What’s to love
Even though it’s sometimes characterized as a “mini Wissahickon,” in the decade I’ve lived in the city I’d only attempted to check out the southern end of Pennypack Park once, entering it near Holmesburg’s Insectarium (one of Philly’s strangest museums and a story for another day). But the southern end is a little underwhelming, and I wasn’t motivated to explore the rest of it. Until now!
I’m happy to report that the northern end of Pennypack—between Pine Road and the Roosevelt Boulevard—is a beautiful green oasis more than capable of lifting your spirits and soothing your nerves. The park very much resembles the Wissahickon, with the wide, tranquil Pennypack Creek flowing through its center, and a paved bike path mirroring the creek. And like the Wissahickon, well-maintained bridle trails and hiking paths wind up and down the ridges surrounding the creek.
I haven’t had a chance to hike the whole park, so I would recommend this blog post for more information on trails and safety. It’s difficult to find a usable map of the trails at Pennypack—a version is posted at the parking lots, but it’s not particularly legible. Luckily most of the paths seem straight-forward, and if you get lost you can always follow the water!
Tips and quirks
- If you are looking for a laugh, the horse trails between Verree and Krewstown are rotten with chipmunks. They’re adorable and they might let you take their picture.
- Pennypack is home to the oldest surviving roadway bridge in the United States: the Frankford Avenue Bridge, erected in 1697. George Washington himself has crossed it.
- The southernmost end of the park is referred to as Pennypack on the Delaware, and it’s an important bird habitat. I’ve heard rumor of eagles here, but on the day of my one visit it appeared that a portion of the habitat was fenced off and I didn’t see much worth reporting.
- The Friends of Pennypack Park organize a monthly walking tour of nature and local history. Check out the dates!
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Last updated: April 16, 2021