Wissahickon Valley Park

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Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park.jpg
Map showing the location of Wissahickon Valley Park
Map showing the location of Wissahickon Valley Park
Map showing the location of Wissahickon Valley Park
Map showing the location of Wissahickon Valley Park
LocationPennsylvania, United States
Nearest cityPhiladelphia
Coordinates40°03′00″N 75°12′54″W / 40.050°N 75.215°W / 40.050; -75.215Coordinates: 40°03′00″N 75°12′54″W / 40.050°N 75.215°W / 40.050; -75.215
Area2,042 acres (8.26 km2)
Established18th Century
Governing bodyPhiladelphia Parks & Recreation

Wissahickon Valley Park contains 2,042 acres (8.26 km2)[1] of parkland in Northwest Philadelphia, including the Wissahickon Creek from its confluence with the Schuylkill River to the northwestern boundary of the city with eastern Montgomery County. Visitors travel by foot, bicycle and horse along Forbidden Drive[2] where motor vehicles are not allowed.[3] Side trails off Forbidden Drive lead up into the wooded gorge above the creek[2] along a total of 50 mi (80 km) of trails.[3] Philadelphia Parks & Recreation manages the park as the second largest part of the city's parkland areas, after the slightly larger Fairmount Park.[3] The Wissahickon Valley was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1964, including 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) of the parkland.[4]


While logging and industrialization occurred in some parts of the valley in the late 18th and early 19th century, the gorge itself was known for its natural environment, inspiring religious mystics like Johannes Kelpius,[5] writers like Edgar Allan Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Lippard, and William Cobbett; and artists like Thomas Moran, James Peale, William Trost Richards, and Currier and Ives.[6]

Forbidden Drive[edit]

Forbidden Drive, formerly known as the Wissahickon Turnpike, is a wide rocky trail running through the Wissahickon Valley from Ten Box to Cedars House at the upper end of the Park. It is called Forbidden Drive because of a successful protest against cars being allowed to drive in the park. In 1920, the Park Commission wanted to allow cars in the park, but 1,000 protesters on horseback and 12,000 spectators on foot fought against cars on the Wissahickon Turnpike. Every year, the Wissahickon Day Parade is held to celebrate the anniversary of this protest.


Valley Green Inn on Forbidden Drive
  • Valley Green Inn, a tavern built in 1850[7][8]
  • Wissahickon Hall, the first of numerous inns in the valley[9]


Walnut Lane Bridge



Statue of Teedyuscung in the northern part of Wissahickon Valley Park, by John Massey Rhind

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The City of Philadelphia, Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan" (PDF). dcnr.state.pa.us. The City of Philadelphia. 2012. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016. The City contains approximately 6,781 acres of watershed parks including East/West Fairmount Parks (2052 ac.), Wissahickon Valley Park (2042 ac.), Pennypack Creek Park (1343 ac.), Cobbs Creek Park (851 ac.), Tacony Creek Park (304 ac.), and Poquessing Creek Park (189 ac.)
  2. ^ a b "Wissahickon Valley Park". Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Friends of the Wissahickon and Wissahickon Valley Park FAQ". Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "National Natural Landmarks, Wissahickon Valley". Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  5. ^ Lucy E. Carroll (1 October 2008). The Hymn Writers of Early Pennsylvania. Xulon Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-1-60647-520-1.
  6. ^ Andrew Mark Herman (2004). Along the Wissahickon Creek. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-0-7385-3521-0.
  7. ^ Valley Green Inn
  8. ^ Anna Dubrovsky (25 August 2015). Moon Pennsylvania. Avalon Travel Publishing. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-1-61238-844-1.
  9. ^ a b "Wissahickon Valley Park Points of Interest" (archive). fairmountpark.org. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Cedars House
  11. ^ Hermitage Mansion
  12. ^ Livezey House
  13. ^ Monastery House and stables
  14. ^ Thomas Mansion
  15. ^ a b "Henry Houston Statue". Friends of Wissahickon. Retrieved 2022-02-23.

External links[edit]