Wawa Preserve

98 acres — 6.5 miles of trails

What’s to love

This 98-acre wildlife preserve owned by the Natural Lands Trust is located right behind Wawa headquarters, and was once used to graze their dairy cattle. Officially, the preserve includes 4 miles of trails along a creek called Rocky Run, but you can also link up to a network of Middletown Township trails, providing at least 6 miles of hiking routes through the area.

And the scenery is lovely. Expect to see dense woods, open fields of wildflowers, railroad tracks, stone bridges, and a few farm properties. I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of scenery during my hike—this one is really a hidden gem.

Tips and quirks

  • The two main Middletown Township trails take you through the former Darlington Family Dairy property. The Darlington Trail itself climbs up along the perimeter of a native meadow and offers great views of the rolling countryside.
  • The second trail, Cornucopia, winds through the woods between neighborhoods. If you hit a road and aren’t sure what to do, typically the answer is to keep going straight through the next side yard.
  • In spite of their proximity to nearby houses, the trails are really very private and secluded. And just pretty.
  • In the opposite direction from these trails, you can connect to the Tyler Arboretum (which has its own trail network). If you want to explore the property you’ll need to pay the admission fee, but there’s also a path you can take to Ridley Creek State Park for free.
  • Download the ExploreNLT app for more maps and tips from Natural Lands Trust.

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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.