trees and snow

First Day Hikes


Thank you for coming out and taking part in our 2021 First Day Hikes!If you didn’t already, please take a moment to fill out our feedback form and let us know how many miles your group covered!


This Year's Hikes

Alapocas Run State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Northern Delaware Greenway Trail & Other Trails.

Start at Blue Ball Barn, 1914 W. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE

Enjoy a self-guided hike through a forest and past remnants of our industrial past. Additional park lots available to enjoy a First Day Hike: Brandywine Park – 1080 N. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19802, Lot B- 2025 E. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19803.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate (paved, some hills)
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: 3 miles, out and back
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, drinking water and appropriate layers
  • Contact for more information: 302-577-1164

Auburn Valley State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Oversee Farm Trail.

Start at 1516 Snuff Mill Road Trail lot

Come explore one of our most beautiful hidden trails and get to see a 19th century stone farmhouse and barn with lovely views of the woods and creek. Start at the Oversee Farm parking lot.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate (paved but elevation)
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: 1.1 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good hiking shoes and a love of the outdoors!
  • Contact for more information: 302-729-4280

Auburn Valley State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Auburn Valley Loop Trail.

Start at Paper mill Parking Lot, Benge Road, Hockessin, DE 19707

Come on a self-guided hike of the Auburn Valley Loop Trail, a scenic paved loop with scenic vistas of the Delaware/Pennsylvania border. Start at Farm Lane.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate (paved but elevation)
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: 1.2 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, dress for weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-729-4280

Bellevue State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Main Track.

Start at Main Bathrooms

Choose your own time to hike the path once used by Dupont Thoroughbreds in training. The iconic large track is just over a mile long and wide enough for all to enjoy comfortably, so take your time and enjoy the wonderful views of this estate.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None (stroller friendly)
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: 1.125 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, dress for weather
  • Contact for more information: Check Bellevue’s Facebook page

Brandywine Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Meadow Trail.

Start at Nature Center

Hike the trail any time during the day. Start your year exploring by way of the Meadow Trail where you can stroll through the meadows and enjoy the expansive vistas and landscape.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: N/A; Must be accompanied by an adult
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: Approximately 2 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather (layers of clothing, winter shoes, hats and gloves) and bring drinking water and snacks.
  • Contact for more information: 302-655-5740

Brandywine Zoo

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. - Brandywine Zoo.

Start at the zoo entrance

2020 was the Zoo's 115th anniversary. This self-guided “hike” will consist of additional interpretive signs in the zoo focusing on some snapshots from the zoo's historic past.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Service animals only; no pets permitted inside zoo grounds
  • Length of hike: .25 mile
  • What to bring with you: Face covering and hand sanitizer
  • Contact for more information: 302-571-7850 Check out event on Brandywine Zoo Facebook page

Cape Henlopen State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - The Point.

Start at The Point parking lot—extra parking at Point Comfort Station parking lot

Hike the beach around the Point, experiencing both the ocean and bay sides. Please park in the Point Comfort Station Parking lot (just south) and walk north to the Point parking lot. Parking may be limited.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate (loose sand, may be windy and cold)
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: No dogs
  • Length of hike: 1.5 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress in layers, comfortable shoes, and sunglasses/hat
  • Contact for more information: Nature Center at 302-645-6852

Cape Henlopen State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Walking Dunes/Salt Marsh Spur Trail.

Start at Herring Point parking area

Hike at your own pace through the maritime forest with views of the marsh. Start at Herring Point, take the Walking Dunes Trail, then right (NE) on the Salt Marsh Spur trail, then right again back on the Walking Dunes trail to return to Herring Point.

  • Hike Difficulty: moderate
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: 1.7 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather, walking shoes
  • Contact for more information: Nature Center at 302-645-6852

Delaware Seashore State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Prickly Pear Trail.

Start at Hickman Rd entrance

Hike this trail on your own anytime before sunset. Be sure to complete a contactless check-in at the Hickman Rd bulletin board!

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 3.4 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: Check Delaware Seashore State Park’s Facebook Page

Delaware Seashore State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Burton Island Nature Preserve.

Start at Burton Island trailhead

Hike this trail on your own anytime before sunset. Be sure to complete a contactless check-in at the bulletin board!

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: No dogs
  • Length of hike: 1 mile
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: Check Delaware Seashore State Park’s Facebook Page

First State Heritage Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - The Dover Green.

Start at John Bell House, 43 The Green, Dover

Dover has been around for over 300 years and has stood as Delaware's capital city since 1777. Your footsteps on the cobblestones echo those of generations past as you appreciate three centuries of history and architecture. Self-guided brochures will be available outside of the John Bell House, while supplies last.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Urban area: watch your step! Pets must be on a 6 ft. leash.
  • Length of hike: .25 mile
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-739-9194

Fort Dupont State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Riverview Trail.

