Journey Through the First State – The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware

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Embark on a transcendent journey through the scenic landscapes of Delaware with our guide to the top 10 best hikes in the state. From coastal trails and lush forests to historic sites and breathtaking views, Delaware offers a diverse range of hiking experiences for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking to explore nature, there is something for everyone on our carefully curated list of the best hikes in Delaware.

Join us as we venture through the pristine natural beauty of Delaware and discover the most stunning and challenging hiking trails the state has to offer. From the towering cliffs of the Brandywine Creek State Park to the picturesque beaches of Cape Henlopen State Park, each hike on our list promises a unique and rewarding experience for those who crave adventure and natural beauty.


Key Takeaways:

  • Varied Scenery: Delaware offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore, from coastal marshes to wooded trails.
  • Hiking for All Levels: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are trails in Delaware suited to all skill levels.
  • Historical Significance: Many of the hikes in Delaware pass through areas of historical importance, offering a chance to learn about the state’s past.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Delaware’s trails are great for spotting various species of birds, wildlife, and plant life.
  • Family-Friendly Options: Several of the top hikes in Delaware are ideal for families, with easy terrain and enjoyable sights for all ages.
  • Year-Round Accessibility: With mild weather, many of Delaware’s trails can be enjoyed throughout the year, making hiking a popular activity in all seasons.
  • Close to Urban Areas: While offering a natural escape, the best hikes in Delaware are conveniently located near urban centers, making them easy to access for day trips.

White Clay Creek

Before setting out on your hike through White Clay Creek, be sure to pack plenty of water and wear sturdy footwear. This state park offers some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in Delaware, making it a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast.

Creek View

View the crystal-clear waters of White Clay Creek as you hike along the well-maintained trails. The serene atmosphere and lush greenery make this a perfect spot for nature lovers. Keep an eye out for various species of birds and small animals that call this area home.

Covered Bridge

Creek crossings are easy thanks to the charming covered bridges that dot the landscape. These picturesque structures add to the park’s charm and offer an excellent opportunity for taking memorable photographs. The Covered Bridge trail takes hikers through some of the most visually stunning parts of the park, making it a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

With its stunning scenery, peaceful atmosphere, and well-maintained trails, White Clay Creek is a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers a range of difficulty levels, making it suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced hikers. Whether you’re in search of a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, White Clay Creek has something to offer for every nature lover.

Trap Pond State Park

While Delaware may be known for its small size, it is home to a surprising variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. One of the most picturesque spots for hiking in the state is Trap Pond State Park. This 3,820-acre park offers a unique landscape of baldcypress swamps and wetlands, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and hikers alike.

Baldcypress Trail

Any visitor to Trap Pond State Park should make it a point to traverse the Baldcypress Trail. This 4.1-mile loop trail takes hikers through a stunning landscape of towering baldcypress trees and serene wetlands. The trail is relatively flat and well-marked, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Keep an eye out for local wildlife such as herons, turtles, and otters as you make your way through this enchanting ecosystem.

Pondside Path

Trail enthusiasts will also want to explore the Pondside Path at Trap Pond State Park. This 2.7-mile trail winds its way along the edge of the pond, offering stunning water views and ample opportunities for birdwatching. The trail is mostly shaded, making it a pleasant choice for a hike even on hot summer days. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the natural beauty that surrounds you.

This picturesque trail is particularly popular in the fall when the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of autumn colors, making for a truly memorable hiking experience. Despite the beauty and serenity of this trail, hikers should be aware of their surroundings and watch their step, as the terrain can be uneven in some areas.

Brandywine Creek

Now, let’s talk about the scenic Brandywine Creek, which offers some of the best hiking opportunities in Delaware. This picturesque area is home to lush greenery, serene waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife. Hiking along the banks of the Brandywine Creek provides a peaceful and rejuvenating experience for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

Rocky Run

Brandywine Creek’s Rocky Run trail is a must-experience for hikers looking for a challenge. The trail offers stunning views of the creek, as well as exhilarating rock formations that make for an adventurous climb. Hikers can expect a high level of difficulty on this trail, making it ideal for experienced outdoor enthusiasts seeking a thrill.

Hidden Pond

To reach Hidden Pond, hikers can take a peaceful stroll along the Brandywine Creek. The trail is surrounded by diverse flora and fauna and offers a shady respite from the sun. Hidden Pond itself is a tranquil oasis, perfect for a rest and a moment of reflection during your hike.

The Hidden Pond trail is a favorite among birdwatchers, as the area is home to a wide variety of bird species. Keep your eyes and ears open for the sounds of chirping and fluttering as you make your way through this idyllic wilderness sanctuary.

