Pennypack Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:8600A Verree Road, Philadelphia, PA
Hours:Trails open dawn to dusk daily; environmental center open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: At environmental center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at environmental center

Bike or walk along the banks of Pennypack Creek in this long, linear shaded park.

Pennypack Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Stretching along the steep forested banks of the Pennypack Creek in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennypack Park is one of the most popular areas of the city’s treasured Fairmount Park system. Along the banks of the meandering creek are paved, mostly level trails excellent for bicyclists, families with strollers, and walkers. Wooded trails in the hills offer more-challenging hikes; many of these trails are open to horses. Numerous flat spots along the open streambanks are ideal for anglers of various ages.

North of Bustleton Avenue, the natural landscape of the 1,395-acre park is relatively intact. A great place to start your explorations of the park is the Pennypack Environmental Center near the intersection of Verree Road and Bloomfield Avenue. From behind the center’s main building, a trail interspersed with sculptures inspired by the nature writings of Henry David Thoreau winds down to the creek. The creek is remarkably rich in birds and other wildlife; even beavers have been reported to be resettling in this urban refuge.

Other good entrance points with easy parking are located along Pine Road and Krewstown Road. South of Bustleton, the park becomes gradually more open. The restored band shell at Rhawn Street and Rowland Avenue is a fun place for a summer-evening picnic. The 1697 triple-arch Frankford Avenue stone bridge over the creek is the oldest bridge in the United States.

A favorite spot for fishing is a 4-foot dam at Roosevelt Boulevard that creates a picturesque waterfall. Since 2007 several other dams have been removed from the lower stretches of the creek, greatly improving the habitat for fish such as shad, herring, and striped bass.

Picnic tables are at the environmental center, near the parking area at Pine Road, as well as near many other parking lots. A well-shaded, popular tot lot is at Verree Road and Susquehanna Road. Fox Chase Farm, owned by the Philadelphia School District, is across Pine Road from the park. The farm, while not generally open to the public, hosts 4-H (youth farmer) livestock shows, maple sugaring demonstrations, summer Wednesday-evening hayrides, sheep-shearing days, and other events when families can tour the grounds.

Remember: The environmental center offers educational programs for families and children. Call for more details. Pets must be leashed.

Plan B:

Lorimer Park is northwest of the environmental center (up Bloomfield Avenue and Moredon Road), and offers rock scrambling, fishing, and a rail trail.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Head east on Krewstown Road to find restaurants and shops.


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