Start at Parking lot close to the river, at the end of Wilmington Avenue/Old Battery Lane

The Riverview Trail will take you past some of the early 1900s artillery batteries of Fort DuPont! You will also have a great opportunity to experience nature, and a great view of the Delaware River.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on 6 ft leash
  • Length of hike: Approximately 1.1 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, warm clothing and waterproof boots
  • Contact for more information: Check our Facebook page the day of the event for cancellation notices, but this is generally a rain or shine (or snow or extreme cold) event.

Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Fort Miles Artillery Park Hike.

Start at Fort Miles Parking Lot

Start your year off right with a self-guided exploration of the Fort Miles Artillery Park. Those looking to add a little more history and distance can also hike to Battery Hunter and discover its importance in coastal defense.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: .25 miles (2 miles with Battery Hunter extension)
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-644-5007

Holts Landing State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Sea Hawk Trail.

Start at Holts Landing Picnic Pavilion

Hike this trail on your own anytime before sunset. Be sure to complete a contactless check-in at the picnic pavilion!

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 1.7 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: Check Delaware Seashore State Park’s Facebook Page

Killens Pond State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Cross Country Trail.

Start at Sports Complex, Pavillion 1

Come enjoy the park on January 1 to participate in a First Day Hike. Masks are required.. Dress for the weather and wear shoes for walking. Dogs on leash welcome!

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate - flat but long
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 3 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, wear layered clothing, walking sticks, smiles!
  • Contact for more information: 302-284-4299 and check Facebook

Lums Pond State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Swamp Forest Trail.

Start at Area 5 or Area 1 Parking Lots

Looping through wetlands of black cherry, sweet gum, and maple, this trail is made of crushed stone and earth with many boardwalks and bridges. 

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: N/A – Parts of the trail may not be suitable for strollers
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 6.4 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, drinking water, snacks, comfortable hiking shoes
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6989

Lums Pond State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - One Mile Loop.

Start at Area 5 or Area 4 Parking lots

This mile-long trail is a great way to experience the beauty of the hardwood forests by the pond’s edge for hikers of all experience levels.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: N/A – Parts of the trail may not be suitable for strollers
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 1 mile
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, drinking water, snacks, comfortable hiking shoes
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6989

Trap Pond State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - The Bob Trail, American Holly Trail, Island Trail.

Start at Any Trap Pond trailhead

The First Day Hike at Trap Pond State Park will be entirely self-guided in 2021. Please visit https://destateparks.blog/2020/12/01/hiking-trails-at-trap-pond-state-park/ to review trail descriptions and download a map. Self-serve map boxes are available at Cypress Point and Bethesda Church parking areas, as well as the Baldcypress Nature Center.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a 6ft. leash
  • Length of hike: Variable
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, drinking water, snacks, comfortable hiking shoes and Trap Pond trail map
  • Contact for more information: 302-875-5163

White Clay Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Twin ValleyTrail.

Start at Carpenter Recreation Area

Hike along the beautiful meadows and upland forest of Carpenter Recreation Area.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: Backpack or walking, no stroller access
  • Restrictions: Portions are shared use. Pets must be on a 6 ft leash.
  • Length of hike: 3.6 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6560

White Clay Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Chestnut Hill Trail.

Start at Judge Morris Estate

Hike through the field to a wooded area between two creeks at the Judge Morris Estate property. Be sure to take a look at the outside of the house and learn the history of the property while you are there.

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: Backpack or walking, no stroller access
  • Restrictions: Shared use trail. Pets must be on a 6 ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 3.1 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6560

White Clay Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Tri-Valley Trail.

Start at Possum Hill Parking Area/Nine Foot Road

Enjoy this paved trail through historic agricultural areas. You can go out and back or connect to other unpaved trails to make a loop.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Shared use trail. Pets must be on a 6 ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 4.5 (entire trail)
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6560

White Clay Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - PennDel and Nature Preserve.

Start at Chambers Rock Parking lot

Hike this loop from the Chambers Rock parking lot, follow the Nature Preserve trail along the creek and then take Creek road/PennDel trail to make a loop.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No
  • Minimum age: Backpack or walking, no stroller access
  • Restrictions: Portions are shared use. Pets must be on a 6 ft leash.
  • Length of hike: 2 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6560

White Clay Creek State Park

8 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Virtual Trail (PennDel and Pomeroy).

Start at Chambers House Nature Center

Use your phone to get information about the trail as you hike or view it from the comfort of your home. Find interactive map here: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/map/white-clay-self-guided-hike-f4a4da9

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes
  • Minimum age: None
  • Restrictions: Shared use trail. Pets must be on a 6 ft. leash
  • Length of hike: 2.29 miles
  • What to bring with you: Face covering, hand sanitizer, water, good walking shoes, dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6560