Eric Johnson

2:00pm - 7:00pm

Great hiking trails close to Wilmington and I want to tell you about a few of my favorites!

Both my wife and I, along with you, were stuck at home in the early Covid months of 2020.

As you know, everything was shut down and there was not much anyone could do. Everything was closed!

But you know what was open? The great outdoors! We filled many days during that time with hikes close to home. Most of our hikes were in New Castle and Delaware Counties, and we made the drive down Route 1 to the Conowingo Dam in Maryland to do some hiking there.

For as long as we’ve been married my wife and I have been avid hikers. When the kids were very young, we would have them up in backpacks. As they got older we went on very short hikes, that turned into much longer hikes by the time they were teens and young adults.

We’ve had many great hikes in our region, up in the PA Endless Mountains and in New England.
But when Covid hit, the kids were long moved out and it was just the two of us. There was noting to do! Well, we did do plenty of yard work, until there was no more yard work to do! There was no traveling–so we rediscovered our local hiking trails.

Some of the great hiking trails close to Wilmington are challenging, but most are rather easy and family friendly.

Below I share some thoughts on great hiking trails close to Wilmington, info on how to locate them and some photos I took along the way!

So, fill up your water bottles and put some lunch and snacks into your backpack, and hit the trails!

  • Brandywine Creek State Park River Loop

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    Some of the most beautiful views along this one! If you do the entire loop its close to 5 miles. We love doing this one throughout the year. We prefer loop trails and this one does not disappoint! The starting point is at Brandywine Creek State Park office where you can get a free trail map!

  • Brandywine Creek State Park Indian Springs Trail

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    This one is a shorter Brandywine hike. It’s 2.3 mile loop. Some say it’s a bit challenging, but it takes under an hour to do. I love this one on quiet winter days.

  • Susquehanna State Park To Conowingo Dam

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    Do you love to watch eagles soar and land in close by trees where you can get kind of close to them? Then the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trail is for you. Of course you can drive right to the parking area at Conowingo Dam which is just under an hours drive from Wilmington. But if you want to get a scenic hike in along the river along with your eagle watching go to parking area at Stafford and Craig’s Corner Roads along the Deer Creek. Park your car and cross the bridge and the trail head is just past the bridge over the creek. Be ready for a 7 to 8 mile hike from this point to the Conowingo Dam and back again. Totally worth it!

  • John Heinz Lake Loop

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    For a totally different hiking experience from the hikes mentioned above, do the John Heinz experience! I’m sure you’ve driven by it many times while going up and down I95 or going to catch a flight at PHL. But a trip to John Heinz Wildlife Refuge is totally worth it! Where else can you see the Philly skyline and be about a mile away from jets taking off and landing? And the birds taking off and landing are just as compelling to watch! This loop is 3.5 miles. When I’m in the mood for a flat run, this is the place!

  • First State National Historic Park

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    Did you know there is a National Park right on the boarder of Delaware and New Castle Counties? First State National Park is right at the end of Beaver Valley Road at Beaver Dam Road. Who knew such beauty was just miles from Route 202? There are great hiking trails on both the PA and the De side of the park A nice quick hike is The Rocks at Brandywine Creek Trail…it’s on 1.7 miles.

  • Ridley Creek State Park Blue Trail Loop

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    So many great hiking opportunities at Ridley Creek State Park in Delaware County PA. I’ve both hiked and trail ran on the Blue Loop. It’s 3.4 miles with steep hills and flat land along Ridley Creek. It’s a really pretty hike, especially in fall. The trail goes through an old homestead where there ruins of a house and farm equipment!

  • Ridley Creek State Park Orange Trail Loop

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    The Ridley Creek Orange Trail is 2 miles and goes up a hill and along the creek. Along the way is very scenic with nice views of Ridley Creek. It’s easy to get to via Gradyville Road.

  • Hildacy Preserve near Media PA

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    Hildacy Preserve is 55 acres of Natural Lands on the site of a former farm. We generally don’t follow a trail, but instead just wander making our own hike up as we go along. You can get in a good 3 to 6 mile hike here. Enjoy the meadows and Crum Creek. Keep your eyes and ears out for a pretty cool fountain! Find it at 1031 Palmers Mill Road in Media.