Cape Henlopen State Park

To experience the best of Delaware’s natural beauty, a visit to Cape Henlopen State Park is a must. With over 10 miles of trails, this state park offers some of the most scenic and diverse hiking opportunities in the First State. From sandy beaches to rolling dunes and lush forests, this park has it all. For more amazing Delaware hikes under 3 miles, check out 9 Amazing Delaware Hikes Under 3 Miles You’ll Absolutely Love.

Walking Dunes

The Walking Dunes trail at Cape Henlopen State Park is a unique and challenging hike that takes you through ever-shifting sand dunes. The dunes are a sight to behold, and the hike offers a good workout as you navigate the changing terrain. The views from the top of the dunes are stunning, making it a memorable experience for any hiker.

Seaside Nature

To immerse yourself in the seaside beauty of Cape Henlopen State Park, the Seaside Nature trail is the perfect choice. This serene hiking trail winds through coastal forests and marshlands, offering peaceful and scenic views of the natural surroundings. It’s a great opportunity to observe local wildlife and appreciate the diverse ecosystem of Delaware’s coast.

State Park also offers breathtaking sunsets and birdwatching opportunities for nature enthusiasts.

Alapocas Run State

Unlike any other state, Delaware offers a wide variety of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just looking to take in the natural beauty of the First State, Alapocas Run State Park has some of the best hikes to offer. From easy strolls to challenging treks, there is something for everyone at Alapocas Run State Park. For a complete list of the 18 Best Hikes in Delaware, check out Only In Your State’s article “18 Best Hikes in Delaware: Top-Rated Hiking Trails to Visit”.

Can-Do Playground

For the adventurous hiker, the Can-Do Playground at Alapocas Run State Park is a must-see. This unique playground is designed for children of all abilities, offering a sensory-rich environment where kids can play, explore, and learn. The playground is also situated near several hiking trails, making it a great starting point for families looking to enjoy a day of outdoor activities.

Blue Granite Trails

For those seeking a more challenging hiking experience, the Blue Granite Trails at Alapocas Run State Park are a perfect choice. These trails offer stunning views of the Brandywine River, as well as opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering. The rugged terrain and steep cliffs make for a truly exhilarating hike, perfect for experienced adventurers.

A popular choice for rock climbers and boulderers, the Blue Granite Trails at Alapocas Run State Park offer a unique outdoor experience. The trails provide a mix of moderate to difficult terrain, allowing hikers to challenge themselves while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Brandywine River. Whether you are an experienced hiker or looking to push your limits, the Blue Granite Trails are a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast.

Blackbird State Forest

For outdoor enthusiasts looking for a diverse hiking experience, Blackbird State Forest in Delaware offers a range of trails that wind through lush forests, open meadows, and scenic wetlands. With over 5,000 acres of recreational land, this state forest is a haven for hikers, birdwatchers, and nature lovers.

Timber Trail

With its towering trees and serene atmosphere, the Timber Trail is a must-visit for hikers seeking a peaceful and picturesque hiking experience. The trail spans approximately 3 miles and offers hikers the chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of Delaware’s woodlands. Be sure to watch out for slippery areas, especially after rainfall, and bring insect repellent during the warmer months.

Meadow Loop

An easy and scenic hike, the Meadow Loop is a 2-mile trail that takes hikers through open meadows and past vibrant wildflowers. Keep an eye out for various bird species that call the meadows home, and be mindful of the changing terrain as you traverse the loop.

State Forest personnel advise hikers to stay on designated trails and be aware of wildlife, including deer and small mammals that may cross the path. Hikers are also encouraged to pack plenty of water and wear sturdy hiking boots for a comfortable and enjoyable trek through the state forest.

Middle Run Valley

Despite being located in the heart of urban New Castle County, Middle Run Valley offers a peaceful escape into nature. This 850-acre preserve features over 10 miles of well-maintained trails that wind through lush forests, open meadows, and alongside babbling streams. Hikers can enjoy a variety of terrain and landscapes, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. For more information on The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware, visit The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware.

Possum Hill

Middle Run Valley’s Possum Hill trail offers a moderate hike with rewarding views. The trail ascends through a hardwood forest to a high point where hikers can take in panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside. It’s a great spot for a picnic or to simply soak in the natural beauty of the area.

Birding Hotspots

On your hike through Middle Run Valley, keep an eye out for the many birding hotspots. The diverse habitats within the preserve attract a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers. Any nature enthusiast will appreciate the opportunity to spot warblers, woodpeckers, and other avian species in their natural habitat.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, Middle Run Valley offers something for everyone. With its peaceful surroundings and diverse ecosystems, this natural gem is not to be missed.

