Start close to home. Everybody knows that Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park offers one of the best views of the Philadelphia skyline. But fewer know that in the woods around the iconic park, there’s a series of trails used for mountain bike and cross country races. The trails are great for easy hiking, too. A few years ago, the Fairmount Park Conservancy used money it raised from the Broad Street Run to upgrade signage on the trails to help visitors orient themselves. And the Belmont Plateau Cross Country Hall of Fame keeps course maps online. While you’re there, check out the 200-year-old Chamounix Mansion, now operating as a hostel.
Sure—the city of Brotherly Love is home to forests, rivers and beautiful parks—but the best places to go hiking near Philadelphia offer a bit more: enticing paths and trails, a little climbing and, of course, scenic views.
Here, we highlight the spots we like to venture out to (all excellent day trips from Philly also) when we're looking to embark on a little physical activity to burn off all those cheesesteaks. From Tohickon Valley Park, which overlooks a bunch of 200-foot-tall shale cliffs, to Ricketts Glen State Park, home to 24 waterfalls, all these destinations will take your breath away... in more ways than one.
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