Run, Walk, Bike, Hike ... Forbidden Drive

The drive gives people an opportunity to enjoy a fabulous oasis within the city limits

Maybe people like that which is forbidden, so Forbidden Drive beckons us to come.  Once we get there, there are many options for a fit (or relaxing) day.  Though Forbidden Drive runs from Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill to Lincoln Drive, possibly the most popular stretch is in the Roxborough portion around Valley Green - the historic restaurant with attached ice cream shop, and nearby picnic tables.  

If you want to "get away" without the pricetag of a long drive, airfare, or hotel stay, there are many options along Forbidden Drive.  Some folks bring their kiddies to “feed the ducks,” though they’re mostly geese, and they’re aggressive! Others come to exercise, or hike, or have a great meal at Valley Green. 

Forbidden drive itself is paved, and most of it is "forbidden" to cars.  So you can walk (277 calories per hour), jog  (584 calories per hour), run (986 calories per hour), or bike (300 calories per hour) without hassle.  This is especially great if you want to take a nature walk with the kids.  

Though Forbidden Drive itself is 5.42 miles long, there are over 57 miles of trails in this 7 mile stretch of the Wissahickon Creek.  Some trails are open for biking and horses, others are for hikers (hiking with backpack burns about 511 calories per hour).  So, if you’re looking for a day to “get away from it all” this area could be exactly what the doctor ordered. 

If you really want to feel like you’ve been transported to the country, take forbidden drive away from Manayunk and towards Chestnut Hill.  You will stumble across the only covered bridge in the United States that is located within an urban center’s city limits.  

Oh, and if you want to “do good” while you enjoy the area, you can join up with the Friends of the Wissahickon for a service day.  There are plenty to choose from, both on the weekends and on week days. 

I am a city girl.  To me, living in Roxborough is the suburbs.  I’m raising my kids here.  But for as much as I love the buildings, lights and energy of downtown, I have fallen in love with Forbidden Drive and the Wissahickon Creek area.  It is nature at its finest right here in our back yard. 

A word of caution: women, please never take trails alone - especially in darker hours of the day.  No matter how many kickboxing classes you've had, it would be a shame for you to have to use that in a real life struggle.   And on a health note, check for ticks.  I’ll be honest, I am a bit of a tick-a-phobe.  But, for good reason.  Next week I’ll explain why, in a piece about Lyme’s Disease - a hidden epidemic.  

Moe August 02, 2011 at 02:18 PM
It isn't really a good idea to promote illegal activity such as swimming in Devil's Pool. Patch even had an article last week about it. http://roxborough.patch.com/articles/police-patrol-devils-pool-enforce-laws-to-prevent-people-from-swimming-2
Jesse Reilly August 02, 2011 at 03:49 PM
I completely agree, that section of the story will be taken out. Thank you for pointing it out!
Carol Haslam August 03, 2011 at 04:44 PM
It is not illegal to go to devil's pool. It is illegal to dive there. If I remember correctly, My paragraph about Devil's pool said nothing about diving there because as I researched the article, I discovered that diving there is illegal. If I remember correctly, I mentioned that there are broken bones, paralysis and death all on record from diving in Devil's pool, and swimming there when the water was too deep and the flow too strong. It should also be noted that after rain, when the water levels are high, that area can be dangerous as the water flow can be strong as the water levels rise. The very rocks that my children enjoy at low water levels, can yield a concussion and drowning when the water is high. I maintain my position that Devil's Pool is, in fact, a beautiful spot along the Wissahickon creek, and when water levels are low, there are large areas of rock beds which can be safely crossed, or played on even by children (mine included). With care and caution the pool can be enjoyed. My children waded waist deep to enjoy the cool respite of the pool on our hike. It has become our favorite destination on the trail. Thank You for pointing out that it is illegal to dive there. But the dangers were mentioned in the text.
Paula Hutton August 04, 2011 at 04:23 PM
I don't think it's safe to walk on slippery rocks with the possibility of falling and striking your head or breaking a limb.
Carol Haslam August 05, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Well, perhaps. But my preschool children love the creek and we have had zero injuries in the 3 years we've been going back there. My son did, however, break his leg when he fell off a swing set. And, an elderly friend broke her hip when she slipped on the stairs in front of her own house while attempting to retrieve her newspaper. And, my friend was rear ended by a truck a few weeks ago, and her car was totaled by no fault of her own. So it just depends on what risks you want to take during your day. Comparatively speaking, the creek is a pretty good pick, but people shouldn't be cavalier around water. Like I said, when the water levels are high there are a number of places along the creek that become very fast moving. A few years back, someone struck their head on a rock at devil's pool and drowned. It I was told the story correctly, the body was actually carried a ways down the creek because there'd been a recent rain and water was high. Furthermore, you can drown in only a few inches of water, so always enjoy water adventures (even at a creek) with a companion in case of injury. Namaste.


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