Take it Outside, Y’all! Top Hiking Spots in Southern DE

There are plenty of reasons to go for a walk or bike the numerous trails in the gorgeous state of Delaware. Take some time to explore beyond Delaware’s famed beaches: there’s so much more to explore! 

Just ask the locals.  

Justin, 34, a part time waiter and self-proclaimed surfer dude says this about Delaware’s gorgeous inland state parks and other gems: “Who can go from beach beauty to solitude along a lake or riverside within an hour?”  

First…you’ve got to start where the First State’s explorers did. The coast. So let’s go for a walk or hike. Let’s move. Autumn is an ideal time to take advantage of the comfortable temperatures and colorful scenery that fall always promises. 

Cape Henlopen State Park 

Gordons Pond: 

A coastal, dog-friendly, flat and scenic route will enthrall you. It’s a 5 mile loop with options for enjoying the rest of the precious Cape Henlopen State Park’s coastal beauty. Whatever the season, Gordon’s Pond’s trail will captivate you with its amazing views. The boardwalks are beautifully crafted, so whether you are on a bike or are a pedestrian, you will be captivated by this state park’s nod to our precious, sensitive environment. 

Junction & Breakwater: 

This pleasant, 5.8 mile trail winds through woods, farmland and some residential areas. Mostly consisting of packed crushed stone and some areas of wider paved trail. Many bikers and hikers use this trail to get from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach and vice versa, thereby avoiding the crowded bike lanes on Coastal Highway. Make a day of it: go shopping at the outlets, dine at one of Rehoboth Beach’s fantastic restaurants, and end up on the beach or boardwalk. 

Walkers and bikers heading from the Lewes Georgetown Trail can hop onto Breakwater and follow it to Cape Henlopen State Park. 

Walking Dunes Trail 

Adjacent to the Herring Point parking area in Cape Henlopen State Park, Walking Dunes trail offers a unique opportunity to get up close to the protected dunes. An easy 2 mile loop, Walking Dunes stands out as an educational destination. Appreciation for the frailty and importance of the dunes and its wildlife reminds us how important this habitat is to the entire beach ecosystem. 

This is a great trail to join family, while learning about the flora and fauna of our beloved beaches. 

Killens Pond Loop

Just an hour north of the beach towns, Killens Pond Trail (in Killens Pond State Park) offers a fantastic experience for walkers who want to experience Delaware’s inland waterways. An easy hike of 2.5 or so miles takes you on a gorgeous tour where you can witness native plants that straddle south and northeast climates.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge 

Wow. More than 16,000 acres of pristine wildlife awaits you at Bombay Hook. Coastal beauty, combined with preserved, special land awaits you. Bring your binoculars, bug spray and water repellent gear! Can’t miss this gem! Many local birders flock here for up close photo opportunities. 

Trap Pond State Park 

Kayak or walk your way through the captivating Trap Pond State Park, where you will experience the north/south divide of cypress trees and more! 90 acres of exquisite, unique trees and other plants will take you back to a 7th grade lesson about climate and biology – so precious to Delaware! Just an hour north of Rehoboth and Lewes, this trip will leave you begging for more info on our unique ecology. 

Holts Landing State Park 

Just off the roads of Dagsboro, a somewhat hidden gem awaits walkers looking for a tranquil, mostly shaded trail. The easy, flat Seahawk Trail is short – just under one mile, but there are plenty of places to stop along the way to learn more about the Indian River Bay and its tributaries. 

Holts Landing also offers live music and occasional campfires during the summer months. 

James Farm 

A working farm with an educational center, James Farm abuts the Assawoman Canal and bay. Take a .7 mile walk around Fresh Pond, or if you prefer to kayak the area, launch your vessel at the ramp, or bring a fishing rod to fish off the dock. 

Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve 

Just north of the Roosevelt Inlet across from Lewes Beach, there’s a precious and little known strand of beach next to Broadkill Beach, surrounded by dunes and marshland. You can walk from the parking lot through a narrow but gorgeous path to where the waters of the Delaware Bay and the Broadkill River meet.  

Beach Plum is quite popular with the surf fishing crowd because it is far more quit than the ocean beaches. It’s also a dog owner’s dream: the bay water is generally calm, and if your pooch likes to swim (off leash, of course), this is the place to let dogs swim. People at Beach Plum are typically very dog tolerant and friendly. 

So, get out those hiking boots you bought last winter. Let’s break them in this fall, and enjoy the diverse terrain and wildlife Delaware has to offer! 

2 responses to “Take it Outside, Y’all! Top Hiking Spots in Southern DE

  1. It would be a first time to hike any of these locations. I live in a community of people that may want to form a group of hikers, but we may need a guide. Do you know of any people that would guide us in these hiking areas for the first hike of each area? I live in Peninsula Lakes, we do have a social coordinator I would like to run it by our group, but would like to know if we could get a guide for the hikes.

    1. Hi Claire, it sounds like such a fun idea–to gather with those in your community and hike together! We know of some hikes–like those posted at Delaware Seashore State Park, here: https://destateparks.com/Beaches/DelawareSeashore (scroll to the bottom of that page for “UPCOMING EVENTS”…and you’ll see the hikes they list.
      Otherwise, I know Pete Gisler does great hikes every other Saturday–but don’t know of hiking guides you might be able to hire–perhaps ask those leading/organizing these hikes?
      Pete Gisler FB: https://www.facebook.com/DelawareEasyStriders

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