Cycle Philadelphia, Road Ride, Forbidden Drive Ride
The shaded Forbidden Drive, which runs along the Wissahickon Creek, is a favorite for cyclists and runners to escape the sounds of the city. The rumblings of the creek offer a delightful contrast to the daily beeps and horns of downtown, plus, there are lots of critters roaming around the drive. Nature in the city comes in all shapes and sizes, including that baby crawfish.
Forbidden Drive is a timeless gravel path along the Wissahickon Creek in lush Fairmount Park.
Oh lots! Runners, hikers, frogs, and cyclists all enjoy this wooded area.
There are two main entrances to Forbidden Drive; one is located on Ridge Avenue across from the Kelly Drive portion of the Schuylkill River Trail, and the other at trail’s end just off Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill which has a large parking lot. Buses 1, 9, and 27 will drop you near the Ridge Avenue entrance, though you could also bike down from Boathouse Row
Food and Drink
You’ll pass the Valley Green Inn, rumored to have been in business since 1683. The inn offers a lovely oasis by the creek to stop and have a cold drink or a longer gourmet lunch. Bruno’s, a comfortable diner, is near the northwestern entrance.
Devil’s Pool is just off Forbidden Drive, near Livezey Lane. Thanks to recent cleanup efforts by The Friends of the Wissahickon, the shallow swimming hole is coming back to life as an adventurous spot to cool off in the summer.
If you pick up the path by Ridge Avenue, then you are actually on the Wissahickon Bikeway before reaching Forbidden Drive proper. The bikeway was revamped in 2007 to improve the connection between the Wissahickon and Kelly Drive. It offers cyclists a 1.5 mile paved path that runs through Fairmount Park alongside Lincoln Drive. Once you reach Forbidden Drive, the trail becomes packed gravel.
There are a lot of arched bridges along the way, and one red covered bridge that juts out of the greenery in a striking color contrast worthy of the brightest oil paints. Stop by the creek and dunk your feet or touch the water with your hands – you may catch yourself a cute little crawfish! When you reach Northwestern Avenue, make a right on road to reach Bruno’s, Chestnut Hill College, or continue down the hill to reach the entrance to Morris Arboretum. Or just have a rest and turn back towards the city! It’s pretty hard to get lost on Forbidden Drive! Just follow the path.
21.24 km / 13.198 mi
661 m / 2,167 ft
660 m / 2,167 ft
67 m / 221 ft