These Are the Top-Rated Hikes in Philly’s Western Suburbs

With the weather warming up, it's time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails. Check out the top-rated hikes around Philly's western suburbs.

When you’re in the mood to get moving outdoors, look no further than these hikes around the Main Line, which beckon nature lovers and adventurous spirits alike. AllTrails, voted Apple’s iPhone App of the Year for 2023, lists these 10 scenic hikes as the top treks in the area. With the weather warming up and spring nearly upon us, it’s time to dust off those hiking books, get out your tumbler and start chasing waterfalls.

10. Haverford College Nature Trail 

Haverford College

 

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This 2.3-mile loop is rated as an easy route, which means it’s ideal for pursuing a variety of activities. The trail is popular for running, bird-watching and dog-friendly strolls, though any pups must be on a leash. The path offers a pleasant walkway nearby campus for humans and canines alike. 

9. Norristown Nature Loop 

Norristown Farm Park

 

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The 4.5-mile Norristown Nature Loop takes about an hour and a half to circumnavigate. It’s considered an easy route due to the mostly flat terrain. While this isn’t the most challenging trek, it boasts stunning scenery. The route features abandoned buildings, agricultural fields, forest, streams and more, making it a great place for fishing and birding.

8. Cynwyd Heritage Trail

Bala Cynwyd to Manayunk

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This iconic tow-path along the canal clocks in at 3.6 miles and provides views all over Manayunk’s buildings, rivers, streams, and the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. The trail ends at a cafe serving poke, drinks, baked goods and snacks, making it a perfect spot to refuel after the hike. 

7. Chester Valley Trail

Exton

 

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A total of 18.2 miles of paved trailway stretches from Exton to Norristown to constitute the Chester Valley Trail. The entire path, consisting of generally flat terrain, takes just under six hours and is best for biking and running, though the terrain is inclusive of everyone, welcoming strollers and wheelchairs alike. The trail has several exits for those looking for only a quick visit.  

6. French Creek Trail 

Phoenixville

 

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This woodland trail offers 4.2 miles of immersion in nature. It’s especially popular for canine companions, and wildlife includes beavers, birds and much more to spot. The trail has a tendency to get muddy after heavy rain due to its dirt paths, so it’s recommended you lace up your hiking boots before heading out.  

5. McKaig Nature Center Loop 

McKaig Nature Education Center

This moderately challenging loop is 2.2 miles long with plenty of hill climbs and elevation changes. The scenic trail is especially beautiful in autumn and spring. Many AllTrails users note that there are multiple options for the trail with several grade choices. 

4. Rolling Hills Creek Trail 

Rolling Hill Park

Stone bluffs line Mill Creek at Rolling Hill Park.
Stone bluffs line Mill Creek at Rolling Hill Park. (Photo credit Ben Silver)

Rolling Hills Creek Trail may be a shorter loop, clocking in at 1.4 miles, but its high ranking on this list is just. The trail offers historic buildings and old mills to see, many dogs to befriend, and a number of side paths with steep terrain for a more challenging route. The trail also has bathrooms in service. 

3. Ridley Creek Park Full White Trail Loop 

Ridley Creek State Park

'Photo by Igoris Cajevskis, courtesy of Friends of Ridley Creek
Ridley Creek State Park in Autumn. (‘Photo by Igoris Cajevskis, courtesy of Friends of Ridley Creek State Park)

Out of the many high-ranked trails at Ridley Creek State Park, the White Trail Loop is the best reviewed. The moderately challenging 4.2-mile loop is an escapade through the forest, with notable elevation changes and water views. The trail is described to be very well maintained, and it has detours to relax by the creek. Additional options at the park include the Blue, Red, Orange and Yellow trails. 

2. Wissahickon Gorge North Loop

Wissahickon Valley Park

 

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This loop is a 5.2-mile forest adventure, with waterfalls, challenging inclines and unexpected turns. The trek is sure to give a good workout while fully immersed in nature. You might even run into horseback riders enjoying the scenery, too. Other popular hikes in the Wissahickon Valley include the Orange, White, Yellow, Blue Bell and Forbidden trails. 

1. Mount Joy Trail to Mount Misery Trail Loop 

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Don’t let the name “Mount Misery” fool you. A whopping 4,300-plus AllTrails reviews prove that Valley Forge National Historical Park is a beloved Main Line area destination. This trail is a 3.8-mile loop that plunges visitors into the history of the Continental Army. This moderately challenging route has several foothills, rocky areas and elevation. Dogs are also welcome. More trails in this park include Chapel Path, the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail and the Valley Creek Trail. 

Related: Where to Play Pickleball Around the Main Line Region

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