of our most visually stunning places any time of year. In 1850 Edgar Allen Poe praised its towering Tulip poplars (still there) and admired the way the stream at the bottom of the deep gorge captured daylight spilling down the steep hills. He described the creek as “so remarkable a loveliness that, were it flowing in England, it would be the theme of every bard, and the common topic of every tongue.” The Wissahickon is huge, with a network of trails and paths, so it’s always possible to find a new area to explore.