Wissahickon Valley Park, Philly, PA

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
What I saw was a lot of muddy rutty sections and a few riders with mud all over their bikes. that was enough for me to call it and I rode roads, instead. It was too muddy and as IanF mentioned, Wissahickon used to drain well...

Wiss still drains better than most (and will as long as there is still schist is in the soil.) But it's never melted quickly after snow because of the denser canopy. The only area I would say has actually lost some of its drainage over the last few years would be the meadow, and that's kind of ironic since that only started happening after they re-designed it around '06 or so. They got rid of "invasive" plants and in so doing made it all softer and muddier after precipitation. (I use quotes for invasive because, technically, the whole fucking forest is invasive -- it was all industrial land 150 years ago. and every single tree and plant in that place was planted after it was "recovered.")
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
What the "experts" did to the Wissahickon trail system is still a very sore subject with me. :mad:
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
What the "experts" did to the Wissahickon trail system is still a very sore subject with me. :mad:

What did they do? The only sections they ever really tamed were the Monster (when they took out all the rocks about 8 or 9 years ago) and the section they re-graded directly across the creek from that. The rest of it is more or less the same -- all they've ever done was add miles. Back around 2000, the main loop was 15 miles. Today it's more than 20. And if you add the Spaghetti Bowl and the Cresheim Loop, it's about 25.
 

Brockwan

Member
What did they do? The only sections they ever really tamed were the Monster (when they took out all the rocks about 8 or 9 years ago) and the section they re-graded directly across the creek from that. The rest of it is more or less the same -- all they've ever done was add miles. Back around 2000, the main loop was 15 miles. Today it's more than 20. And if you add the Spaghetti Bowl and the Cresheim Loop, it's about 25.


how is making it longer worse?
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Longer isn't always better.

The changes happened over a decade ago. I don't really ride there anymore and neither do many of my friends from 20 years ago. Just pisses us off. Every year or two, I get amnesia and ride there and wonder WTF happened... The only reasonable improvement was the re-route of Fantasy* from Wises Mill. However, that re=route was really just a slight modification of an existing trail that started up near Henry Ave. In a nutshell, I'm not fond of many of the re-routes and how so many of the trails were smoothed out.

(*when I started riding there, we never referred to the trails by colors, so I never remember them)
 
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Brockwan

Member
I get you mate, so you are saying the smoothing it out made it worse.

I thought if more trails were made available that would make them less busy and give riders more options.

Was my first time there and I thought it was pretty cool to be honest. I see where you are coming from though where if something is good previously why change it.

Who are these "experts" you speak of?
 

MikeP

Well-Known Member
Been riding Wiss since the early 90s. They did take a lot of the tech out of the place in the name of the almighty FLOW. It's still a challenging place to ride and I understand some changes were needed both because of erosion and probably to appease other trail users. Monster used to be just brutal, but if you could make it all the way up it was an awesome feeling now....not so much. There used to be a trail we called the widow maker (not sure if that was the real name) the was fast and a few pretty gnarly drops, that trail isn't there anymore. Still it's a great place to ride and considering it seemed we were pretty closing to losing access at one point I applaud the work that was done but I still miss the old Wiss.
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
I'm done with this topic.

Realizing that you're done, I just have one more thing to add: the tech at Wiss ebbs and flows. I get your point about how they've smoothed out sections, but even some of those have already begun to regress (the Monster is becoming techy once again after the elbow.) It's not the most techy place out there -- it never was -- but it's still a challenging enough ride and if you want to make it tougher, just add the additional sections (the rock garden across Bells Mill Road and the Spaghetti Bowl.) Or for a bigger ride with more variation, link to Belmont Plateau area for a few log-overs and lower-speed tight single track. Philly still has plenty to recommend it! Don't count it out yet! :D
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
Where is the spaghetti bowl?

Across Lincoln Drive from the rest of the trails.

Here is a Garmin file that contains the main loop as well as the additional sections for Cresheim, the Bells Mill rock garden to Chestnut Hill College and the Spaghetti Bowl.

