Located just a stone’s throw from Philadelphia, Fort Washington State Park is a popular day trip destination for those who enjoy nature.
A renowned spot for colorful dogwood trees, the park is resplendent with them in spring when thousands bloom.
Rich as well in historical significance, the park takes its name from a temporary fort structure that was built by troops of George Washington during the fall of 1777.
It doesn’t have much in the way of overnight camping accommodation, other than organized group tenting. But if you are looking for a place to escape city life for a while, and reconnect with nature, this is a wonderful destination in which to do it.
This Pennsylvania state park is open all year round from sunrise to sunset, with the day use areas opening at 8:00 A.M.
Whilst you are at the park you can enjoy its wonderful outdoor setting in a myriad of ways.
Some of the recreational activities you can do include fishing, hiking, birding, disc golfing and picnicking, as well as winter activities like sledding and cross-country skiing.
Here is some more information about all of them.
Fishing at Fort Washington State Park
Fort Washington State Park offers lovely fishing at the scenic Wissahickon Creek.
In the spring it accommodates plenty of trout, while in the summer, warmwater fish like carp, suckers, catfish and panfish can be caught in abundance.
As with any recreational park in the state, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws and regulations apply.
Hiking at Fort Washington State Park
Accommodating more than 3.5 miles of trails, the park is a lovely spot for hiking.
Throughout it, there are several pathways that guests can trek along. This includes the likes of the Wissahickon Green Ribbon Trail and Fort Washington Trail. Both of which will take you through stunning terrains that feature gorgeous flora and historic buildings.
It’s worth noting that after heavy rain, some of these trails might become a bit muddy, as they make their way through open fields and forest.
With that in mind, however, here is a small selection of some of the most popular trails at Fort Washington State Park:
- trail 1 – Flourtown Nature Trail. Length: 0.8 mile Degree of Difficulty: easy
- trail 3 – LDA West Loop Trail. Length: 2 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy
- trail 2 – Green Ribbon Preserve Trail. Length: 2.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy
Birding at Fort Washington State Park
Birding is one of the most popular activities that people come to Fort Washington State Park for.
As it is immersed among thick forest, you will find the park is home to a wide range of bird species including owls, sparrows, goldfinches and bluebirds.
Many of which can be viewed from an ADA accessible observation deck that was constructed by volunteers in 1995. Open year round, this deck offers a wonderful scenic look out point. It also provides fabulous views of the butterfly garden as well.
In the fall, a huge migration of raptors takes place within the park. During which thousands of these types of birds, across 16 different species, stop at the park.
Between September 1st and October 31st ‘Hawk Watch’ takes place, which is a spectacle not to be missed.
Disc Golfing at Fort Washington State Park
For those who enjoy disc golfing there is a wooded nine-hole course within the park.
It begins at Lot #2 in the Militia Hill Day Use Area, where you will find a kiosk that has a map of the course – which is suitable for players of all abilities.
Picnicking at Fort Washington State Park
With well over 300 picnic tables available within both the Militia Hill and Flourtown Day Use areas, picnicking is a very popular activity at the park.
Most of these tables occupy very scenic spots which are perfect for an al fresco dining experience.
Within the park, two picnic pavilions for larger groups are available to use all year round, depending on weather conditions.
You can rent them up to 11 months in advance. But if they have not been reserved, they are available on a first-come, first served basis.
Please note, the Flourtown Day Use Area does not have trash collection or facilities for recycling. So please be respectful of the park and take all your rubbish away with you.
Winter activities at Fort Washington State Park
When the winter comes, the park tends to receive a lot of snow, which turns it into a wonderful outdoor playground for those who enjoy activities like skiing and sledding.
For skiers, the park has a special 1.7-mile loop trail – specifically designed for skiing – that meanders its way through it.
Over near lot #5 in the Militia Hill Day Use Area, sledders will have alot of fun on the 400-foot slope.
Pets at Fort Washington State Park
Dogs are welcome at the park in all outdoor spaces, including the fortifications, so long as they are on a leash and you clean up after them.
However, other than service animals, dogs are not allowed to enter the Visitor Center or any indoor space. They are also prohibited from the ball fields, playfields and the organized group tenting area.
Please phone the park’s main office for further clarification about this.
Camping at Fort Washington State Park
Camping at Fort Washington State Park is restricted to organized group tenting.
Open all year round, there is a rustic area here than can accommodate up to 220 people.
If you are looking for a place to camp in a tent, or with your RV, there are several other campgrounds located within easy reach of the park.
This includes the Boulder Woods Campground, which is a motorhome campground that hosts several trailer sites, as well as the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA Holiday park.
Between them they offer a range of amenities including everything from electric hookups, water and WI-FI to a swimming pool, playground and ice cream stand.
Fort Washington State Park
500 S Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing some trails at Fort Washington State Park:
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