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An aerial view of a body of water which has hills with trees on both sides.
It’s easy to see why the Delaware Water Gap is one of the most popular hikes in the region.
via Flickr/Peter Miller

11 Philly area hikes with scenic endings

They’re all worth the trek

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It’s easy to see why the Delaware Water Gap is one of the most popular hikes in the region.
| via Flickr/Peter Miller

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Summer is winding down, fall is here (finally) and it’s the perfect time to take in a little more nature before winter hits.

Fall is one of the best seasons to hike, hands down, because the heat is not as scorching and you have the chance to check out some great fall foliage. But the hikes around Philly in the fall are particularly special. These towns and hiking trails around the city offer quiet areas with gushing waterfalls, shady woods, scenic views, and even a little history.

Bonus: all of these hikes are at most a two hours’ drive from Center City. So grab a water bottle and a camera, because at least one of these spots could become a new summer favorite.

Definitely let us know about your favorite local-ish hikes in the comments or hit the tipline.

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1. Mt. Tammany - Delaware Water Gap

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Tammany Trail (Red Dot)
Knowlton Township, NJ

This is the hike that typically blows up your Instagram feed every fall season. Rightly so: The summit offers some of the most incredible views of the Delaware Water Gap and the Delaware River down below. Note: You can do a three-mile loop that connects the Red Dot and Blue Dot trails together. Just keep in mind that the Red Dot Trail is considered the most challenging hike in the Delaware Water Gap—that’s straight from the mouth of the National Parks Service.

In the foreground are people standing at the edge of a cliff. In the distance is a mountain covered with trees which have multicolor leaves. It is autumn. via Flickr/Jiashiang

2. Mount Minsi

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Mt Minsi
Delaware Water Gap, PA 18013

Mount Minsi sits on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware and offers, among other stunning sights, a prime view of Mount Tammay in New Jersey. This mountain is a good five-mile hike with a lot of rocks, rivers and a gorgeous canopy of trees overhead. Plus, it offers three different outlook spots along the way, with views over the Delaware and surrounding mountains.

3. Glen Onoko Falls

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This hike offers something a little different than a scenic ending, and one that’s perfect for the heat and humidity of summer. You’ll pass by dozens of waterfalls all along the three-mile hike. Just don’t be too distracted by the gushing falls—this is a notoriously difficult hike with rock scrambles and a good deal of elevation.

A waterfall and a rock bed. The waterfall is surrounded by trees. via Flickr/Nate Trager

4. Hawk Mountain

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1700 Hawk Mountain Rd
Kempton, PA
(610) 756-6961
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It has its name for a reason: This spot is run by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and is an incredible bird-watching site. There are multiple trails that offer various overlooks, but for the best view take the popular Lookout Trail. This will lead you to the rocky overlook where hikers like to camp out and enjoy the views and bird sightings.

In the foreground are rocks. In the distance are mountains. via Flickr/Richard Bonnett

5. The Pinnacle

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400-498 Reservoir Rd
Windsor, PA

The Pinnacle can be seen from Hawk Mountain, and it sits along the Appalachian Trail. It’s a lengthy, nearly nine-mile hike that definitely has some rocky segments (there’s a reason hikers call Pennsylvania’s portion of the Appalachian “Rocksylvania”). You can summit two ways, either by getting the steep, rocky portion out of the way first or at the end. Either way, the views from both Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle will be well-worth it.

In the foreground is a rock summit. In the distance are trees. Photo by Melissa Romero

6. High Rocks Trail

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6011 State Park Rd
Pipersville, PA 18947

Bucks County is full of great hikes, but for some of the best scenic vistas you’ll want to check out the High Rocks Trail. There are two trailheads: One that starts at Tohickon Valley Park or the other that begins in Ralph Stover State Park (most of the views are along the Ralph Stover portion). Either way you’ll come across High Rocks Vista, situated on 200-foot-tall cliffs above Tohickon Creek. It’s a popular spot for both rock climbers and hikers.

