Fort Washington State Park
Rich in modern recreational facilities and historical significance, Fort Washington blossoms with flowering dogwood in the spring. The park takes its name from the temporary fort built by George Washington’s troops in the fall of 1777, before heading to Valley Forge. The park is popular with hikers and picnickers. Birders enjoy the seasonal migration of raptors from the Observation Deck.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Trash Disposal and Recycling: Fort Washington State Park participates in a carry-in/carryout trash disposal program. There are no trash collection or recycling facilities. Visitors are asked to limit the amount of disposable items brought to the park and to take all trash, garbage and recyclables home.
Picnicking: Flourtown Day Use Area and Militia Hill Day Use Area provide over 300 picnic tables. Two picnic pavilions are available for year-round use, weather conditions permitting. The pavilions are available for rental with advance reservations. If not reserved, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Large playfields offer ample room for group or individual picnic activities.
Flourtown Day Use Area is a carry-in/carry-out trash disposal area. There are no trash collection or recycling facilities. Visitors are asked to limit the amount of disposable items brought to the park and to take all trash, garbage, and recyclables home.
ADA accessible picnic tables and parking spaces have been designated throughout the park. Militia Hill Day Use Area has an accessible picnic pavilion, mini-pavilion, playground and restrooms.
Softball Field: The softball field in the Flourtown Day Use Area is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fishing: Wissahickon Creek passes through the park offering trout fishing in the spring. During the summer, it offers warm water fishing for carp, catfish, panfish and suckers.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
No Hunting: Hunting is prohibited at Fort Washington State Park.
Law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Hiking: 3.5 miles of trails
Green Ribbon Trail: This 2.5-mile multi-use trail provides opportunities for biking, hiking and cross-country skiing along Wissahickon Creek. It connects the Militia Hill and Flourtown Day Use areas via Montgomery County Park land. The trail also extends through local communities to the south and connects with Fairmount Park’s Forbidden drive in Chestnut Hill.
Dog Walking: Pets are permitted in Fort Washington State Park. All pets must be controlled and attended at all times and on a leash or otherwise safely restrained. Be considerate when walking your dog and carry a container to clean up after your pet. Also, please try to stay away from playfields, ball fields, picnic areas and the organized group tenting area.
Disc Golfing: The wooded, 9-hole course begins in Lot 2 in the Militia Hill Day Use Area at a kiosk with a map of the course.
Organized Group Tenting: This rustic area is open year-round and has a maximum capacity of 220 people.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Both beginner and expert skiers can enjoy the 1.7-mile loop trail in the Militia Hill Day Use Area.
Sledding: Near Lot 5 in the Militia Hill Day Use Area is a 400-foot slope for sledding.
Access for People with Disabilities
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
Observation Deck: Park volunteers built the ADA accessible deck in 1995.
The deck provides a scenic overlook year-round, and also provides great views of the butterfly garden.
All 16 species of raptors that migrate on the East Coast can be seen here. The “Watch” begins on September 1 and lasts through October 31. Volunteer compilers are on duty every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., counting raptors that migrate past the deck.
For more information, or to bring a group to the Hawk Watch Observation Deck, call: 215-591-5250.
Fort Washington State Park and the community of Fort Washington take their name from the temporary fort built here by soldiers of the American Revolution in the fall of 1777. Whitemarsh, as the area was called then, was the scene of the encampment of 12,000 soldiers of General Washington’s army from November 2 until December 11, 1777.
Following the unsuccessful battle of Germantown, Washington chose the heights of the Whitemarsh Valley as an easily defendable position. From here he pondered the possibility of launching an attack against General Howe’s British army in Philadelphia.
Although Washington decided against an attack, the British marched out from Philadelphia on December 5 to try to engage the Americans in battle. Because of Washington’s strong position, only local skirmishes took place. After much marching back and forth, Howe led his army back to Philadelphia on December 8.
Knowing his poorly clad men needed better quarters, and also to protect the iron forges and foundries in the Schuylkill Valley, Washington left Whitemarsh on December 11, 1777, and marched the Continental Army to Valley Forge. There the American spirit had its first rendezvous with destiny.
Although Fort Washington State Park is beyond the boundaries of Philadelphia, the city’s famous Fairmount Park Commission began acquiring land here in the early 1920s. The commission, with the assistance of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, administered the park until 1953 when an act by the state legislature turned the park over to the former Department of Forests and Waters, now the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Fort Hill: This hill was the western end of the Continental troop positions and was the site of the fort. All traces of the original fort have been lost.
Militia Hill: The Pennsylvania Militia, under the command of generals Armstrong, Cadwalader and Irvine, held positions along this ridge.
Clifton House: Built in 1801, Clifton House lies just north of Fort Hill on Bethlehem Pike. Formerly the Sandy Run Tavern, it now houses a valuable library and museum of local importance. It is operated by the Fort Washington Historical Society and is periodically open to the public. More information regarding the Clifton House can be obtained from: Fort Washington Historical Society, 473 Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034.
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DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
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Fort Washington State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.valleyforge.org
Norristown Farm Park: Visitors enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, and watching wildlife.
Hope Lodge: Just south of Fort Hill on Bethlehem Pike is Hope Lodge, a fine example of early Georgian Colonial Architecture. Built circa 1750, Hope Lodge is managed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is open to the public. www.ushistory.org/hope/
Valley Forge National Historical Park: This park is 15 miles to the south and provides the visitor with an understanding of the winter encampment of General Washington's forces. www.nps.gov/vafo/index.htm
Maps and Downloadables
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Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Fort Washington State Park consists of 493 acres in eastern Montgomery County. The park lies between the towns of Fort Washington and Flourtown along the Bethlehem Pike. It is about two miles from PA Turnpike Exit 339.
For GPS users of the Flourtown Day Use Area:
For GPS users of the Militia Hill Day Use Area:
Park Office GPS DD: Lat. 40.13027 Long. -75.21764
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Fort Washington State Park