Gordons Pond

Not many places can boast the natural beauty and diverse wildlife that can be found at Gordons Pond in Delaware. This hidden gem offers some of the best hikes in the state, with stunning views and unique opportunities for wildlife observation.

Scenic Overlook

On your hike through Gordons Pond, be sure to make a stop at the Scenic Overlook. Here, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the expansive pond and the diverse array of bird species that call this area home. The calming sound of the waves crashing against the shore creates a tranquil atmosphere that is unparalleled.

Wildlife Observation

Wildlife enthusiasts will be in awe of the abundance of animal species that inhabit Gordons Pond. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of osprey, great blue herons, and even the occasional bald eagle. The diversity of the ecosystem here makes for an unforgettable experience, as you never know what fascinating creature you might encounter along the trail.

Overlook the peaceful surroundings as you keep a lookout for the native flora and fauna that thrive in this habitat, providing a rich and unique experience for nature lovers. The opportunity for wildlife observation at Gordons Pond is truly a highlight of any hiking adventure.

Iron Hill Park

Your journey through the First State wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Iron Hill Park. This beautiful park located in Newark, Delaware offers some of the best hiking trails in the state. With its diverse landscapes and stunning views, Iron Hill Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Iron Hill Trail

Iron Hill Trail is a 3.5-mile loop trail that takes hikers through a scenic forest and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The trail is well-maintained and offers a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, hikers may encounter a variety of wildlife and native plants, adding to the unique experience of this trail.

Pomeroy Rail-Trail

On the other hand, the Pomeroy Rail-Trail is a 4.3-mile out-and-back trail that follows the path of a historic railroad line. This relatively flat and easy trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing bike ride. The trail offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside and takes hikers through lush greenery, making it an ideal choice for nature lovers.

To make the most of your visit to the Pomeroy Rail-Trail, consider bringing along a pair of binoculars to observe the rich birdlife along the route. Additionally, be sure to pack sunscreen and plenty of water, as there is limited shade along the trail. Whether you’re a casual hiker or a dedicated outdoor enthusiast, the Pomeroy Rail-Trail offers a unique and enjoyable experience for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors in Delaware.


Taking this into account, it is clear that Delaware offers a diverse range of hiking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From scenic coastal trails to historic woodland paths, the First State has something to offer for hikers of all experience levels. Whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging adventure, the top 10 hikes in Delaware provide an array of options to explore the natural beauty and rich history of the state.

By highlighting the best hikes in Delaware, this guide serves as a valuable resource for anyone looking to experience the great outdoors in the First State. It is our hope that this list will inspire hikers to embark on new adventures and discover the hidden gems of Delaware’s natural landscapes. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to the state, these top 10 hikes are sure to offer memorable and rewarding experiences in the great outdoors.


Q: What is ‘Journey Through the First State – The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware’?

A: ‘Journey Through the First State – The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware’ is a comprehensive guidebook that highlights the most scenic and rewarding hiking trails in the state of Delaware.

Q: Who is the author of this guidebook?

A: The guidebook is authored by a team of experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who have extensively researched and personally hiked the trails in Delaware.

Q: What criteria were used to select the 10 best hikes in Delaware?

A: The 10 best hikes were chosen based on factors such as scenic views, diversity of terrain, historical significance, and overall hiking experience. The selection process took into account the varying difficulty levels to cater to hikers of all skill levels.

Q: Are the trails suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, the guidebook includes trails that are suitable for beginners, as well as more challenging routes for experienced hikers. Each trail is accompanied by detailed descriptions, including difficulty ratings, to help hikers make informed decisions.

Q: Are the trails family-friendly?

A: Yes, many of the featured trails are family-friendly and suitable for hikers of all ages. The guidebook provides information on amenities, such as picnic areas and restroom facilities, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for families.

Q: Does the guidebook include information on trail conditions and safety tips?

A: Yes, the guidebook provides up-to-date information on trail conditions, including seasonal considerations and potential hazards. Additionally, safety tips and guidelines for responsible hiking are included to ensure hikers have a safe and enjoyable outing.

Q: Where can I purchase ‘Journey Through the First State – The 10 Best Hikes in Delaware’?

A: The guidebook is available for purchase online through various retailers, as well as in select outdoor recreation stores and bookshops in Delaware.

Q: Are there any upcoming events or guided hikes associated with the guidebook?

A: Yes, the authors occasionally host guided hikes and events to celebrate the release of the guidebook and to encourage community engagement in exploring the natural beauty of Delaware. Information on upcoming events can be found on the guidebook’s official website and social media pages.


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