7. Valley Forge National Historical Park

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1400 N Outer Line Dr
King of Prussia, PA
(610) 783-1000
Visit Website

There are 19.5 miles of designated hiking trails within this historic national park. To be honest, you can’t really go wrong in choosing one over the other: They all offer picturesque views of the rolling countryside, which is scattered with both original and remade structures dating back to the American Revolutionary War.

A historic stone house surrounded by trees with orange leaves. via Flickr/Pauline Rosenberg

8. Wissahickon Valley Park

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300 W Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA

There are more than 50 trails to hike within Wissahickon Valley Park, which is part of Fairmount Park. These won’t end with any 360-degree vistas, but many of the trails offer tranquil, scenic moments. In fact, Friends of the Wissahickon notes that from the most popular and flat Forbidden Drive, “nearly two dozen historical and geological sites can be seen or accessed.” Also, there’s always the great pit-stop at Devil’s Pool.

9. Ridley Creek State Park

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1023 Sycamore Mills Rd
Media, PA 19063
(610) 892-3900
Visit Website

Like Wissahickon Valley Park, you won’t find any 360-degree vistas after hiking in Ridley Creek State Park. But with 2,600 acres to explore along 13 miles of trails, you won’t be disappointed. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark, so you’ll come across sites like a 300-year-old working farm and Sycamore Mills, a historic 18th-century mill village.

In the foreground is a waterfall on a rock face. In the distance is a house surrounded by trees. There are fallen autumn leaves on the ground. via Flickr/Thomas

10. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

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8601 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 365-3118
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If you want to stick around Philly for a hike, you don’t have to go very far. Right past the airport is John Heinz, America’s first urban refuge that offers 10 miles of flat trails around its marshes. After you’ve logged your miles, hang out at the bridge over the marsh impoundment, which offers a great opportunity to see some wildlife.

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11. Wharton State Forest

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If you want to explore the unusual landscape of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the massive Wharton State Forest is a good place to do it. The 50-mile Batona Trail is the park’s most famous, though it would take you three days to do the whole thing. The good news is that there are multiple trailheads throughout the park, so you can pick and choose the length of your flat hike. For views, there’s also Batsto Lake Trail, a sandy and flat 4.2-mile trail that loops around the lake.

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1. Mt. Tammany - Delaware Water Gap

Tammany Trail (Red Dot), Knowlton Township, NJ
In the foreground are people standing at the edge of a cliff. In the distance is a mountain covered with trees which have multicolor leaves. It is autumn. via Flickr/Jiashiang

This is the hike that typically blows up your Instagram feed every fall season. Rightly so: The summit offers some of the most incredible views of the Delaware Water Gap and the Delaware River down below. Note: You can do a three-mile loop that connects the Red Dot and Blue Dot trails together. Just keep in mind that the Red Dot Trail is considered the most challenging hike in the Delaware Water Gap—that’s straight from the mouth of the National Parks Service.

Tammany Trail (Red Dot)
Knowlton Township, NJ

2. Mount Minsi

Mt Minsi, Delaware Water Gap, PA 18013

Mount Minsi sits on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware and offers, among other stunning sights, a prime view of Mount Tammay in New Jersey. This mountain is a good five-mile hike with a lot of rocks, rivers and a gorgeous canopy of trees overhead. Plus, it offers three different outlook spots along the way, with views over the Delaware and surrounding mountains.

Mt Minsi
Delaware Water Gap, PA 18013

3. Glen Onoko Falls

Jim Thorpe, PA
A waterfall and a rock bed. The waterfall is surrounded by trees. via Flickr/Nate Trager

This hike offers something a little different than a scenic ending, and one that’s perfect for the heat and humidity of summer. You’ll pass by dozens of waterfalls all along the three-mile hike. Just don’t be too distracted by the gushing falls—this is a notoriously difficult hike with rock scrambles and a good deal of elevation.