To get to Spaghetti Bowl, you can either go east to west by accessing it off West Rottenhouse Street after crossing Lincoln at the light near the Rittenhouse Village, or you can go west to east by taking the paved path that parallels Lincoln all the way to Ridge and taking a left after going under over the creek and then under the bridge. There are lots of twists and turns in the trail (hence the name) so if you know someone who knows it, it might be a good idea to go with them the first time.
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
Finished a recon of the main loop last night (didn't get out to Cresheim, which is likely still a bit too soft to ride right now, or Spaghetti Bowl.) On Sunday afternoon, I did a little post-HoH shake-out ride, covering the north side of the park from the stone bridge to Northwestern Ave. Aside from a couple of fallen trees, everything was pristine, including the meadow. The only real caution I'd throw out there is that there is a pretty huge tree down across the steepest part of the monster right now. Not a big deal if you are going up, but if you don't scrub speed after the last turn on the descent, it could be a problem. Plenty of time to see it, though. Last night, I did the south side of the park and it was in perfect condition. It was nice to get some up and down again after spending most of the past few months riding the same flat trails at Wharton.
 

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Ian F

Well-Known Member
Ok... I said I was done, but I just got back from there today. My horrific ride at the Neshaminy race made me realize I need more climbing in my mtn bike rides. I also realized today that I haven't ridden the Indian side of the park from Wises Mill in possibly 10 years. So a few comments:

The Indian trail is as technical as I remember it - possibly more so. I was humbled. :eek: ...which in a way kinda surprises me since that trail was the one the Chestnut Hillbillies tend consider their personal "back yard".

Yes, the Monster is easier, but it's still a long climb. But I was surprised to make it in my current pitiful condition.

Holy crap what happened to the Meadows? Not that the re-route is a bad trail, but wow is it different. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to match current park maps - or at least not the one another rider I was talking to had with him. At least twisty-windy is still pretty much the same.

I kinda miss the old Golf Course climb, but the re-route isn't bad and I'll admit was overdue.

At least the Stinky Bridge is still stinky... some things may never change... :rolleyes:
 

1speed

Incredibly profound yet fantastically flawed
Ok... I said I was done, but I just got back from there today. My horrific ride at the Neshaminy race made me realize I need more climbing in my mtn bike rides. I also realized today that I haven't ridden the Indian side of the park from Wises Mill in possibly 10 years. So a few comments:

The Indian trail is as technical as I remember it - possibly more so. I was humbled. :eek: ...which in a way kinda surprises me since that trail was the one the Chestnut Hillbillies tend consider their personal "back yard".

Yes, the Monster is easier, but it's still a long climb. But I was surprised to make it in my current pitiful condition.

Holy crap what happened to the Meadows? Not that the re-route is a bad trail, but wow is it different. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to match current park maps - or at least not the one another rider I was talking to had with him. At least twisty-windy is still pretty much the same.

I kinda miss the old Golf Course climb, but the re-route isn't bad and I'll admit was overdue.

At least the Stinky Bridge is still stinky... some things may never change... :rolleyes:

The meadow was re-done years ago. It was closed for a while during construction. I think that part of the park is actually a lot better now than it was before. If you haven't been there since that was re-engineered, there are probably a lot of other areas that would be new as well -- the newer trail up near Rittenhouse Village, the new (and expanding) Cresheim Trail, the Re-Coil. All fun stuff worth checking out!
 

The Kalmyk

Well-Known Member
Looking for a good map and safe parking suggestions. Asking for a map simply because I want to see all the trails available.



This was on the third page of searching the Riding Outside NJ forum.
 

Pearl

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Check this out, it's hard to follow but it's a 1speed Martin loop, so you know its good.
https://connect.garmin.com/activity/561989490

If you can arrive early and park at the Valley Green Inn that is the best. I haven't had any issues, just heard of them. the lots along the road are also usually pretty well traveled and haven't had any issues.

EDIT: this has some more trails too, also has Belmont aka Log over hell, if you're up for something different. Crazy to think this ride was March 24th with the weather we've been having :(
 
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