Hiking Trails

See what's blooming on our trails by checking out our Bloom Calendar

From a shaded hike along a spring-fed stream to a stroll through a sunny meadow, the Schuylkill Centerís property offers a rich diversity of hiking opportunities. Over three miles of trails of varying difficulty travel through many habitats, including forests, fields, wetlands, and meadows.

The geography at the Center is typical of the Piedmont Plateau of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the predominant rocks are mica schist and quartzite. This combination makes our soil both sandy and acidic, confirmed by the presence of blackberry, blueberry, and laurel. Common trees include: hickory, tulip poplar, buttonwood, sassafras, sumac, ash, and several kinds of oak and maple. The moist, rich soil at the bottom of our cut stream ravines supports a variety of wildflowers.

Although elusive and seldom seen, wildlife is in abundance at the Center. Mammals include deer, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, moles, foxes, opossums, skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs. Over 150 species of birds have been observed here. Frogs, toads, fish, nonpoisonous snakes and countless varieties of insects and other invertebrates are also found on the grounds.

Trails at a glance:
(Help us keep the Center’s trails inviting for all to enjoy; leave nature where you found it.)

Please note that pets, eating, and smoking are prohibited on the trails.
Click here to see our Trail Map

Butterfly Meadow Loop (0.25 miles, 10 minutes) leads through fields and woods before it joins the Ravine Loop. A distant view of the Philadelphia skyline is visible from this trail on clear days when foliage does not obstruct the view. This trail is mostly level with a short downward slope to meet the Ravine Loop.

Fire Road (0.25 miles, 20 minutes) is the remaining vestige of an old farm road connecting the Widener Trail with Cattail Pond.

Ravine Loop (1.0 miles, 60 minutes) crisscrosses a spring-fed stream, Smith’s Run, on several rustic bridges. This trail includes a few challenging slopes, where you will pass rock outcroppings and the Center’s oldest section of forest. You will also pass the wetlands, a marshy area where many native plants and freshwater creatures can be found.

Gray Fox Loop (0.9 miles, 45 minutes) winds through fields, wooded areas and the streambed leading to Wind Dance Pond. The trail passes Founders’ Grove, a memorial tree collection. Further along, note the Pine Plantation. The trail intersects with the Woodcock Trail, and the connector trail at Springhouse Pond leads to the Ravine Loop.

Towhee Trail (.08 miles, 5 minutes) begins at the rear of the Education Building and connects to the Ravine Loop. It’s a great shortcut down to Cattail Pond, which is an excellent spot to view freshwater aquatic insects, frogs, tadpoles, and dragonflies.

Widener Trail (0.25 miles, 15 minutes) a handicapped accessible paved trail leads through fields and forest to the Widener Bird Blind. Feeders are filled year-round so you can observe local and migrating birds. Midway along the trail is Shadow Bog with a wooden deck and seating area.

Wind Dance Pond Trail (0.3 miles, 15 minutes) joins the Woodcock Trail at the dam at Winds Dance Pond, where, in the nesting season there may be Mallards or Canada geese. Little green and Great blue herons are frequent visitors. The trail passes through a mature stand of beech trees. The trail is short, but steep.

Woodcock Trail (0.3 miles, 15 minutes) gently slopes away from the Widener Bird Blind through fields and thickets. This is a delightfully shady trail in the summer.


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8480 Hagy's Mill Road | Philadelphia, PA 19128 | Phone: 215-482-7300 | Fax: 215-482-8158 | Email: scee@schuylkillcenter.org
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