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 Tuesdays 5:30-7:30- meeting locations vary! Exact dates are on the registration form and on our calendar. Theres just one link to register where you can choose which walk(s) to go on. Price is pay-what-you can! Thank you for your interest.
Layers of Faire Mount
From the high point of the old city all the way down to near sea level, we will explore the exposed living layers of the land. In addition, we will discuss the intertwined history of public water and Fairmount Park. Finally, we will experience the continuing dynamic impact of Fairmount Dam.
Meet in front of entrance to Fairmount Water Works (640 Water Works Drive, Philadelphia 19130)
Embark on a unique urban pier exploration with an ecological perspective. Explore beautifully renovated piers (including one designed by your tour guide, Scott Quitel) and discover spontaneous urban ecosystems. Learn about piers as peninsulas and the “railroad on the river.” This tour covers Piers 53-70.
Meet at Pier 68 (Pier 70 Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148) -- river end of Pier 70 Blvd and river side of Walmart parking lot.
Piers and Peninsulas of the Delaware River
Varied Terrain of the Wissahickon
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. Head down along Cathedral Run, across the Wissahickon, up the other side of the gorge, and to the schist barren.
Meet at Forbidden Drive & Bells Mill Road
Under the Viaduct: Spontaneous Nature in the City
Interested in a tour of Philadelphia's most provocative abandoned landscapes providing opportunities to explore, discover, learn about and fall in love with spontaneous nature in the city. Join us!
Meet at the Center for Architecture and Design (1218 Arch Street)
On the Old Waterfront
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 why Front Street is called what it is, and discover the last stairs that lead to the city’s original waterfront. The tour ends at Society Hill Towers.
Meet at the foot of Race Street Pier next to Columbus Blvd.
Wonders of West Parkside
A melange of wonder abounds within and near 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!
Meet at the parking lot, SE corner, 49th Street and Parkside Avenue, 19131. Across from Fairmount Park. (Note: Between 48th and 50th Streets, NOT near Wynnefield Avenue)
Meadows and Connections in Cobbs Creek
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!
Meet on the grassy area at the northwest corner of Whitby Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia 19143.
Vestiges of the Past Along Manayunk Canal
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.
Meet at the intersection of Shawmont Ave and Nixon St 19128
Summer at the Estuary
Did you realize that Philadelphia is an Estuary City? That our city once teemed with living, breathing, tidal rivers, creeks, marshes, and swamps? That the dutch called the Schuylkill “Hidden River” because it was so lushly awash in tall marsh grasses that they didn’t realize a big river flowed into the Delaware? The best spot to get a sense of our city’s former intimate connection with tidal ecosystems is John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Come out 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.
Meet in the parking lot near the entrance to the visitor center (8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia 19153)
Across the Ben Franklin Bridge
Take a walk 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.
Meet at the southeast corner of 5th and Race St. 19106
Of Estuaries, Golf Courses & Soccer Fields
The city’s newest majestic natural land resides in South Philly. Yet, perhaps, not for long. Two years ago, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation closed the 160-acre golf course in FDR Park, which was built upon tidal wetlands originally part of a vibrant estuary. Today, Nature has taken over, and transformed the golf course into verdant habitat wonderland, replete with amazing vistas, pocket wetlands, rich bird life and wildlife, and beautiful specimen trees from the Sesquicentennial. Unfortunately, plans are in place to cover much of this land with athletic fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a driving range. Come out for one of the most stimulating strolls in the city. Glimpse what Nature can do when left on its own - while you still can.
Meet in front of the boathouse, located on the lake, behind the American Swedish Museum.
From Water Works to Toad Paradise
High atop the hills of Upper Roxborough sits a sizable lake. Or is it a pond? Or an old reservoir, perhaps? In 1962, the city decommissioned the basins of the old Roxborough Water Works, built in the late 1800s. And 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.
Meet at the corner of Lare Street and Port Royal Avenue, Philadelphia 19128.