Finally finished (or started, depending how you look at it) the ‘Four Corners’ of Fairmount Park’s Wissahickon trail system. The Four Corners are loosely defined as (starting in the northwest in a clockwise fashion):
- The Tree House
- Northwestern Ave. Stables
- Rittenhouse Town
- Kelpius’ Hermit Cave
I’ll say that aesthetically those are the four corners, but true geographic corners are really defined by slightly less notable landmarks, namely:
- Where the ‘Meadow Loop’ trail of the Andorra Natural Area starts heading north/northeast (by the house in the corner @ ~ 900 block of Northwestern Ave). Note: black connector trail is closed for restoration so you’ll need to follow the Meadow Loop to the blue trail which will take you to the Tree House on the red trail (if you want more mileage / quality running you could finish out the red trail before heading to the next corner).
- The corner of Germantown & Northwestern Aves (there is occasionally a water tap/hose on the sidewalk in front of Bruno’s Restuarant; I asked at the stables they said they had no public water access).
- The Sunoco on Wissahickon Ave. / W. Rittenhouse St.
- And finally, the 100 Stairs that lead up to Freeland Ave (I usually bear right at the top and onto the dirt trails, which lead to the Hermit’s Cave).
If you include most of the Cresheim Creek Trail and continue to bear left or right (depending whether you’re going clockwise/counter) and stay on all outer/upper trails the total will be in the 21-24 mile range, I think ~22.5 miles sounds about right for my loop, my GPS was a bit wonky and read 24.4 miles but I think that was long (compared to half loops that I’d done previously).
My upper loop took about 2 hours and then the lower loop almost 3 hours. If you exclude my stop at Sunoco it still wasn’t particularly fast. I found the final 2 hours pretty challenging. I am signed up for the Dam Full Marathon (formerly the R. B. Winter Trail Challenge) in Bald Eagle State Forest in the middle of September so hopefully I can get in at least one more long run before then.
Here’s the Garmin data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/566541184