A complete loop hike from the parking area and Visitor Center off Lindbergh Road to access the eastern half of the refuge. With flat, wide paths and viewing platforms along the way, this route provides visitors of all ages and abilities with a natural escape from the surrounding city. There are a few additional spur trails to lengthen your hike or vary return trips.
This hike differs from the John Heinz: West Loop
by exploring the emergent wetland along Darby Creek, while the western loop heads along the tidal marsh. An emergent wetland typically has plants growing through it year-round, while a tidal marsh has more inlets and waterways that fill and drain with the tides.
PA fishing license required for fishing within designated areas at the refuge.
Head around the Tinicum Marsh on this counterclockwise loop, which uses the Wetland Loop Trail
with a brief connection on the Turkey Foot Trail
and Tinicum Trail
in the southwest corner. As the trails in this refuge can be traveled in any direction, this loop can be adapted in a number of ways or simply reversed for a different perspective. See the John Heinz: West Loop
for another hike option from the parking area off Wanamaker Ave/Rte 420.
For this hike, follow signage for the Wetland Loop Trail
and continue straight (west) between Darby Creek to the right (north) and Tinicum Marsh to the left (south). Given the amount of preserved marsh and wetland, it's no surprise that this refuge has been deemed an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society. Keep your eyes to the sky and upper canopy of the trees as numerous bird species use this area for nesting and a migration stop-over.
After 0.3 miles, continue past the Big Boardwalk Loop Trail
that heads across the marsh to head south as the Wetland Loop Trail
winds along the wetland boundary. Just before one mile from the start, look for a restroom and observation tower to gain an unobstructed view over the emergent wetland.
Continue south until the first intersection around mile 1.4. Stay right onto one of the Turkey Foot Trail
sections as it meets with the Tinicum Trail
just north of I-95. The Tinicum Trail
provides the main access from the parking area and trailhead off Rte 420. Turn left (east) onto a short section of the Tinicum Trail
and continue straight (east) back onto the Wetland Loop Trail
with options to explore the Frog Pond Trail
, Warbler Woods Trail
, or Big Boardwalk Loop Trail
on this return leg back to the starting point.
Deer, red-bellied turtles, songbirds, bald eagles, osprey, egrets, herons, owls, etc.
Established in 1972 and renamed after the local U.S. House member, John Heinz, died in 1991.