  • Darlington Trail in Middletown Township Delco

    Great Hiking Trails Close To Wilmington

    The Darlington Trail is in Middletown Township, Delaware County. This hike can be combined with the Rocky Run Trail located just off Baltimore Pike on Valley Road or at the Darlington Trailhead on Darlington Road.

    These are some of my favorite hiking trails and I hope you enjoy them too!

    Bike Trails Near Wilmington - EJ's Favs!

    As the weather will cool a bit soon, it’s time to ride on some bike trails near Wilmington!

    I’ve been a runner for a long time, but over the past few years my knees have told me to run a little less.

    So a few years ago, my wife and I have taken to finding bike trails in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

    We love to discover new rail trails and have taken long rides on many trails between and near the Delaware, Susquehanna and Schuylkill Rivers.

    Before we go, we make a nice lunch and throw in some snacks, and we make sure we have plenty of cold water.

    We even pick out a spot near the trails to have a beer and a snack after the ride.

    Below are a few of my favorite bike trails near Wilmington.

    Happy Trails!

    • Northern Delaware Greenway Trail Wilmington

      Northern Delaware Greenway Trail

      The Northern Delaware Greenway Trail runs thru New Castle County, including Alapocas Run State Park, Rockwood County Park, Bringhurst Woods Park and Bellevue State Park. A few years ago we took a ride from Bellevue to the Brandywine Zoo. It’s a great ride, and you will encounter some hills along the way. Be sure to check out the rock ledges at Alapocas!

    • Jack A. Markell Trail Wilmington to New Castle

      https://destateparks.com/bellevue

      My favorite trail in Delaware is the Jack A. Markell Trail that is a rather easy 7.9 mile ride from Wilmington to New Castle Battery Park.  It’s paved and includes a boardwalk through a freshwater tidal marsh refuge where you not only have a great view of the city of Wilmington, but also wildlife including bald eagles!  We park at the DuPont Environmental Education Center and ride down to Battery Park.  After spending some time enjoying the river views in New Castle, be sure to have lunch or a snack at the restaurants Delaware Street.

    • C&D Canal Bike Trail Chesapeake City MD to Delaware City DE

      EJ's Favorite Bike Trails Near Wilmington
      Last year for our wedding anniversary, my wife and I stayed at a cool Airbnb in Chesapeake City and of course we brought our bikes along!

      The C&D Canal Trail follows the Chesapeake-and-Delaware Canal from Chesapeake City to Delaware City.  If you are up for a long ride, this is a great one!  It’s 30 miles round trip on smooth asphalt with two short steep hills.  If starting in Chesapeake City, you are greeted in Delaware City by many great restaurants and shops and a great view of the Delaware River.

       

       

    • Chester Creek Rail Trail Middletown And Aston Delco

      My go to local trail close to my home is the Chester Creek Trail in Delaware County PA, running through the towns of Aston and Middletown Township.  There are eventual plans where the trail will run from Septa’s new Wawa Station to Upland PA.  The 2.8 mile section of the middle of the trail has been open since 2016.  For now, this trail is better for walking and running due to it’s shorter length.  However  you can turn it into a longer bike ride by simply going up and down the length of the trail a few times.  As the name indicates, it follows Chester Creek and there are nesting bald eagles nearby that I’ve seen swoop into the creek.

      Delaware Dog Friendly Beaches In Summer

      Just about all of Delaware’s beaches are dog friendly between September 30th and May 15th, but there are only a handful of Delaware dog friendly beaches that welcome your dogs to romp the beaches all summer long!

      I have great memories of bringing our late dog Grace on family camping trips to Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland. It was the best family time with our young kids at the time and to have Grace camping right there with us.

      Delaware Dog Friendly Beaches in Summer

      EJ’s dog Grace who was a Johnson Family Member from 1999 to 2012.

      Some of our best days are beach days! And that goes for our K9 friends too!

      Running, walking, chasing a ball or stick, and splashing around in the water is like heaven for our pets. I think you can actually see dogs smile while having fun with us on the beach!  And what pet owner doesn’t love to see their four-legged friends having some good ole’ fashion fun with the rest of the family?

      Assateague welcomes dogs on the Maryland side all year long. There are also a handful of other right here in Delaware where your dog is welcome in June, July, August and September.

      Take a look at the list of we’ve put together of Delaware Dog Friendly Beaches in Summer.