Four Mills Nature Reserve is home to Wissahickon Trails’ historic headquarters, the Four Mills Barn. The barn was designed by Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer and built in 1891 as part of an estate called "Abendruh."
The 56-acre Four Mills Nature Reserve in Ambler offers visitors two trails along the Wissahickon Creek. Both are part of our larger Green Ribbon Trail, and begin at our offices, at the Four Mills Barn. You’re welcome to stop in Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm to request information or speak with our staff. Enjoy a snack at our picnic tables before or after your walk.
Choose from two loop trails, each about 0.5 miles in length. As you leave our offices to begin your walk, you’ll use two bridges to cross the Wissahickon Creek. Here the trail divides. Turn left, and you will eventually cross the Rotary Bridge which connects to the Borough of Ambler. Turn right, and you will follow the trail and come to the Rose Rubenstein Stepping Stone Crossing in a quarter mile. This crossing was added in 2011 to connect the reserve to Germantown Academy.
As you walk, you’ll experience the Wissahickon Creek’s beautiful floodplain, which consists largely of wooded areas. You’ll see a variety of trees in the canopy, including red maple, box elder, sycamore, bitternut hickory, and American elm. Wild leek, trout lily, and jack-in-the-pulpit intermingle on the forest floor in spring.
Several local creeks, including Prophecy Creek, Stuart Farm Creek, and Spring Run, all join the Wissahickon Creek at Four Mills. You’ll see lots of dragonflies and damselflies, which flock to the varied waterways here.
You’ll also find a large wetland area located on the southeastern portion of Four Mills, near Morris Road. Here you’ll see native plants, such as skunk-cabbage, tussock sedge, floating manna grass, and sharp-fruited rush. Along the waterway you may see two-lined and red-backed salamanders, and northern ring-necked and northern water snakes (both of which are non-venomous to humans). Listen for green and pickerel frogs and American toads. Eastern Box turtles have been spotted here as well. In the summer, Four Mills is home to a pair of nesting red-shouldered hawks. Keep your eyes peeled!