4. Hawk Mountain

1700 Hawk Mountain Rd, Kempton, PA
In the foreground are rocks. In the distance are mountains. via Flickr/Richard Bonnett

It has its name for a reason: This spot is run by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and is an incredible bird-watching site. There are multiple trails that offer various overlooks, but for the best view take the popular Lookout Trail. This will lead you to the rocky overlook where hikers like to camp out and enjoy the views and bird sightings.

1700 Hawk Mountain Rd
Kempton, PA

5. The Pinnacle

400-498 Reservoir Rd, Windsor, PA
In the foreground is a rock summit. In the distance are trees. Photo by Melissa Romero

The Pinnacle can be seen from Hawk Mountain, and it sits along the Appalachian Trail. It’s a lengthy, nearly nine-mile hike that definitely has some rocky segments (there’s a reason hikers call Pennsylvania’s portion of the Appalachian “Rocksylvania”). You can summit two ways, either by getting the steep, rocky portion out of the way first or at the end. Either way, the views from both Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle will be well-worth it.

400-498 Reservoir Rd
Windsor, PA

6. High Rocks Trail

6011 State Park Rd, Pipersville, PA 18947

Bucks County is full of great hikes, but for some of the best scenic vistas you’ll want to check out the High Rocks Trail. There are two trailheads: One that starts at Tohickon Valley Park or the other that begins in Ralph Stover State Park (most of the views are along the Ralph Stover portion). Either way you’ll come across High Rocks Vista, situated on 200-foot-tall cliffs above Tohickon Creek. It’s a popular spot for both rock climbers and hikers.

6011 State Park Rd
Pipersville, PA 18947

7. Valley Forge National Historical Park

1400 N Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia, PA
A historic stone house surrounded by trees with orange leaves. via Flickr/Pauline Rosenberg

There are 19.5 miles of designated hiking trails within this historic national park. To be honest, you can’t really go wrong in choosing one over the other: They all offer picturesque views of the rolling countryside, which is scattered with both original and remade structures dating back to the American Revolutionary War.

1400 N Outer Line Dr
King of Prussia, PA

8. Wissahickon Valley Park

300 W Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA

There are more than 50 trails to hike within Wissahickon Valley Park, which is part of Fairmount Park. These won’t end with any 360-degree vistas, but many of the trails offer tranquil, scenic moments. In fact, Friends of the Wissahickon notes that from the most popular and flat Forbidden Drive, “nearly two dozen historical and geological sites can be seen or accessed.” Also, there’s always the great pit-stop at Devil’s Pool.

300 W Northwestern Ave
Philadelphia, PA

9. Ridley Creek State Park

1023 Sycamore Mills Rd, Media, PA 19063
In the foreground is a waterfall on a rock face. In the distance is a house surrounded by trees. There are fallen autumn leaves on the ground. via Flickr/Thomas

Like Wissahickon Valley Park, you won’t find any 360-degree vistas after hiking in Ridley Creek State Park. But with 2,600 acres to explore along 13 miles of trails, you won’t be disappointed. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark, so you’ll come across sites like a 300-year-old working farm and Sycamore Mills, a historic 18th-century mill village.

1023 Sycamore Mills Rd
Media, PA 19063

10. John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA

If you want to stick around Philly for a hike, you don’t have to go very far. Right past the airport is John Heinz, America’s first urban refuge that offers 10 miles of flat trails around its marshes. After you’ve logged your miles, hang out at the bridge over the marsh impoundment, which offers a great opportunity to see some wildlife.

8601 Lindbergh Blvd
Philadelphia, PA

11. Wharton State Forest

Atco, NJ

If you want to explore the unusual landscape of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the massive Wharton State Forest is a good place to do it. The 50-mile Batona Trail is the park’s most famous, though it would take you three days to do the whole thing. The good news is that there are multiple trailheads throughout the park, so you can pick and choose the length of your flat hike. For views, there’s also Batsto Lake Trail, a sandy and flat 4.2-mile trail that loops around the lake.