Contributed by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Morris Arboretum Volunteer and Penn State Master Gardener


View of the meandering Wissahickon Creek through a group of trees from a walking path in the Arboretum's woodland.

I recently enjoyed a new discovery at the Morris Arboretum. I got lost briefly during my visit, which helped me to spot my “discovery.” You know that the Arboretum is a big place—about 92 acres—and sometimes you can lose your bearings about where you are on the grounds.

Well, I came upon a footpath, just off to the side of the outdoor cafe. It was an unpaved, dirt path that led downhill, enticing me to explore further. After a short walk, I noticed I was entering into a wooded area, with hundreds of tall, narrow trees, standing like watchful sentinels. The snaking path below my feet was framed by lush ground vegetation and small woody plants. Thin rays of sunlight cast down through openings in the tree canopy. Broad shade cover made it feel cool and comforting. I knew I was still in the Arboretum. But where exactly was I?  


"Inside Out" sculpture near a path in the Arboretum's woodland. The Pennsylvania limestone pillars are arranged "inside out", inviting one to explore the raw outer surface of this natural stone material.

In the spirit of the adage, “follow your nose,” I just kept walking forward. What I saw around me differed from the Arboretum’s more familiar sprawling open landscapes, defined garden spaces and smooth paved paths. My newly “discovered” wooded area radiated untouched natural beauty. It was such a serene and still place. Even better, further ahead I saw a wide meandering creek. By now, I gathered that I must be among the Arboretum's woodland along the Wissahickon Creek. On the paths above the creek are stunning views of flowing water, large rock outcroppings, and rich greenery!  

You can enter the woodland’s paths from either the Arboretum’s wetland or from its sculpture garden located below the fernery. Woodland alert: these paths are not suited for small children and cannot accommodate strollers as they’re unpaved, narrow and hilly. Sturdy walking shoes will help make your walking more comfortable. Take a walk in the Arboretum’s woodland and bathe in its’ natural beauty.