Palmyra Cove Nature Park

250 acres — 9.5 miles of trails

What’s to love

Just over the Tacony-Palmyra bridge, right on the banks of the Delaware sits this mid-size nature park that’s frankly a bit of a curiosity. The park is owned by the Burlington County Bridge Commission and (according to the few sources I could find) it was a mostly a dredge-spoil and leaf-waste dump until 1999, when the Commission allowed nature to take back over.

Since the park is young, the woods here are…scraggly, I think is the right word. You’re definitely going to see some invasive species. And honestly, some litter. Tires. Maybe even a rusted-out car or two. But there are plenty of interesting natural environments to explore, such as a large tidal cove, the river and creek shorelines, some wetlands, and several pools full of frogs, turtles, birds, and even beavers! There are beavers here!

This park is an excellent place to spot some wildlife, as it turns out. The staff keeps a database of sightings, and the trails and lookout points are also labeled with lists of frequently spotted animals. Great horned owls? Foxes? Wild turkeys? Get out there and see some warblers! Or, if you’re more like my hiking partner and me, accidentally upset a pair of groundhogs while trying to figure out how the heck to get to the beaver pond.

Tips and quirks

  • The most interesting hike is probably the Cove Trail, which takes you along the edge of the Delaware, past several overlook decks built along the tidal cove, and across wetlands on a set of wavy boardwalks. This trail dead-ends into private property, though, so be prepared to do it all in reverse.
  • If you visit during low tide, a path on the actual shoreline of the Delaware is also accessible.
  • This park doesn’t allow bikes or pets. Though the wide, flat paths would be excellent for runners.
  • A pair of endangered peregrine falcons has been nesting on the Tacony-Palmyra bridge since 2008, and the nature center has set up a webcam for them. Check it out!

Last updated: November 22, 2019

A small disclaimer: This website is not affilitated with the City of Philadelphia, its parks department, local non-profits, or any state or federal organization. Opinions reflected here are solely the author's: a regular person who happens to enjoy hiking. Like all outdoor activities, hiking carries some risks (including medical and personal safety risks) and requires preparation and supplies. Routes and conditions may have changed since this post was written. Make sure you follow all posted rules and local laws, as certain activities (like off-leash dogs or leaving marked trails) are frequently prohibitied.