Thursday, November 14, 2013

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, PA

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Friends of Heinz Wildlife Refuge
This information was not on the web site, only on the trails once you start hiking.  A man told me he had to turn back because of the trail closure but fortunately, since that part was at the end of my hike, it had reopened by the time I got there and I was able to complete the loop without backtracking.  Might be worth calling to check trail status before heading out.

GPS Coordinates 39.892872, -75.257588

View Larger Map
Parking at the Visitor Center.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Brochure - U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, PA at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.1 miles

To start the hike, turn left on the paved path from the parking lot just before the visitor center entrance.
At the large kiosk, veer left through the silver gate on the wide gravel road.  (This is Dike Road Trail, referred to in the trail closures sign.  The map does not show trail names.)
Coming up on the bridge.
Crossing the bridge to the other side.
Footpath after crossing the bridge.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Occasional posts along the way show the direction.
Lots of water views along the way with tons of birds.
A short stretch of green when all of the other leaves are down.
Off in the distance ...
... the Philadelphia skyline.
The bonus of the leaves being down is ...
... seeing where the hawks land!  I believe this is a broad-winged hawk.
You could thumb a ride on I-95 along some of the trail and the traffic noise is LOUD! 
Mourning Dove
It is in the vicinity of this overlook tower where the trail closure had been earlier in the day.
Ruddy Duck
Waiting patiently while mom goes up to the top level.
American Coot
Philadelphia International Airport
Coming back up on the long bridge from the beginning of the hike.
Darby Creek

[  0.00]  Facing the Visitor Center entrance in the parking lot, turn left on the paved path
[  0.10]  Veer left at the large kiosk then right through the silver gate
[  0.30]  Turn left on bridge
[  0.40]  Right on footpath after crossing bridge
[  0.55]  Turn right over bridge when a trail also comes in from the left
[  0.65]  Turn right at T-intersection
[  1.90]  Right at fork then left at next fork a few steps ahead
[  2.15]  Keep straight when trail goes to the right (return route)
[  2.60]  Keep left at fork, right will be return route
[  3.65]  Turn right and cross bridge
[  4.50]  Cross bridge
[  5.00]  Turn left on wide gravel road (now retracing section from earlier)
[  5.45]  Turn left leaving wide gravel road
[  5.60]  Turn right when trail also goes left
[  5.65]  Keep left at fork
[  6.30]  Observation Tower
[  6.75]  Short trail on the left with benches along Darby Creek, retrace; either keep straight back to parking or cross bridge again then left after bridge back to parking (same distance)
[  7.10]  Back at parking


  1. Nice. I always wondered what this place looked like!!! I had thought dogs could not go in most wildlife refuges too. How hard is it to get looks like it is in the middle of south Philly

    1. Yes, dogs are allowed! It's not hard to get to at all, just a few miles off of I-95 and traffic was not that bad.

  2. Wow those are awesome shots! Makes me want to go there

    1. Thanks! It's a pretty place and there is a lot to see along the way. The scenery provides a good distraction to somewhat tune out traffic noise from I-95 although the worst of it is the part of the trail that runs smack next to the interstate.