A Legendary Local Hike

Discover Lover’s Leap this winter when the trees are bare, and views are extra-wide and spectacular.

Just over Henry Avenue’s bridge, a path into the Wissahickon leads to stunning views from a rocky outcropping known as  “Lover’s Leap, ” that juts high over the creek & Lincoln drive. Long ago (the legend goes) a young Native American couple sprung to their death over tribal disputes thwarting their marriage.

Not the most pleasant of endings, sure, but at least they had a nice walk first — on arguably the most breathtaking trail in the Wissahickon. Right in our own backyard, yet. Strap on your hikers, let’s check this out.

If you can walk to PhillyU, you can walk to the trailhead — it’s just over the Henry Bridge going into Roxborough. Otherwise, there’s a parking lot on the left. Traffic tip: easiest way to get here is to go past it first and turn left after the lot, onto the other end of Hermit, and then follow this skinny road all the way back (map and shortcut below.)

Head into the woods past the Hermitage to the yellow trail that goes under Henry Avenue’s bridge.  Another hundred yards,  the terrain turns rocky and dramatic.  Lover’s Leap’s about 100 yards towards the right: the path branches some, stay on the one that leads toward the gorge over Lincoln (in winter you can kinda see this thru the trees).

Although you’ll see many precipices, Lover’s Leap stands out as the highest & farthest out over the gorge. Views of the creek, Lincoln Drive, Henry Ave bridge, Alden Park, the bike path below…

Looking straight down, however, might disappoint thrill-seekers. Maybe back in the day, the drop was more sheer but nowadays its more of a steep slope thru rocks & underbrush. More of a “Lover’s Roll” than a leap or a plunge, I think, but still an exciting view (and tame enough for kids and acrophobics).

From here, the Wissahickon is your playground. Trails lead down to the creek, Forbidden Drive, historic Rittenhouse Town, 100 Steps in Roxborough — you can even get to the waterfalls at the Wissahickon Transfer Center, where the creek flows down to the Schuylkill.

For more ideas, our Walkable Wissahickon guide provides maps, pics, and details on three interlooping local trails full of nature and history. Happy hiking!

SHORTCUT:  Instead of parking in the lot on the left side of Henry, pull over on the right where there’s a little grass “landing” and a cement block that seems to indicate parking (the trail opens right beyond that).

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