7 Best Hikes to Delaware
Delaware, located between Maryland & New Jersey, covers the majority of Delaware’s eastern half of the Delmarva Peninsula. As you might guess, this 180-mile-long, 71.5-mile-wide area of land is named after the states that it is occupied: Delaware and Maryland.
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Rhode Island is about twice the size of the state that ratified the Constitution of the United States. This makes it the second-smallest country in the Union. The Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean define the state’s eastern boundary. This allows for a variety of wetlands to be explored, including swamps, tidal creeks and marshes. Due to the state’s flat terrain, most of the scenic hiking trails in Delaware can be done by anyone with a basic level of experience.
Ashland Nature Center
The Ashland Nature Center is located just across the Delaware-Pennsylvania border and offers 4 miles worth of hiking trails that traverse 130 acres of woodland, meadows and marsh.
The Succession Trail is one of Ashland’s most popular hikes. This 1.2-mile loop starts near the visitor center. It follows Wildflower Brook and ends at Red Clay Creek. Visitors can also find pet-friendly interpretive trail options and observe native wildlife such as hawks or butterflies.
Pro Tip. The oldest bridge in Delaware spans Red Clay Creek, just east of Ashland Visitor Center. This bridge is one of three remaining covered bridges within the state. The Ashland Covered Bridge was built using lattice and truss in the mid-1800s.
Northern Delaware Greenway trail
You can explore northern Delaware beyond Brandywine Creek State Park using the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail. This trail connects Alapocas Run State Park with Bellevue State Park hiking trails. This trail is for those who like to see more than old growth trees, seasonal wildflowers, flowing creeks, and other things.
Two historic estates can be seen along the trail. Rockwood, situated to the east Alapocas Run State Park and on 72 acre was constructed in the mid-1800s for Joseph Shipley as his retirement home. This home of 170-years is the result of a Delawarean who spent much time in Liverpool, England during his career.
Bellevue Hall is also accessible from the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail. You might feel a touch of déjà vu while you gaze up at the smooth white columns and admire its sunny yellow walls. Because the du Pont family owned the home, it was renovated to resemble Montpelier in 1930.
Brandywine Creek State Park
Brandywine Creek State Park, located north of Wilmington on land that was once part of a dairy farm run by the du Ponts family, covers hundreds of acres. Three nature preserves offer hikers the opportunity to explore: a hardwood forest; woodlands that are filled with old oaks and tulip polars; and a freshwater marsh.
Brandywine Loops, and Rocky Run are some of the most sought-after hiking trails. Both trails include paths that run along Brandywine Creek.
Pro Tip. Brandywine Creek State Park looks its best in the late spring and early-summer, when the tulip polars are covered in sunny yellow and bright orange blooms that look like the Dutch flowers.
White Clay Creek State Park
The du Pont family generously donated some 3,600 acres in White Clay Creek State Park at Delaware’s northwestern border to Maryland and Pennsylvania, as if they hadn’t already made many benevolent contributions.
White Clay Creek State Park has sections of Mason-Dixon Line that run through it. This straight edge is used to determine portions of West Virginia’s frontiers before the Civil War.
Over 37 miles of trails run through the park through fields and forests, past creeks and around lakes. Whitely Farms Loop, which is a 3.3-mile loop through the park, is one of the most visited hikes in the northern region. This trail runs through rolling hills, past cornfields, and then winds its way through forests. Twin Valley Trail is another popular choice, measuring 3.6 mi. This path leads to the Arc Corner Monument through hilly forest terrain. It also crosses several bridges. Cross the state lines of Pennsylvania and Delaware to read the inscription on the stone marker.
Amish Country Bicycle Route
The First State’s capital is 14.8 miles away, so don’t let that stop you from exploring its countryside. You can start at the First State Heritage Park, just north of The Capitol Building. Then follow this map to The Green. The stories that could have been told if only the gentle breeze from this grassy spot at the heart of Dover could speak! Here, the Dover people heard America’s Declaration of Independence. The First State ratified that Constitution a little more then a decade after that.
Samuel Burris (a black conductor free on the Underground Railroad) was also found guilty for helping a woman escape from slavery and sentenced to the river. The Green gave the First State the opportunity to become the last state to ratify The 19. Unfortunately, Delaware legislators did not vote, which denied nearly half of the American people the right vote. Until Tennessee saved the day,
Follow the Amish Country Bike Route clockwise. As you leave Dover’s historic core, you will enter Delaware’s scenic countryside. There are many family farms. Look out for grazing cows, neatly-planted corn rows, and apple orchards.
Pro Tip. If you decide not to hike and want to explore the bike trail with two wheels, be sure that you refresh your knowledge of these fundamental rules.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area that covers approximately 16,000 acres on the Delaware Bay. It was established in 1937 as a refuge for migrating and wintering birds. Bombay Hook has hiking trails that can be walked for as little as a mile up to a distance of 10 miles. They are easy and accessible for hikers with all levels.
You can see the most important shorebirds and waterfowl here by taking the Boardwalk Trail through the salt marsh. One of three observation towers in steel, each 30 feet tall, offers a bird’s-eye perspective of the park.
Bombay Hook has many bird species, so be sure to keep your eyes open for them.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Starting east of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and continuing to the Delaware Bay at the end of the hook-shaped section of land, scenic hiking trails at Cape Henlopen State Park offer beautiful views of water. They do. But there’s more.
Begin in the southeastern corner and follow Gordons Pond Trail to the bay, canal, lake and end at Herring Point. Watch out for gulls as well as herons and other seabirds. Make this loop by walking south along the beach from Herring Point to make it a loop. To trek the 2.6-mile loop, connect to Walking Dunes Trail located at the northern end Gordonspond Trail near Herring Point. This trail is surrounded wildflowers in the sandy floor pine forest.
Pro Tip. Lifeguards are on duty at the Lewes park entrance from late May through early Sept.
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