5 Great Winter Hikes for Philly Families
Being stuck indoors during the long winter months with kids who need to expend energy can be challenging, especially in these times. No amount of board games or Pinterest-worthy crafts can make up for good old-fashioned exercise.
But just because the temperature is lower and the days are shorter doesn't mean your family can't get outside and enjoy Philadelphia's winter scenery. The Philly area has a number of great family-friendly hiking trails that offer kids some healthy exercise and a chance to explore the outdoors. That's why it's one of the things we can't wait to do with Philly kids this winter.
So bundle up and head out to some of these great hiking destinations. You won't be disappointed.
Officials in the city of Philadelphia have extended restrictions on indoor events, dining, sports, and theaters until at least January 15. As circumstances unfold, check directly with a venue website for updates before heading out. Keep your family and others safe by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing measures. If an event appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find other exciting options.
The Best Winter Hiking Trails for Philly Families
High Rocks is a Bucks County favorite for walking, hiking, and bouldering. The dramatic Brunswick shale cliffs rise over Tohickon Creek and make for some pretty spectacular photo-ops when blanketed in snow. The High Rocks can be reached from either Tohickon Valley Park or Ralph Stover State Park, both of which are home to mature hardwood forests and a variety of bird life that are active in the winter.
The wooded trails at McKaig Nature Education Center will delight kids. Photo by Catherine Wargo Roberts
Located in the Main Line suburb of Wayne, McKaig is a membership- and donation-funded park with a network of easy trails that are perfect for families. It is a popular spot for locals to walk their dogs, so much of the animal life on the trails will be of the canine variety; kids who love pups will be in heaven. A creek runs through the forested park and can ice over, which makes it fun to throw rocks into. The west border of the park abuts Roberts Elementary School, which boasts a playground that is usually open.
Dating to 1704, this historical site in Glen Mills offers 8.5 miles of mostly flat trails (many stroller-friendly) that run through a forest, along a creek, and even by a small waterfall. The 160-acre park is gorgeous when covered in snow and the site's connection to history is interesting and fun for older kids.
What better way is there to spend a winter day than by exploring 3,500 acres of rich history in the Philly area? Valley Forge's paved trails make for easy traversing for adults and kids alike, and it's convenient for families in both the city and the suburbs. Combine the walkabout with a local history lesson —the Continental Army's winter at Valley Forge—and it's a win-win for everyone. Since the suburbs are more likely to get snow than center city, this is a good bet for white-blanketed scenery with any small amount of snowfall.
Delight in the winter scenery at Wissahickon Valley Park. Photo courtesy of Friends of Wissahickon
This destination is popular for a reason — beautiful woodland scenery within the city limits of Philadelphia. You can pick from paved or rocky trails for walking (with or without a stroller) or biking. Kids love watching the waterfowl in the Wissahickon Creek, and a stop at the Valley Green Inn for hot chocolate or coffee can warm you right up after a snowy walk.
Places featured in this article:
High Rocks State Park
McKaig Nature Education Center
Newlin Grist Mill
Valley Forge National Historic Park
Wissahickon Valley Park