I spent a lot of my childhood enjoying the hiking near Philadelphia. There are not a ton of options in Philadelphia itself, but head about 30 minutes out of the city and you have a ton of options. The hiking near Philadelphia tends to be full of wildlife, lush vegetation, and have easy to follow trails.
If you want some history in your hike, check out Washington’s Crossing Historic Park. The hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, where Washington had lookouts to spot the British in 1776. From there you go through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then to soldier’s graves from 1776 and a farm that was used as a field hospital.
Popular with rock climbers and kayakers, Ralph Stover State Park otherwise is off the radar of most hikers, but not locals. The High Rocks hike takes you along the cliffs above Tohickon Creek, eventually meandering down to the creek itself. A scenic and unique hike in the heart of Bucks County.
If you’re looking for a scenic trip along the river with lots of wildlife viewing, including bald eagles, try hiking Delaware Canal State Park and the Delaware and Raritan State Park trails. There are short hikes that bring you onto a dam in the middle of the river, a hike in historic New Hope and Lambertville, and a riverside hike with great wildlife viewing and a historic mill and settlement.
The biggest challenges you’ll probably face on some of the more primitive hikes is poison ivy and ticks (that carry Lyme’s disease).
Learn how to identify poison ivy and wear long pants if possible. Watch this video on poison ivy oil removal to understand how it all works and how to avoid getting a rash. If you do brush up against poison ivy, showering when you get home and scrubbing with a soapy washcloth will remove the oils that cause the rash before they can take hold.
Ticks are another story. I was one of the first people to get Lyme’s disease in Pennsylvania (yeah!). It’s not fun. Avoid brushing against plants and tall grass, and use Deet. Spray your clothing with permethrin, which will kill ticks and lasts for several washings. After you’re done your hike, check your body for ticks. They tend to hide in the warm spots, like armpits and private parts. A good post-hike routine includes a shower with washcloth scrub, and running your clothes through the dryer to kill any bugs.
New Hope, PA is a great hub to explore the area. Only an hour or so away from New York or Philadelphia, there are restaurants, unique shopping, tourist attractions, seasonal events, and great places to stay. Check out the New Hope Chamber site for more information. If you go to New Hope, Topeo Gallery and Ferry Hill are worth a visit. Mainly because they’re run by my family, but also because they’re awesome.
|Goat Hill Overlook Hike||1||70||Easy||Leashed|
|Lambertville Wing Dam Hike||1.6||100||Easy||Leashed|
|Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike||2.7||690||Easy||Leashed|
|Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower||3||525||Easy||No|
|Delaware Canal State Park Towpath Hike||7.2||150||Easy||Leashed|
|Bulls Island State Park – Delaware River Trail||7.5||175||Easy||Yes|
A short, easy hike with great views of New Hope, Lambertville, and the Delaware RIver. The hike to Goat Hill Overlook takes you to the spot where George Washington and once stood.
A short hike to the scenic Lambertville wing dam, which brings you (literally) into the middle of the Delaware River.
The High Rocks hike at Ralph Stover State Park offers scenic cliffside views of Tohickon Creek and quintessential Bucks County scenery. This hike is a local’s favorite.
This easy hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then ends at historic soldier graves from 1776 at Washington Crossing State Park. It’s a great hike with tons to see in a short distance.
This easy hike along the Delaware Canal State Park is full of beauty and history. Shaded paths, river views, and peace and quiet are the hallmarks of this hike, suitable for all levels of hiker.
This hike from Stockton, NJ to Bulls Island State Park takes you on a loop through NJ and PA along the Delaware River Trail, with great river views. Although it’s a little long, it’s very flat and a great hike for beginners.