Ridley Creek State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:351 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA
Hours:Sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: At parking area for park office and at many picnic areas
Water/Snacks: None

This beautiful state park welcomes the whole family to enjoy diverse activities.

Ridley Creek State Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Ridley Creek State Park is a beautiful and popular—but not overcrowded—state park close to the city and the western suburbs, where people of all ages can enjoy the attractions of woods and streams. The woods are full of wildlife and the trails lead you up and down hills, along and across streams, and over and under bridges. At 2,606 acres, the park is a major green space in the midst of a densely populated area.

Paved multiuse trails wind through the park; they’re perfect for bikers, walkers, and strollers. A network of paved, non-bike trails connect to the park office parking area and provide more secluded walks through the woods for strollers and young children. It’s pleasant to walk or take a snack break in the remnant formal gardens that surround the historical mansion that now houses the park office.

If your family is ready for a more challenging hike, the park has many miles of well-maintained trails that traverse the wooded hills (note that bikes are not allowed on unpaved trails). These are well marked in different colors that correspond to the trail names on the trail map. For a good introduction to these trails, start at Parking Lot 7 next to the main office parking area and pick up Yellow Trail; it passes through meadows and downhill through woods to asmall stream. After walking along the stream, you can leave the trail and loop back across a bridge via the paved drive to the mansion. In winter, these trails are fun to snowshoe or ski on, and a sledding slope is outside the main office. About 5 miles of trails are open to horses; trailers can be parked at Lot 8. Hidden Valley Horse Farm, in the park, offers riding lessons. 

Fishing is popular along the creek, notably in the historical Sycamore Mills area (Chapel Hill Road parking). The creek is stocked with trout in season. Along the trails are several ruins of old mill buildings, with signs describing the history of the site. An ADA-accessible fishing dock is here too. Numerous picnic areas and several playgrounds are throughout the park.

Remember: The Chapel Hill Road parking lot can get crowded because of its easy access to the multiuse trails and Ridley Creek. Fishing in Ridley Creek south of Sycamore Mills Dam is fly fishing, catch-and-release only. Dogs must be leashed.

Plan B:

The Colonial Penn Plantation, on the park grounds, is a 300-yearold working farm that vividly demonstrates what it was like to live in Colonial Pennsylvania (fee charged; open weekends April to November; colonialplantation.org).

Where to Eat Nearby:

West Chester Pike (PA 3), on the northwest border of the park, is a commercial thoroughfare.


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