Brandywine Creek State Park
933 acres — 14.0 miles of trails
What’s to love
The former site of a du Pont family dairy farm, Brandywine Creek State Park is home to two of the first nature preserves in Delaware: Tulip Tree Woods, a stand of 190 year-old Tulip poplars, and the Freshwater Marsh, located adjacent to the creek on the west side.
Typical Delaware State Park fees apply—$4 for DE license plates and $8 for PA between March 1st and November 30th—so remember to bring cash. But once you’re inside the park there’s plenty to explore, from creekside trails to wild meadows to a nature center with gift shop where you can pick up a frisbee for the disc golf course.
Tips and quirks
- The Brandywine Creek can only be crossed in one place: at Thompsons Bridge Road. Both sides of the creek have 3-ish mile-long hiking loops. Just be aware that if you cross the creek, you’ll have to go back the same way you came.
- On the west side, the Hidden Pond trail follows the creek. You can sometimes see beaver activity along the water’s edge.
- On the east side, the Rocky Run trail takes you through a grove of evergreen trees and up a somewhat steep climb. This is my favorite trail of the bunch I’ve hiked—pretty, quiet, and just challenging enough to raise your heart rate.
- Trails on the east side hook up to a huge network of unnamed trails on the property of the First State National Historical Park. Learn more here and download an extra trail map of this section.
- There’s also a designated spot for watching migrating hawks, who pass through the area from mid-September to mid-November.
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Last updated: April 16, 2021