Scott Arboretum and Crum Woods
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA
Hours:Grounds open sunrise to sunset daily; office open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Fee: Free
Contact:, 610-328-8025

Bathrooms: At Parrish Hall and Kohlberg Hall
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at Parrish Hall and Kohlberg Hall

At arboretum office; (click on Visitor Info)

Walk or bike on Swarthmore College’s quiet campus, and then hike down the ravine to the woods along Crum Creek.

Scott Arboretum and Crum Woods
Photo by: Susan Charkes

The 300-acre Scott Arboretum extends throughout Swarthmore College’s campus. Together with the adjacent Crum Woods, it makes a great destination for family walks.

Interspersed among the lawns and academic buildings are small themed gardens, groves of specimen trees, and themed plant collections. The Theresa Lang Garden of Fragrance, the Pollinator Garden, and the Terry Shane Teaching Garden are true to their names and are good for kids. At the Winter Garden, you’ll find flowers that bloom in cold months.

Walkways are paved or grassy, suitable for strollers, and the campus is relatively flat or gently sloped. Bikes can be used on the campus. Adirondack chairs are scattered around the lawns—there’s even a set made for giants, at the main building overlooking Magill Walk. You can picnic on the lawns under the trees. Sculptures, ranging from classical to contemporary, add to the fun of wandering the paths. The paths are not named, but families can put together a loop walk or bike ride around campus by keeping in mind that the main building is in the center at the top of the hill.

Crum Woods, a 220-acre natural area of forest and meadows, borders the landscaped areas of the campus. Trails lead down to the woods from behind the amphitheater. Crum Woods is a ravine surrounding Crum Creek, a small, rocky stream. This steep, rocky area is quite different from the campus (proper footwear is advisable). About 3.5 miles of trails cover the grounds, for pedestrian use only. Follow Valley Walk Trail along the creek to “Crumhenge,” a 6-acre meadow where you’ll come upon mysterious standing stones. 

The creek can be reached from numerous points along Valley Walk Trail. Slow, shallow, and wide, it invites splashing and wading.

Remember: Dogs must be leashed.

Plan B:

For more-extensive bike and hike trails on paved and unpaved surfaces, go to Ridley Creek State Park.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Follow Chester Road to Swarthmore’s business district.


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