Fort Washington Park is exactly what you expect from a park in the Philadelphia suburbs: it’s more than you would expect. It’s got tons of trails, picnic areas, and bird watching. It’s the perfect place for an escape from the urban and more! And if you want some civilization on your agenda, you can head into the town of Flourtown after your visit for shopping and some grub.
Philadelphia has 10,500 acres of parks, basically it’s one of the biggest urban park systems in the world. (Maybe this is why I never wrote any initiatives to save Philly parks when I worked at The Trust for Public Land?) I’m most familiar with Wissahickon Valley Park and Pennypack Park (where I used to train for mountain biking as a kid). Fort Washington Park is now a new favorite. Apparently it has to do with George Washington or something. To be honest, I didn’t really indulge in the historical aspect of the place. I was traveling with an 84-year old and was trying to enjoy the autumn foliage as much as I could before he needed to head back to the car. This 84-year old is my dad, btw.
Fort Washington may best be known for its bird watching. There is a beautiful observatory where you can see all the foliage and catch a glimpse of some hawks and other birds flying about – you can certainly hear them if you can’t see them. The park is also interlaced with numerous trails, most of which are light to moderate in difficulty. Take a look at some of the trails in the map below:
My family and I went on a trail that started right near the bird watching observation deck and lead down to the rail road. It was all downhill at first, then transitioned to a paved trail by the water. (As you can see, my dog Hamish was is a big fan. He loves hiking.)
But it was interesting getting my dad up that hill on the way back. My mom and I both had to take one of his arms. So yeah, go here if you like nature, birds, hiking, and picnicing, but don’t bring your 84-year old dad hiking with a cane. He may not know how to use it and you may have to carry him at some point. Otherwise enjoy the leaves!