Friday, October 26, 2012

Fairmount Park, PA - Wissahickon Valley North and Andorra Natual Area


Wissahickon Valley Park - Friends of the Wissahickon
Valley Green Inn

GPS Coordinates 40.056599, -75.214606

View Larger Map
This is shown as parking P-9 on the map although there is nothing at the parking lot that says it is that number.  it is on the right shortly after the park sign.

Map of the Wissahickon Valley - Friends of Wissahickon (purchase)
Andorra Natural Area Trails


The trail leaves from the kiosk in the parking lot and runs along Valley Green Road
At an intersection turn right and you will be on the orange/white trail (very few blazes) that leads down and along Wissahickon Creek.
Magarge Dam ~ 1883
Magarge Dam
The white trail leaves to the right - this is the yellow trail (again, very few blazes) which can be quite rugged as it follows along Wissahickon Creek.
The Forbidden Drive, a wide, flat multi-use trail where 95% of the people are, follows along the opposite side of Wissahickon Creek.
Looks like the mallards are having a boys' day out.
A bridge over the Wissahickon allows you to cross over if you decide you want an eaiser walk on the Forbidden Drive.
At that bridge, the orange trail continues through the archway and up the steps.
Wissahickon Creek from the bridge.
Looking back down the Wissahickon from the bridge.
Looking back at the bridge with the Forbidden Drive on the other side.
A restoration of a covered bridge built here in 1737.
The orange trail ends at Germantown Avenue at a pedestrian bridge which avoids traffic and crosses over Wissahickon Creek.
Wissahickon Creek from the pedestrian bridge.
At the other side of the pedestrian bridge turn left through a picnic area in Harper's Meadow...
... with Northwest Stables on the right.
Pick up the Andorra Trails to...
... the Tree House, which used to have a tree going through it (hence the name Tree House) but the tree is no longer there.
You might see some activity at the bird feeder while there.
Follow the signs to The Great Beech which was declared a PA state champion European Beech in 2006.
This magnolia was dated 250+ years in 1979.
A bird feeder a short distance from the old magnolia trunk has lots of visitors.
The purple trail circles around a pretty hilltop meadow.
These nice people are volunteer trail ambassadors for Fairmount Park.  They offer assistance such as letting me know I was heading in the direction to meet up with the trail I wanted since my map only showed brown lines for the Andorra Trails and no colors - it became very difficult to keep track of exactly where I was.
Indeed, as the trail ambassadors told me, this is the intersection I was looking for.  On to Forbidden Drive to leave Andorra Natural Area and return to Wissahickon Gorge.
Along the way, a 128-year-old tulip tree.
Descending down to the Forbidden Drive.
The trail meets up with the Forbidden Drive at Bell's Mill Road with LOTS of traffic, but it is a 4-way stop (for both people and cars) so crossing is very easy.
The Forbidden Drive
From this point you can stay on the Forbidden Drive or turn right and climb up out of the gorge on the yellow trail (very few blazes) and hike along the top.
The covered bridge from up above on the yellow trail.
Hiking along the top of the gorge.
Come back out on the Forbidden Drive at the dam from early in the hike and continue along Forbidden Drive briefly towards...
Valley Green Inn
A Wood Duck and a Mallard Duck

[  0.00]  Take trail next to kiosk running parallel to Valley Green Road
[  0.15]  Right at intersection over footbridge on orange/white
[  0.55]  Magarge Dam
[  0.95]  Trail merges in from the right
[  1.15]  Cross at stone bridge and up steps through archway
[  1.45]  Keep straight when unmarked trail goes right
[  1.55]  Pass through picnic area, covered bridge
[  1.75]  Cross concrete bridge
[  1.85]  Creek access sign
[  1.95]  Keep straight at fork when a trail veers right
[  2.15]  Cross Bell's Mill Road and proceed through parking lot to continue on orange trail at boardwalk
[  2.70]  At Germantown Avenue turn left and follow pedestrian bridge over creek
[  2.75]  Turn left into picnic area other side of bridge and follow path with creek on left and stables on right
[  2.95]  Right at fork coming up on Forbidden Drive, then veer left then right on Forbidden Drive towards P-3 parking then left towards the Tree House at the split rail fence
[  3.10]  Turn left at Andorra Trails sign on to foot path that switchbacks uphill
[  3.15]  Turn right at intersection towards the Tree House
[  3.25]  At intersection turn right on red when green goes left, Tree House on right
[  3.35]  Turn left at unmarked T-intersection then straight on yellow when red goes right to P-1 Parking; Great Beach tree a few steps ahead on the right
[  3.50]  Turn left at arrow showing gnome and mushroom
[  3.60]  Straight at intersection where left goes to the Tree House
[  3.70]  Right at intersection to cucumber tree trunk; keep right with bench and bird feeders on your left
[  3.75]  Turn left on red
[  3.85]  Turn left on purple when red goes straight
[  3.95]  Keep straight on purple when navy goes right
[  4.00]  Left on light purple with butterfly across hilltop meadow
[  4.15]  Enter woods then turn left on purple
[  4.20]  Keep straight on purple when P-1 goes right; stay on purple as it winds around the meadows
[  4.90]  Leave meadow entering woods then turn right at direction sign towards Forbidden Drive
[  5.20]  At intersection turn right towards Forbidden Drive
[  5.50]  Turn right on Forbidden Drive, cross over Bell's Mill Road, then after railing on right, turn right at yellow, red and green blazes; trail switchbacks uphill (this should be the yellow trail but blazes, if any, are confusing)
[  5.70]  Keep left at fork
[  5.90]  Keep right at fork; left fork has green blaze - this trail goes down to Forbidden Drive
[  6.10]  Covered bridge may be visible below to the left
[  6.25]  Keep straight when a green-blazed trail goes right
[  6.65]  Keep straight at 4-way intersection
[  6.80]  After descending, trail turns right just before Forbidden Drive, crosses tributary gorge and ascends
[  6.95]  Keep straight when a trail leaves to the right
[  7.20]  Keep straight on unmarked when yellow turns sharply right
[  7.30]  Keep right on Forbidden Drive
[  7.60]  Paved road merges in from the right, keep straight as Forbidden Drive becomes paved (there is traffic accessing parking lot on this section)
[  7.75]  At fork keep left through parking lot
[  7.80]  At end of parking lot turn left and cross stone bridge
[  7.85]  Turn left after bridge following trail back to parking lot
[  8.00]  Back at parking lot