In the middle of Center City Philadelphia, there is the prototypical urban jungle. Office buildings, high rise apartments, new condominiums and brownstone houses all spread across the city as far as the eye can see.
Within the city, however, is Farimount Park , a 9,200 acre system that is the largest urban park in the world, spread out across nearly in every neighborhood. Though the primary area considered to be Fairmount Park is located to the west and northwest part, there are approximately 60 distinct areas, including in Northeast, North and South Philadelphia.
For example, take the Wissahickon Creek area. The beginning of the trail is located only six miles via Kelly Drive from the start of the Schuylkill River Trail at Locust Street. It then extends north and then northwest, offering a mix of paved, gravel and dirt paths for bikers, hikers, runners and those just looking to enjoy nature.
The scenery is breathtaking and a remarkable change from what you would see in downtown Philadelphia. Wildlife in the area include ducks, geese and even snakes. There’s tall trees, high hills and rushing streams.
As far as the running, Wissahickon offers a remarkably diverse array of training options. Many cross country and track teams use the gravel paths on Forbidden Drive for long mileage training to lessen the wear and tear on their legs. The interior trails are great for those looking to run trails as well as see some interesting sights (historical caves and secret statues are part of the landmarks). There’s even some rolling hills and climbs for those looking to work hills. You’ll get your share of downhill running in the trails (the most in Philadelphia) as well.
Check out Wissahickon Creeks for a great change of pace from inner city running.