Beginning at Parkside in Upper Gwynedd Township and ending at Stenton Avenue in Whitemarsh, the Green Ribbon Trail is a passive recreational trail that shadows the Wissahickon Creek. This 12.6 mile trail is well marked and connects a variety of parks and protected natural areas such as Parkside Place, Penllyn Woods, Four Mills Nature Reserve and Fort Washington State Park. For more than 50 years, WVWA has either acquired or received permissions to allow trail access over more than 40 properties and 200 acres to complete the Green Ribbon Trail. In the last few years, WVWA worked with Cedarbrook Country Club to obtain a nearly half-mile trail easement through the club. With this easement, seven stepping stone crossings and the Rotary Bridge, the Green Ribbon Trail is now complete. You can now walk the entire trail without getting your feet wet while seeing a diverse wetlands, woodlands and meadows!
Early on along its northern portion, the trail intersects a power line right-of-way, where WVWA worked with PECO Energy Company to restore a meadow of native grasses and wildflowers under the power line cut.
It is along this section of the trail that perhaps the most diverse mosaic of environments and species can be found. The area is made up of riparian edge forest, sedge-wetland-shrub/scrub meadows, and young deciduous forest. The sedges, rushes, grasses, wildflowers, vines and shrubs found here allow for an impressive diversity of insect and wildlife species, from rare Monarch and Red-banded Hairstreak butterflies and dogbane beetles, to Pickerel and Green Frogs.
As you walk the trail, keep an eye out for Monarch and Red-banded Hairstreak butterflies, Dogbane Beetles, Praying Mantises, Eastern Red Damselflies, Ambush Bugs (commonly seen on wildflowers) and Spine-tailed Clubtail dragonflies. Pickerel and Green Frogs can be seen hopping along the trailside, while Bluebirds, Yellow Warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Goldfinches and Song Sparrows wing through the grasses.
A number of noteworthy plant species exist along the Green Ribbon Trail. Sections include emergent wetland openings, oak-beech mixed forest, and young forest and floodplain communities. A colony of dodder (Cuscuta campestris), a parasitic plant which may be recommended for listing as a threatened plant in Pennsylvania, as well as a scattering of butternut trees, a “species of federal concern” recommended for special population status in the state, were both documented near the trail’s southern boundary. The varied plant communities along the trail are a determining factor in what insect species are able to thrive. A noteworthy elderberry borer beetle, a species declining locally throughout its range, was found along the trail.
Please remember WVWA's sections of the Green Ribbon Trail are for foot traffic only. Unleashed dogs may disturb breeding birds and wildlife, please use leashes and pick up after your pet and yourselves. Leave only footprints, take only memories.
The Green Ribbon Trail American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) assessment is available here.
Green Ribbon Trail, North: Upper Gwynedd and Lower Gwynedd
View Green Ribbon Trail, North in a larger map
Green Ribbon Trail, South: Ambler and Fort Washington
View Green Ribbon Trail, South in a larger map
Montgomery County's Wissahickon Trail, Whitemarsh
View Wissahickon Trail in a larger map
Wissahickon Trail: A web page provided by Montgomery County.