Philly is full of surprises. My mom and I went for an early morning hike, despite drizzly conditions it was remarkably warm on and pleasant at the end of December. Our destination was John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge [8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19153] America’s first urban refuge and another incredible gem right within the city limits.
You may be smushed between the airport and downtown, but trust me, you’ll forget all about the outside world here as you immerse yourself in nature. We stopped at the visitor’s center to grab a trail map and found out there are 10 miles of trails in the preserve. Don’t worry, the place is well marked, you won’t have trouble finding your way around.
The park ranger suggested the Impoundment Loop which is 3.5 miles round trip, just the distance we were looking for as we had a lot more to do later on. Heading onto the trail we saw the most perfect tree stump!
The woods were brief and we soon found ourselves in a marshy scene. I am thinking they should consider renaming the place the ‘Great Blue Heron Refuge’ because my goodness, we couldn’t walk more than a few minutes without sighting one!
What a healthy population. We barely felt the mileage as there was always something to look at and no elevation gain. Be sure to check out the observation deck which gazes out upon the large lake.
This is surely an epic birding spot! We spotted woodpeckers, cardinals, wrens, ducks, geese, birds of prey, you name it!
Everyone was out reveling in the warm weather. We were even treated to a bald eagle sighting! We surely would have passed by unknowing if it wasn’t for the signage pointing out the nest.
I am shocked and amazed at how well the eagle blends into the tree and grey sky as compared to a blue day when the white head pops against the sky. If you love birding this is a must hike spot.
Right on the Atlantic Flyway with a wonderful variety of species and an overall peaceful, beautiful place.