Location, Location, Location:
Tucked inside Philadelphia's Fairmount Park system, Wissahickon Valley Park is just a short pedal from one of the most populous cities in the United States—but you'd never know it. The urban oasis offers mountain bikers and other park users 50 miles of trails in an environment lush with leafy trees, native plants and animals, and a babbling creek.
Warm up your muscles on Forbidden Drive, a gravel path that runs the length of the park. From there, explore one of the numerous trails that climb out of the valley—and be prepared to make your way over roots and rocks on climbs and descents. Venturing off the gravel trail will require a $20 trail permit, which can be ordered online.
Wissahickon offers a vast trail system, chock full of single-track, rock gardens, logs and jumps for mountain bikers of all levels to hone their skills. It's easy to be intimidated the first couple times you go. Don't be. Most trails provide options around difficult obstacles.
The main trails are easy to follow, although signage is minimal. Rather than trail names, pictorial signs direct hikers, equestrians and cyclists. Because of the nature of the terrain and heavy use, trails are constantly changing, making each ride unique.Mass Appeal
One of the most distinctive aspects of Wissahickon is that it is located within city limits. But because of this, people can crowd the trails at times—especially on warm weather weekends! Keep your speed in check and be mindful of other trail users. In general, all types of users tolerate each other fairly well. Looking for solitude? Go for a night ride and all you'll see is the glow from other bike lights!Food for Thought
Grab some post-ride grub at the Valley Green Inn, located on Forbidden Drive. Eat your fill of finger food at an outdoor snackbar; an adjacent restaurant offers a more formal dining experience.Getting There
From the PA Turnpike, exit at Ft. Washington (exit 338). Take 309 South to Paper Mill Rd. Make a right on Paper Mill Rd. At the fourth light, make a hard left onto Stenton Ave. Follow one mile to Willow Grove Ave. Make a right on Willow Grove Ave. When you hit Germantown Ave., make a left. Follow for two blocks, then make a right on Springfield Ave. At the fork, bear right onto Valley Green Rd. This will take you to the center of the park where Valley Green Inn is located.
Visit the Wissahickon Valley Park section of the Fairmont Park website, or call 215-683-0200 for more information.