Ridley Creek State Park: Delaware County’s Outdoor Destination

Diana Dopheide

About Ridley Creek State Park

Ridley Creek State Park, located in Media, Delaware County, PA, has over 2,000 acres of preserved open land available for hiking, biking, picnicking, overnight camping, fishing and horseback riding.

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Trail at Ridley Creek State ParkDavid Barron/Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife Species

While visiting, guests can expect to see forests, pastures, marshes and streams. Among those habitats, various species of wildlife exist, including deer, foxes and raccoons to name a few. Great blue herons are often visible as well as songbirds. Some trees that are originally from the colonial times are still present, including oak, beeches, maple and hickory.

Hiking/Biking

The state park offers 13 miles of walking trails all over the park with a diverse range of habitats. There are also five miles of trails available for biking.

Fishing

Guests are also permitted to fly fish at the designated creek area running from the Sycamore Mills Dam to the mouth of Dismal Run. All trout must be released after being caught.

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Fly Fishing at Ridley Creek State ParkMichael W Murphy/Flickr

Picnicking

While visiting, guests have the option to pack a lunch and dine at any of the several hundreds of tables in the 14 designated picnic areas. Charcoal grills are also available for use for barbecues. Other facilities are also available in the picnic areas such as large sports fields and playgrounds.

Overnight Camping

Visitors can reserve camping spaces from April to October. There are two group sites available for camping. According to Alexa Rose, Ridley Creek State Park Manager, overnight camping is very popular with boy and girl scout troops and church groups.

Horseback Riding

Ridley Creek State Park, the only park in Delaware County with access to horseback riding trails, has nearly five miles of trails available for equestrian use. Guests are allowed to bring their own horses and can park their trailers at the trailhead in Picnic Area #8.

The park also has a private farm located on-site and owned and operated by Tom and Ellie Chidester. Since 1996, Hidden Valley Farm has been offering boarding, lessons, pony rides and special events. More information can be found here.

Events & Programs

Ridley Creek hosts several leisure and environmental education events for people of all ages from April to November.

“We have one seasonal Environmental Education Specialist who offers hikes, tours, hands-on activities, and impromptu activities throughout the spring, summer and fall months,” said Rose. “If anyone is looking for a specific program they’d like to see offered, they can contact the park office.”

Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation

During their visit, guests can also visit the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. This facility provides attendees with an inside look into what life was like in Delaware County during the 1680s. From April to November, visitors can watch staff members reenact daily tasks from the 18th century such as preserving and cooking food, farming crops and producing textiles.

Weddings and Special Events

Each year about 60 couples choose Parque at Ridley Creek State Park as their wedding venue. Each wedding and special event is catered at this exclusive location by Peachtree Catering and Events. Each wedding takes place in the Hunting Hill Mansion, a restored gray stone farmstead with its origins dating back from 1789.

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Hunting Hill Mansion at Ridley Creek State ParkSmallbones/Wikimedia Commons

The mansion includes amenities such as a bridal suite, ballroom, grand staircase and a living room area. Parts of the original property are still existent today, including the 2,000 acres of meadows, horse stables, and hiking routes.

Volunteering

Guests can volunteer with the park by participating in the group Friends of Ridley Creek State Park. Volunteers focus on trail maintenance and running adopt-a-trail programs.

“There are also individual and group volunteer opportunities for guests to participate in on a case by case basis run by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,” said Rose.

Those who are interested can fill out an application on Ridley Creek State Park’s website.

Visit

Ridley Creek State Park is located at 1023 Sycamore Mills Rd, Media, PA 19063 with parking available at all picnic and trailhead locations.

According to Rose, it was determined that more than 1 million people visited the park last year, with the pandemic generating increased turnout due to people being isolated indoors.

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Diana Dopheide is a communications graduate from Penn State University. She is an aspiring journalist who loves to write and takes great pleasure in being able to share interesting stories with the local community. Her features include outdoor activities, community and lifestyle news in Greater Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA
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