Wissahickon trail conditions

Ian F

Well-Known Member
I did a ride there this past Saturday (2/14).

Background note: I've been riding here with a local group since the early 90's and thus know the trails by the "pet names" given to them when the frist semi-organized group of mtn bikers first started riding here in the late 80's - known then as "The 12 O'Clock [noon] Crowd". Even sections of the trails have names... As such, I rarely refer to - or remember - the trails by the "color" names (Yellow, Purple, Red, Orange, Blue, etc) shown on the official trail maps. Basically the entire park is more or less broken up into 4 sections and the simple names, standing in front of the Valley Green Inn, looking at the creek:

"Pipeline": The trail the starts to the right after crossing the access road bridge. There are legal and illegal to ride sections of this trail. During high-traffic times, I stick to the legal trails.
"Fantasy": The trail behind the Inn that starts about 3/4 up the Wises Mill access road.
"The Indian" (upper and lower): The trail the starts to the left after crossing the access road bridge. There are legal and illegal trails as well. Plus, this section of the park backs up to the "money" area of Chestnut Hill, and there fore riding illegal sections is more likely to incur wrath.
"Fireroad/Meadows/Twisty-Windy/No-name/Monster: the trails that start on the Inn-side of the creek, but on the other side of Wises Mill road. There are a few illegal section here as well, although these make very little sense, make for a weird loop when followed and are often ignored... But I haven't ridden this section in awhile, so things may have changed...
The gravel path that follows the creek is Forbidden Drive (its actual street name). All of the trail sections have at least one bail-out point to the Drive, thus allowing one to shorten a ride or mix up different sections.

So with that out of the way... :rolleyes:

I parked in Chestnut Hill near the bike shop and rode Pipeline out to Lincoln Drive and Fantasy back. Conditions were as I predicted... a few sloppy sections (oddly enough there were the more recently cut sections by MORE, I think, that went around sections that while in rough places, had never had drainage issues... :hmmm: ), a few wet sections (not muddy - just wet - kinda strange, actually :confused: ) and mostly dry/damp and fast.

To give you idea of the conditions; I run semi-slicks (old Conti Double Fighters) and only on a couple of sections of Pipeline did I have traction problems.

The nice thing about riding the park at this time of year is the conditions are pretty fast and since the foliage hasn't filled in yet, you can see around the corners better so the fear of slamming into a hiker or a rider coming the other was is reduced. I saw a number of hikers and other riders.
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Ian F

Well-Known Member
I did a short ride yesterday with a long time buddy. Mainly rode Fantasy with a short (illegal) stint into the Meadows and then down Twisty-Windy. It was his first ride of the year, so we took it easy.

Despite some showers over the w/e, conditions were near perfect. Basically dry everywhere... much to my surprise, even the areas that had been soft a month ago were dry.

In all, it was a great day to be hammering on semi-slicks. :cool:

Something else I forgot to mention in the first post. At the Roxborough end of Fantasy, there is a section near a baseball field off Henry Ave. called the "BMX Bowl". Basically, a short and steep bowl area in the woods where kids/guys have been buildign jumps for a couple of decades... My buddy's place backs up to this area, so we rode through it to get to the trails. A lot of work has been done since the last time I was there. A bunch of table-top doubles and a few berms. There is also a nice looking step-down jump.
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