Saunders Woods Preserve

25 acres — 1.5 miles of trails

What’s to love

This peaceful wooded preserve is owned by the Natural Lands Trust, one of the region’s oldest and most comprehensive conservation organizations. Side note: the Trust manages 42 separate pieces of land, but for visitors, it recommends a shortlist of 18 of the most accessible preserves—there’s even an app to help you find one close to you!

The Saunders Woods Preserve itself isn’t large, and its hiking trails form an easy loop around an open meadow (where dozens of new saplings are currently being cultivated) and through the woods along the banks of an unnamed (but very picturesque) tributary of the Schuylkill. As you explore, you’ll find birdhouses, trails lined with wildflowers, and a 19th century barn and springhouse.

Tips and quirks

  • You can still get in a nice long hike by hooking up with the Bridlewild Trail—a network of hiking and equestrian paths that wind through the Gladwyne community on largely private land. Maps of Bridlewild are hard to come by, in part because of the private property thing, but the network stretches for miles through the area’s rolling hills. Find the connection at the north tip of the Preserve, and be on extra good behavior.
  • Rolling Hill Park is nearby. It seems possible to make it most of the way over there via Bridlewild, if you were so inclined.
  • Curious about the other 17 preserves on the Natural Lands Trust list? If you hike them all and collect a code word displayed at each one, the Trust will send you a prize! So far I have…two code words.

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Last updated: April 16, 2021

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.