The Great(er) Outdoors: 5 Must-Try Outdoor Adventures Around Philly

Escape the city bustle with these expert-led treks through some of the area’s best parks, trails and streams. 

outdoor adventures lead


Don’t tell my boss, but this time of year I find myself spending more work hours staring wistfully out my office window — the gorgeous sunshine! The crystal-clear skies! — than at my computer screen. My antidote: evenings and weekends spent soaking up as much fresh air as I can. Luckily, Philly brims with options for guided outdoor excursions where you can try all sorts of activities, from bird-watching to trail running to kayaking. Here, five nature-soaked diversions to add to your summertime to-do list.

Grab the Binoculars
Do it: Bird-watching with BirdPhilly

Avian aficionados from the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club lead free birding outings most Saturdays in lesser-known green spaces throughout Philly (Mount Moriah Cemetery, Fox Chase Farm, Hunting Park). Walk leaders point out everything from bluebirds to orioles as you take in the sights. Free.

Lace Up Your Running Shoes
Do it: Trail runs in West Fairmount Park with Fairmount Park Conservancy

One Saturday a month, Philly running coach John Goldthorp leads three- and six-mile runs through the oft-overlooked nooks and crannies of the Belmont Plateau and the Chamounix trails. $10; free for Conservancy members.

Go Climb a Rock
Do it: Rock climbing at Ralph Stover State Park with Philadelphia Rock Gyms

Expert rock climber Harrison Bowen leads once-a-month half-day outings geared toward beginners at this 45-acre park near New Hope, where you can try several popular top-roping routes. All equipment is provided, and staffers work the ropes so you can climb worry-free. $60.

Break Out the Big Wheels
Do it: Mountain biking with Cadence Cycling & Multisport

Pros from this Manayunk bike shop lead mountain biking rides along backwoods trails in the Wissahickon every Sunday morning. Rides last from one to two hours and cover varied terrain. Free.

Hit the Water
Do it: Moonlight kayaking with Take It Outdoors Adventures

This outfitter runs monthly evening trips along local waterways, including the Schuylkill. The eight-mile journey includes a cookout at the halfway mark, where boats decked out with glow sticks light up the night. $90 with kayak rental, $45 without.

This article first appeared in the June issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: