Ridley Creek State Park
Ridley Creek State Park encompasses over 2,606 acres of Delaware County woodlands and meadows. The gently rolling terrain of the park, bisected by Ridley Creek, is only 16 miles from center city Philadelphia and is an oasis of open space in a growing urban area.
Park visitors enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities year-round. Public use areas are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The restrooms in picnic areas #7 and #17 are open year-round.
Picnicking: There are hundreds of picnic tables in 14 picnic areas. Each area is equipped with restrooms and charcoal grills. Several of the areas have large fields suited to sports activities. Areas #3, #8, #11 and #17 have playground equipment and picnic pavilions. The pavilions can be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fishing: Ridley Creek is stocked with trout and provides excellent angling. The portion of the creek from Sycamore Mills Dam to the mouth of Dismal Run is a catch and release, fly fishing only area. An ADA accessible fishing platform is on the paved, Multi-use Trail along Sycamore Mills Road. Vehicle permits must be acquired at the park office.
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.
Hiking: 13 miles of trails
Biking/Jogging: 5 miles of trails
Bikes are prohibited on unpaved hiking trails.
Horseback Riding: 4.7 miles of trails
Formal Gardens and Landscaping: The gardens by the park office are a popular attraction and wedding site. The mansion ballroom is available for weddings and events. Contact the park office for information.
Organized Group Tenting: Qualified organized groups can use the 120-person area from April to October. A restroom with flush toilets, but no showers, is available. Call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757) for required reservations.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.
Cross-country Skiing: Cross-country skiers may use the hiking and multi-use trails when snow cover permits.
Sledding: A large grassy slope by the park office is popular for sledding.
Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation provides visitors with an accurate picture of life on a Delaware County farm prior to the American Revolution.
The Plantation has been a working farm for over 300 years. It is restored to a late 18th century appearance complete with animals typical of the period and authentically clothed historical interpreters. On weekends from April to November, visitors can observe the farm family cooking over the open hearth, preserving foods, processing textiles, tending field crops and performing other chores necessary to survival in the 18th century world.
A fee is charged and group tours are available by reservation. The plantation is closed to public visitation during the winter months. www.colonialplantation.org
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Ridley Creek no longer offers environmental education and interpretive programming due to significant reductions in the budget of the Bureau of State Parks.
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.
The 2,600-acre Ridley Creek State Park provides important habitat and open space in the urban sprawl of southeastern Pennsylvania. Park habitats include old growth and new growth forests, fields and meadows, wetlands and the creek corridor. The state mammal, the white-tailed deer, is common, along with fox, raccoon, rabbit, squirrel and others. Great blue herons frequent Ridley Creek. Many species of songbirds can be seen and heard in the park.
The park is home to many large, old trees, some dating back to colonial times. Oak, beech, walnut, maple, sycamore, hickory and tulip poplar dominate the tree canopy. Dogwood, spicebush and witch hazel trees make a colorful understory to the forest. Many non-native trees and plants in the park were planted for landscaping many years ago.
The most rare and unique tree in the park is the large Franklin Tree (Franklinia alatamaha) by the Hunting Hill Mansion. This short tree has large, shiny leaves that turn orange and red in the fall. The large, white flowers bloom in early autumn. In 1765, noted botanists John and William Bartram discovered the species growing in one spot in Georgia. A decade later, William collected seeds and planted them in Philadelphia. By 1803 the last Franklinia was extinct in the wild. All Franklin trees today are descendents of the first trees propagated by the Bartrams, and named for their friend Ben Franklin.
Within the park boundaries was a small 18th century village, which grew up around the site of a mill. Now known as Sycamore Mills, the area had been previously named Bishop’s Mill and Providence Mill. The miller’s house, the office and library, and several small mill workers’ dwellings are currently used as private residences. The park area has been designated as the “Ridley Creek State Park Historic District” on the National Register of Historic Places.
Park property was purchased in the 1960s with Project 70 funds, and developed with Land and Water Conservation Fund moneys. Park facilities were dedicated to public use in August of 1972.
The park office is in the Hunting Hill Mansion, built by the Jeffords family in 1914. The mansion was built around a 1789 Pennsylvania stone farmhouse that forms the core of the building and serves as the reception center.
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Join the Friends of Ridley Creek State Park
The Friends of Ridley Creek State Park is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing Ridley Creek State Park. It as an affiliate chapter of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation, and is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, which means that your contribution is tax deductible. Any money that you donate to the Friends will benefit Ridley Creek State Park directly. The Friends coordinate a wide variety of volunteer activities that benefit the park. www.friendsofrcsp.org
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
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.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Ridley Creek State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau. www.brandywinecvb.org
Pennsylvania Resources Council
This nonprofit organization provides information and educational programs on a wide variety of environmental issues. The PRC’s Environmental Living Center is in the park. www.prc.org
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
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.
Common Birds Brochure
Common Birds of Ridley Creek (.pdf) (356 kb, 3/11)
The main entrance to Ridley Creek State Park is Sandy Flash Drive South at Gradyville Road.
For GPS, use the following address:
GPS DD: Lat. 39.95065 Long. -75.45175
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.
Ridley Creek State Park