Green Ribbon Trail
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:12 Morris Road, Ambler, PA
Hours:Trail open dawn to dusk daily; headquarters open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fee: Free
Contact:, 215-646-8866

Bathrooms: At Penllyn Park, Fort Washington State Park, Evans-Mumbower Mill (when open), Upper Gwynedd Park, and Four Mills Nature Reserve main building (when open)
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at Penllyn Park, Fort Washington State Park, and Upper Gwynedd Park

Paper maps available at headquarters;

Walk through woods and preserves along the upper reaches of the bucolic Wissahickon Creek.

Green Ribbon Trail
Photo by: Susan Charkes

The Green Ribbon Trail (GRT), 13 miles of mostly level footpaths through young woods along the Wissahickon Creek, links a number of suburban nature preserves and parks, making for a natural area with a variety of hikes for families. Several of the linked parks also offer biking and other activities.

Since the GRT is a linear trail, visitors have various options for access, although parking is limited at some locations. The excellent interactive map on indicates parking areas. If driving, a good first stop for families with school-age kids is the Four Mills Nature Reserve, where two 0.5-mile loop trails with interpretive signage help you get oriented to the trail and learn about the preserves. Picnic tables are near the main building, and steppingstones cross the creek to connect to the GRT. Just north of the historical, restored Evans-Mumbower Mill, the GRT runs through the 279-acre Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve. There it connects to 5 miles of easy trails that wind uphill from the woods surrounding the creek to extensive hilltop meadows—kids will love the variety of butterflies the meadow attracts in late summer.

For most of its length, the GRT closely follows the creek, with lots of opportunities for checking out the fish and frogs along the banks. At five different points, the trail crosses the creek along specially installed steppingstones, which kids will enjoy hopping on. Stone bridges and ruins are along the way as well. The trail is well used and, though not consistently blazed, is easy to follow. Signs are posted at road crossings; where the trail is not well defined, green blazes indicate its route.

At Fort Washington State Park, the trail coincides with the Montgomery County multi use trail that continues to Erdenheim Farm on Stenton Avenus in Flourtown; this 4-mile crushed-stone portion is suitable for biking as well as walking. At Flourtown, the GRT connects via sidewalks along Stenton and Northwestern avenues to the multiuse Forbidden Drive trail through Fairmount Park’s Wissahickon Valley Park, adding 8 more miles.

Plan B:

Other good GRT access points with ample parking are at Penllyn Woods, a 77-acre community park with restrooms, a pond, and a picnic pavilion, which is adjacent to the GRT’s trailhead at Penllyn Preserve. Upper Gwynedd Park (Parkside Place complex) has restrooms, picnic tables, playground, swimming pool, and other facilities.

Where to Eat Nearby:

North Wales, Ambler, and Flourtown, close to the trail, have commercial areas.


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