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Middle Run Natural Area

Newcastle Region, Delaware

Urban Legend

Directions & description

Location: Possum Hollow Rd, Newark, DE in Newcastle County

Length/Configuration: A interconnecting network of 20+ miles of maintained singletrack trails. Design your own ride.

Terrain/Surface: Varied with some log jumps, rooty and rocky sections. Off-camber sections (sloped ground). There are by-passes for more difficult obstacles.

Technical Difficulty: All skill levels. (Not for absolute beginners)

Elevation Change: Some steep climbs and descents, but total elevation gain is less than 500 feet.

Trail Use: mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding

Caution: Stream crossings. Do not ride within 48 hours of heavy rain.

Middle Run Natural Area Trail Map

Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.


From Newark (University of Delaware), take Paper Mill Rd. north. Turn right onto Possum Park Rd. and make a quick left onto Possum Hollow Rd. Turn left on gravel road leading to day-use parking area.


General Description:

The Middle Run Natural Area mountain bike trail system located in the burbs of Newark, DE includes 850 acres of land that is part Delaware County Park and part Delaware State Park. Much of the park has changed very little over the centuries. The forests of Middle Run are Delaware's pride and joy. Tall and abundant, the trees represent many species indigenous of Delaware's Piedmont region. In the summer, the shaded forests provide cool and lovely picnic spots. Ride here in the fall for fabulous foliage displays.

Middle Run is a favorite haunt of birdwatchers. There are over 170 different types of birds in the preserve including woodpeckers, cardinals, owls, hawks, pheasants, loons, egrets and falcons. Other wildlife such as rabbits, moles, racoons, opossum, salamanders, turtles and the occasional white-tailed deer or red fox can also be spotted.

The trails of Middle Run offer miles of designated hiking, biking and mutli-use trails through a peaceful oasis in the middle of the most populated area in New Castle County.


The Trails:

A 20 mile network of mostly challenging, hard-packed dirt wooded singletrack trails provides a good workout for the moderate to advanced mountain biker. That said, it is also a great training ground for beginners who, after mastering the easier trails at nearby White Clay Creek State Park, are ready to advance their skills on more challenging terrain. You'll encounter roots, log jumps, rocky areas and stream crossings. Use caution on some of the bridges. They are slippery when wet and the ground has eroded from the base of some.

For a great mountain bike ride with lots of variety, get the best of both worlds by mixing the trails at Middle Run with a few over at White Clay Creek. There are several trails throughout the Middle Run Natural Area County Park which continue westward to the Possum Hill Area of White Clay Creek State Park and eastward to the Judge Morris Estate. There is a spot where trails from each are directly opposite each other across Paper Mill Road (Rt.72). You can also connect using the trail along/on Smith Mill Rd.



A few of the most popular trails are:

The Lenape Trai and Lenape Cut-Off: (6.76 miles, using cut-off: 3.55 miles, using short-cut: 5.71 miles) Yellow Blazed

This is one of the easiest trails. There are many stretches suitable for the beginner who is ready to try more challenging terrain. Anything that looks too difficult can always be walked around or over.

This trail begins and ends at the day use area and loops around the entire perimeter of the Middle Run Natural Area. The trail has both flat and steep sections, passes through agricultural fields, deciduous woods and pine forests. It crosses the Middle Run and it's tributaries several times and Fox Den Road twice. The trail can be accessed by many of the side spurs which come in from the surrounding communities. A short-cut and cut-off spur can be used to reduce your ride length.


Double Horseshoe Trail: (3 miles) Designated bike trail. Blue Blazed.

The trail begins at the Day Use parking lot. Midway through, it meets up with the Lenape Trail before returning to the Day Use Area. The trail travels through rolling farmland, deciduous forest and crosses small streams repeatedly in order to make the elevation gain more gentle and less steep. You will also encounter several switchback areas on your ride.


Snow Goose Trail: (.75 miles) Orange Blazed.

This serpentine path is accessible from the water tower spur, the Delapahne Avenue spur, and the Lenape Trail. The trail can be shortened by using the Snow Goose Cut-Off Trail which passes through the middle of the loop, connecting to the challengiing black diamond Corkscrew, Mill Race, and Mountain Goat trails.


The Tri-Valley Trail:

The red and white rings mark the Tri-Valley trail. This trail runs from the eastern portion of White Clay Creek State Park and the JudgeMorris Estate, then across MRVNA following the northeast portion of the Lenape trail, and into White Clay Creek State Park.



Historical Note:

Take some time to explore adjoining White Clay Creek State Park. There are miles of additional mutli-use trails suitable for biking.

In addition, (hiking only) you can also opt to hike the Logger's Trail which chronicles the history of lumbering in the area, the Millstone Trail where grindstones were once quarried from exposed boulders and the Twin Valley Trail leads hikers to the Arc Corner Monument, which marks one end of the curved boundary between Pennsylvania and Delaware; the monument there marks the point used by the famous survey team to establish the beginning of the Mason-Dixon Line.



For more information:

New Castle County Department of Special Services
William J. Conner Building
187-A Old Churchmans Rd.
New Castle, DE 19720

Phone: (302) 395-5790


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