White Clay Creek State Park

1,350 acres — 37.0 miles of trails

What’s to love

Let’s get the downsides out of the way right at the top: Delaware State Parks charge entrance fees between March 1st and November 30th. And it’s more expensive if your license plate is out-of-state. Oh, and entrance fees are cash only. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

But if you can manage to scrounge up $8 in rumpled bills, White Clay Creek State Park is a great place for a day hike. The park has many miles of intersecting and looping trails on both sides of White Clay Creek, which is broad, shallow, full of trout, and really very beautiful (despite what my mid-winter photography would lead you to believe). The various trails carry you along sandy paths at the creek’s shore, or through rolling forests and steep, piney woods.

There’s plenty of activities to do here, including fishing, biking, horseback riding, and disc golf. The park also includes several historical monuments, marking the intersections of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and commemorating the work surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon performed in this area to establish the early colonies’ boundaries.

Tips and quirks

  • If you’re into birds, on my first (and only) trip here I stumbled across a big pack of turkey vultures and a friggin’ bald eagle having a snack in the middle of a field, like it was no big deal.
  • The Twin Valley trail features a few tall observation stands for checking out the wildlife—if you’re brave enough to climb them.
  • Pro tip: maybe you won’t ever need this advice, but: when you’re pulling out of your parking space at the end of a long, tiring hike, don’t accidentally pull forward over an 8” beam that separates your space from the next and then get your front tires stuck in the dirt there. Just sayin’. Triple A is not going to want to tow you back out, because their trucks are “not allowed to leave paved roads.” Luckily, Delawareans are super kind and four of them will band together to free you. Thanks, Delaware!

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Last updated: April 16, 2021

A small disclaimer: This website is not affilitated with the City of Philadelphia, its parks department, local non-profits, or any state or federal organization. Opinions reflected here are solely the author's: a regular person who happens to enjoy hiking. Like all outdoor activities, hiking carries some risks (including medical and personal safety risks) and requires preparation and supplies. Routes and conditions may have changed since this post was written. Make sure you follow all posted rules and local laws, as certain activities (like off-leash dogs or leaving marked trails) are frequently prohibitied.