Paddling in Delaware State Parks


 

Brandywine Creek State Park


Brandywine Creek

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: 6-7 miles (one-way)
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Accessible: No
  • Launches:
    • Brandywine River Museum - Route 1/Chadds Ford, PA
    • Brandywine Creek State Park - Thompson Bridge Day Use Parking Area

Paddlers can experience tranquil creek waters and travel along forested corridors into the Brandywine Creek State Park. The Park is located in the Piedmont Region of Delaware with rolling hills and granite outcroppings. The creek can offer great wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. The Brandywine Creek flows south from Chester County, PA. to the Christina River in the heart of Wilmington.

Paddler Note: Extreme low or high water levels may limit creek access. If paddling below Thompson Bridge parking area, use extreme caution at Rockland Dam and other downstream dams.  

 

Cape Henlopen State Park


Delaware Bay

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: 1-3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Kayak rental facility or fishing pier parking area
  • Kayak Rentals: Located next to the bait and tackle shop

Launch from the beach and travel the shoreline to the Point, or head out to the Inner Breakwater and the Henlopen Lighthouse. Paddlers can observe schools of minnows, horseshoe crabs crawling on the bottom, or catch a glimpse of breaching dolphins. The area offers many wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. 

Paddler Note: Check the weather, wind, and tides. Be aware of currents near the Point and fishing lines near the pier. The Point beaches are closed during the summer months for the protection of nesting shorebirds. Please observe all sign postings and respect wildlife. 

 

Delaware Seashore State Park


Coastal Bays

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: Variable
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Tower Road - Bay; New Road; Savages Ditch

Delaware's coastal bays provide a variety of paddling opportunities for both the beginner and expert. Launch at the State day use parking areas west of Route 1 and enjoy paddling in the shallow waters of the Rehoboth, Indian River, or Little Assawoman Bays. Observe horseshoe crabs on the bay bottom or spot Ospreys circling overhead.

Paddler Note: Check weather, tides, and wind before launching. Paddlers should avoid the strong tidal currents in the Indian River Inlet.

Killens Pond State Park


Killens Pond

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: 2-4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Park boat rental facility or boat ramp on Killens Pond Road

Killens Pond offers a relaxing and leisurely paddle. Paddlers can explore in search of lily pads, basking turtles, and deer browsing along the pond’s edge.  Paddle west to the top of the 79-acre pond and under a bridge to go upstream on the Murderkill River.

Lums Pond State Park


Lums Pond

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: 1-7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Park boat rental facility or boat ramp on Red Lion Road

Enjoy a relaxing paddle, fishing, or wildlife viewing and birding opportunities on Lums Pond. The pond covers about 200 acres.

Trap Pond State Park

Trap Pond

  • Mode: Kayak, Canoe
  • Distance: Variable
  • Difficulty:
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Start at the park's boat rental facility or the boat ramp (round trip)

Trap Pond canoe and kayak trail takes you through the pond and toward the swamp. This is a beautiful paddle filled with baldcypress trees, turtles, herons, and much more. The pond covers about 95 acres.

Terrapin Branch Water Trail

  • Mode: Canoe, Kayak
  • Distance: 2.8 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Trap Pond State Park boat ramp

This non-tidal water trail offers access into Trap Pond's Baldcypress Swamp. The trail begins at the boat ramp and stretches southeastward on the Pond into the dense canopy of a fresh water swamp. The water trail narrows, forks to the left, and passes under the Loblolly Trail at the brown foot bridge. Paddlers may have wildlife viewing and birding opportunities such as otter, water snakes, and prothonotary warblers.

Racoon Pond Water Trail

  • Mode: Canoe, Kayak
  • Distance: 2.0 miles (round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible: No
  • Launch: Trap Pond State Park boat ramp

This non-tidal water trail offers access into the baldcypress swamp of Trap Pond State Park. The trail begins at the boat ramp and stretches southeastward across the pond and into the dense canopy of a freshwater swamp. Paddlers may see otter, water snakes, and prothonotary warblers. The water trail narrows, forks to the right, and continues to the Raccoon Pond Dam on Wooten Road. To portage, follow Wooten Road to the east for 100 feet, to an access point on Raccoon Pond.

James Branch Water Trail

  • Mode: Canoe, Kayak
  • Distance: 5 miles (one way)
  • Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Accessible: No
  • Launches:
    • Pepper Pond Road spillway (drop-off only; park at the day use area)
    • Records Pond Fish and Wildlife Parking Area (U.S. Route 13)

To paddle downstream, launch below the Trap Pond State Park spillway on Hitch Pond Branch at the Pepper Pond Road crossing. To paddle upstream and during low water levels, launch on Records Pond at the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Boat Ramp.  Hitch Pond Branch & James Branch meander through the James Branch Nature Preserve and Baldcypress Swamp. Paddlers will experience a wooded riparian corridor with many wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. The area around Trap Pond State Park was once covered by a vast fresh water swamp.

Paddler Note: Check the water level gauge, located below the Pepper Pond Road spillway or at the Hitch Pond Road crossing, before launching. Water trail information is also available by calling the Trap Pond State Park Office at (302) 875-5153. Portions of the water trail border privately-owned land. Please respect all wildlife and property.