Ridley Creek State Park

Ridley Creek State Park is a 2,606-acre Pennsylvania state park in Edgmont, Middletown, and Upper Providence Townships, Delaware County. The park, offers many recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking. Ridley Creek passes through the park. Highlights include miles of trails, a 5-mile (8 km) paved multi-use trail, a formal garden designed by the Olmsted Brothers, and Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, which recreates daily life on a pre-Revolutionary farm. The park is adjacent to the John J. Tyler Arboretum. The bulk of the property was acquired in the late 1960s from the estate of well known horse breeder Walter M. Jeffords, Sr. and his wife Sarah, a niece of Samuel D. Riddle. The Jeffords had acquired the land starting about 1912 in small parcels, until they had over 2,000 acres, which was the largest private undeveloped property in the Philadelphia area by the 1960s. By 1918 they had built a large mansion, now the park office, around a stone colonial farmhouse. Twenty-four other historic properties were located on the grounds, many farmsteads that had retained family ownership since the seventeenth century. In 1976 these properties were registered on the National Register of Historic Places as a national historic district. The area was originally settled by English Quakers and remained agrarian into the twentieth century. The oldest property is the 1683 Worrel House. In 1718 a water mill, then known as Providence Mill, began to grind corn. In the late 18th century a plaster mill was established next to the grist mill. A rolling and slitting mill replaced the plaster mill by 1812, and became known as Bishop's Mills. Workers cottages, a dam, and several outbuildings complete the mill complex, now known as Sycamore Mills. The mills operated until 1901, when they were damaged by fire.

Although the trails were heavily traveled, they were well maintained, clean, and well marked. The trails were also heavily wooded in sections and had plemty of elevation changes with brisk ups and downs. Few rocks, but plenty of roots. There a some benched scattered here and there where the trails cross some paved roads. There is lots of parking and various trail heads, so no worries there. A few soggy areas, so apporpriate footware is recommended. With so many miles of trails, you can spend a few days exploring the grounds. 

On July 29, 2020, we hiked the "southern loop" trails, totaling approximately 7.2 km. We meandered, stopped, took pictures, and smelled the flowers so it took hus about 3.5 hours to complete. Photos from that adventure are included below.  Also, a special shout out to park ranger Gary. Gary informed that us it was international tiger day (who knew?) and after chatting, we learned that for a time, Gary worked in Houston County, Texas, where my family is from. Small world. 

I have no doubt that we will go back to hike some more - so expect more photos in the future. Beautiful seetings with miles of trails to explore. We really liked this place. For more information, Click HERE

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