Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Guided tours of Philadelphia's natural wonder - the Wissahickon Gorge

Philadelphia is renown as a world-class historic city – but did you know Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park is the largest urban park system in the United States? The gem of the Fairmount Park system is the Wissahickon Valley Park, home of the Wissahickon Gorge. Forged by the Wissahickon Creek as it makes its way to the Schuylkill River, the Wissahickon Gorge is the gateway to Pennsylvania’s Piedmont Province. The park itself is free and open to the public, but in order to explore all the wonders of the Wissahickon Gorge, Hiking Megalopolis is now offering guided hikes of the gorge for individuals or groups of up to 10.
International students from Temple University enjoy a group hike
With the knowledgeable and experienced Temple University instructor Brian Schwarz as your guide, come explore the geography, geology, flora and fauna, and the history of this amazing natural space located within the borders of the United States’ sixth largest city!

Group hike, Wissahickon Gorge
Section Hike ($100, up to 10 people)
Three miles, 3-4 hours, morning or afternoon hikes available
Explore either the upper, middle or lower sections of the Wissahickon Gorge. Natural features include an urban forest, a trout-filled creek, various cascading glens, striking rock outcroppings such as Lover’s Leap, Mom Rinker’s Rock and Council Rock, a rhododendron grove, and local flora and fauna. Historic sites may include Hermit’s Cave, Rittenhousetown, Indian Statue, Toleration Statue, a covered wooden bridge, and gigantic stone bridges.

Indian Statue, Wissahickon Gorge
Thru Hike ($200, up to 10 people)
Seven miles, 6-7 hours, includes a stop for lunch at the Valley Green Inn, located within the park       
Spend the day exploring the vast network of trails that leads from the mouth of the Wissahickon Gorge to the top of Chestnut Hill, the first named hill of the Pennsylvania Piedmont. Enjoy all the natural and historic sites of the Wissahickon Gorge as listed in the Short Hike section, plus enjoy the satisfaction of completing a “thru-hike” of the gorge itself.
Trailheads are accessible via public transportation or by car. All you need to bring is water, trail snacks and a sturdy pair of shoes. Hiking boots are not necessary but sturdy shoes with traction are required so you are able to fully enjoy the hiking experience that is Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Gorge.

For more information and to book your hike date, contact your guide, Brian Schwarz, at briwrite@yahoo.com. Also, check out Hiking Megalopolis on Instagram and Facebook.

Happy Hiking!

NOTE: Brian Schwarz is an award-winning journalist whose career was derailed by super obesity. He fought his way back to health - losing 165 pounds in the process of his "fit-life journey". A professional communicator, educator, guide and writer by trade, and an activator by nature, Brian's personal mission is to inspire others live their fullest lives.