Page 17 - Visit Delco - Spring/Summer 2021
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      Ridley Creek State Park
While natural beauty can certainly be found through- out the park, the grand showpiece of the grounds is the Hunting Hill Mansion and the formal gardens that surround the estate.
On a smaller scale, visitors will find several modest historical homes scattered throughout the park. These buildings represent the remnants of the once-vibrant village that grew up around the mill that harnessed the creek’s power. Several of these 18th-century homes are still used as private residences and are designated as the Ridley Creek State Park Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
History truly comes to life at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a working 18th-century farm located within the boundaries of the park. The plantation is open on weekends from April through November
and hosts several special events throughout the year. (There is an admission fee to enter the plantation.)
Whether you are searching for the ideal setting for
an intimate lunch for two or a large, family-friendly barbecue, it won’t take long to find just the spot. Four- teen picnic areas are available throughout the park, some more secluded than others and many outfitted with charcoal grills. (Can’t you just smell the hamburgers now?) A few of the larger picnic areas have covered pavilions, playground equipment and large, grassy fields — perfect for a game of Frisbee or wiffleball.
Twelve miles of nature trails weave throughout the park, practically daring outdoor adventurers to come explore the labyrinth of paths. The main paved trail is five miles long and is a favorite route for bikers, joggers, parents with strollers and dog walkers. As the trail follows along the creek, you never know what may lie around the bend. It might be the remnants of a home from the mill’s glory days, a majestic blue heron standing guard on the shore- line or a waterfall tumbling over the rocks. You’ll see plenty of bikers — young and old — and plenty of four-legged friends taking their owners out for a walk. (To access the paved trail, be sure to park in areas 7, 11, 15 or 17.)
Who knows how many hundreds of animals make
their home in the park, but we know three in particular that are especially popular with visitors: fishes, birds and horses.
Every season, fishermen of all ages flock to Ridley Creek because of its status as one of Pennsylvania’s “Stocked Trout Waters.” Fly fishermen also frequent the creek, especially the catch-and-release, flyfishing-only section between Sycamore Mills Dam and the mouth of Dismal Run. A wheelchair-accessible fishing platform is available on the paved trail along Sycamore Mills Road.
The park also provides an excellent environment to spot and study many different types of birds and
is recognized by the Audubon Society as a significant birding site. Dedicated bird watchers can enjoy a walk sponsored by a local birding group while beginners need nothing more than a pair of working binoculars (and a touch of patience) for an enjoyable afternoon.
Finally, if your idea of bliss is riding through the woods on horseback, then Ridley Creek is — yet
again — the place for you. There is a 4.7-mile horse trail that begins in Picnic Area 8 and has a parking lot for trailers at the trailhead. Hidden Valley Equestrian Farm operates a stable within the park that provides horse boarding, riding lessons, pony rides and other horse-related services.
RIDLEY CREEK STATE PARK is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. Restrooms can be found in picnic area 17. (Restrooms in area 7 were closed for renovations at the time of writing.) Visitor centers, exhibit halls and interpretive areas are closed due to the pandemic. For up-to- date COVID information, including requirements for out-of-state visitors, go to StateParks/FindAPark/RidleyCreekStatePark/ Pages/default.aspx.

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