Join us in fun, entertaining, and educational walks to discover the largely hidden wonders of Philly’s natural areas! Check out the themes and RSVP for upcoming walks below!
Each walk is on Wednesdays 4:00PM-6:00PM- meeting locations vary! Exact dates can be found on our News & Events page. You can register for individual walks on our events page, or register for multiple below. There is a recommended donation of $15 for each walk, but any amount is welcome!
Walk with us across the famous Ben Franklin Bridge, once the longest suspension bridge in the world! Take in stunning views from far above the Delaware River while learning the fascinating and little-known history of the structure. This walk is co-sponsored by Audubon Mid-Atlantic.
Ben Franklin Bridge
High atop the hills of Upper Roxborough
sits a sizable lake. Or is it a pond? An old reservoir, perhaps? In 1962, the city decommissioned the basins of the old Roxborough Water Works, built in the late 1800s. Then, Nature took over. Today, the former reservoir serves as a vital haven for toads, water fowl, migratory birds, deer, and other wildlife. It also offers green seclusion and one of the most dramatic views of Center City. Come experience one of the most fascinating hidden treasures our city has to offer.
From Water Works to Toad Paradise
From the high point of the old city all the way down to near sea level, join us as we explore the exposed living layers of the land. We will discuss the intertwined history of public water and Fairmount Park and experience the continuing, dynamic impact of Fairmount Dam.
Four years ago, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation closed the 160-acre golf course in FDR Park, which was built upon tidal wetlands once part of a vibrant estuary. Since, Nature has transformed the golf course into a verdant wonderland, replete with amazing vistas, pocket wetlands, rich bird life and wildlife, and beautiful specimen trees from the Sesquicentennial. With plans in place to cover much of this land with athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a driving range, come out and glimpse what Nature can do when left on its own - while you still can.
Of Estuaries, Golf Courses, and Soccer Fields
Embark on a unique urban pier exploration with an ecological perspective. Explore beautifully renovated piers on the riverfront (including one designed by your tour guide, Scott Quitel) and discover spontaneous urban ecosystems right here in Philadelphia. Learn about piers as peninsulas and the “railroad on the river.” This tour covers Piers 53-70 along the Delaware River.
Piers and Peninsulas of the Delaware River
Interested in a tour of Philadelphia's most provocative abandoned landscapes? Join us as we explore, discover, learn about, and fall in love with spontaneous nature in Center City!
Under the Viaduct: Spontaneous Nature in the City
Explore the hidden remains of a sculptural fountain near an old water department pumping station, the imposing Flat Rock Dam, remnant infrastructure from the start of the Manayunk Canal, and the most breathtaking view of the Schuylkill in the city! This walk is co-sponsored by Audubon Mid-Atlantic.
Vestiges of the Past Along Manayunk Canal
A little known, seldom used area of Cobbs Creek Park is being revived. Come out and be one of the first to envision the revitalization, including two expansive meadows being restored, a stunning geologic outcrop, vestiges of an old stone pedestrian bridge, three sets of stunning stairs from a century ago, two cavern-like sewer outfalls, and vibrant plant life and wildlife throughout. Come be part of the parkland rebirth!
Meadows and Connections in Cobbs Creek
Philadelphia’s Delaware waterfront has changed dramatically throughout the city’s history, but traces of the old waterfront can be spotted if you know where to look. On this walk through Old City and Society Hill, we’ll see remnants of Dock Creek, learn how Front Street earned its name, and discover the last stairs that lead to the city’s original waterfront. The tour ends at Society Hill Towers.
On the Old Waterfront
Did you know that Philadelphia is an Estuary City? Our city once teemed with living, breathing tidal rivers, creeks, marshes, and swamps. The Schuylkill was named so the Dutch, meaning “Hidden River”, as it was once so lushly awash in tall marsh grasses that they hadn't realized a big river flowed into the Delaware. Experience our city’s former intimate connection with tidal ecosystems at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and see the estuary in its summer splendor. Bring your imagination and binoculars, if you have them. And be ready to take in birds and reeds and creeks and things.
Summer at the Estuary
Starting from our meeting spot, at the base of the valley, we’ll head up the forested gorge to the open natural area known as Houston Meadow. Discover where a suspension bridge from Roxborough across the gorge to Chestnut Hill was planned, but never built. We’ll head down along Cathedral Run, across the Wissahickon, up the other side of the gorge, and to the schist barren.
Varied Terrain of the Wissahickon
A melange of wonder abounds in West Parkside: an historic neighborhood; the Centennial District; two lakes; a first-order stream; wildlife in the city; amazing statuary; vestiges of an open-air trolley through the park; a hidden pavilion in the trees; pervasive environmental injustice; and a native plant nursery (LandHealth’s very own!) built upon a former abandoned rail yard. Can you believe we can cover all this in a single walk? Come out and see for yourself!