Wissahickon trail to Devil's Pool to be closed on weekends

The city says as many as 1,200 people a day visit the dangerous swimming hole on weekends.

Hadas Kuznits
August 16, 2018 - 2:07 pm
Devil’s Pool

John McDevitt | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A hiking trail in the Wissahickon Valley that ends at a popular swimming hole is being closed on weekends from now through the end of September.  

Katherine Ott Lovell, commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation said Thursday that the city has seen a huge influx of folks swimming at Devil's Pool over the past few months.

"We're estimating that there are as many as 1,200 people a day at Devil's Pool on the weekends," Ott Lovell said. 

She says it's not safe to swim there, so they're closing the trail on weekends.

"We did try to educate people initially about the dangers of swimming at Devil's Pool, and we've had rangers out there for months now letting people know that they shouldn't be swimming there. We have tried to educate people about the water quality, because it is untreated water," she said. "And none of it's worked."

She says not only are there no lifeguards on duty, "there's not great cell service, so it's tough to call emergency personnel to respond. It's also really, really challenging for emergency personnel to get access."

Ott Lovell says she understands the lure of this trail. "There are not many swimming pools like Devil's Pool."

But while Devil's Pool is closed, she points out there are hundreds of other Wissahickon trails to hike. "The Wissahickon is 1,800 acres of magnificent green space, and we don't want people to think that the Wissahickon is closed. It is not. It is just one trail."

And, she added, Philly public pools and spraygrounds are still open for the time being.