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Blackbird State Forest Mountain Bike Trails

Newcastle Region, DE

Bike Safari, Ecotourism, Family Cycling, Gravel Grinders

Directions & Trail Description

Location: Smyrna, New Castle County

Length/Configuration: Over 40 miles of multi-use trails. Design your own loops or out-and-back rides.

Tybout Tract: About 17 miles of marked and unmarked trails

Terrain/Surface: A mix. Mostly fire roads and doubletrack trails.

Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Elevation change: Mostly level.

Trail Use: mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing

Caution: Avoid biking during hunting season. Bring mosquito repellent.

Blackbird State Forest Trail Map

Map of Blackbird State Forest : Tybout Tract

This trail map is a geographical representation designed for general reference purposes only.

Blackbird State Forest Overview

Blackbird State Forest is located along the Newcastle / Kent border within the Blackbird-Millington Conservation Corridor. It's a unique coastal forest landscape of forests, farm fields, streams and tidal marshes that spans the Delmarva Peninsula from the Delaware Bay to the Cypress Branch headwaters of the Chester River in Maryland.

Blackbird State Forest is also Delaware's northernmost state forest. Over nine tracts of land totaling over 4,800 acres and it's proximity to Wilmington and Newark, DE (just a 30-minute trip by car), makes this a popular Bike Safari and Ecotourism destination.

The Blackbird State Forest's forty mile, multi-use trail system is used extensively for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. The Tybout Tract, which this article focuses on, offers fun family cycling on about 17 miles of multi-use trails. The trail system interconnects five primitive campsites and four picnic sites which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Atlantic Coastal hardwood forest of oak, yellow-poplar, beech, maple, loblolly pine, sweetgum and hickory is home to a wonderful diversity of plants, animals and rare ecological systems. The Blackbird State Forest and surrounding area is especially noted for it's unique “Delmarva Bays”; seasonally flooded, oval-shaped wetland depressions which are the subject of local lore.

Facilities

Visitors Center / Headquarters

The Delaware Forest Service Northern Regional Office: Located on the 1, 174 acre Blackbird State Forest Tybout Tract at 502 Blackbird Forest Road. The center also hosts an Ecological Education Area with interactive displays about Delaware's forests and their management, indoor classrooms for students and teachers, outdoor educational trails, contests to inspire designed for kids and Smokey the Bear visits. Fascinating special exhibits have included Rain Gardens, Honey Bee Farms and more. Call ahead for hours of operation.

Other facilities include a catch-and-release fishing pond stocked with fish, rustic campsites, picnic areas, port-o-potties, 1/2-mile, wheelchair-accessible wildlife and nature interpretation trail.

Mountain Bicycling Trails - Blackbird State Forest

Tybout Tract Trails

The 17 mile multi-use trail system in the Blackbird State Forest Tybout Tract are comprised mostly of fire roads and doubletrack trails. These are great for beginners. A few obstacles such as roots and log overs allow you to practice some basic mountain bike skills. The trails offer riders a variety of experiences: peaceful shaded mountain bike rides through a beautiful Atantic Coastal hardwood forest; past wetlands (Delmarva Bays) and fields.

There are 2 marked concentric loop trails. The 4.5 mile Blue Trail and the 2.2 mile Yellow Trail. These interconnect five primitive campsites and four picnic sites. You can also make your ride as long as you want by using the additional 10 mles of unmarked trails that link these two loop trails at various points.

Trail highlights & Nearby Points Of Interest

The unusual oval shaped "Delmarva Bays" (whale wallows), filled with water and rimmed with sand are embossed in the non-tidal Blackbird State Forest landscape. Sediments of these secluded bay areas have been found to be about 15,000 years old. Their origin remains a mystery but scientists are certain they were not caused by stranded, wallowing whales. The bays seasonally fill up with water and at times can completely dry up.

Surrounded by grasses, sedges and sphagnum moss, these wetland areas support a regionally significant carnivorous insect population of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) which are formidable hunters. They will eat other flying insects such as moths, mosquitoes, bees, butterflies and even small fish. The bays also attract green herons, great blue herons, egrets, and other species of waterfowl.

Bike Safari

Bombay Hook Wildlife Bicycle Loop

A 12-mile wildlife drive also open to bicycling, five walking trails (2 handicapped accessible), three observation towers and a variety of nature and educational programs provide a multitude of opportunities to view life in one of the Mid-Atlantic Coast's largest protected Tidal Saltmarsh refuge.

The bicycle loop travels on relatively flat terrain and winds in and around freshwater man-made pools, salt marshes, woodlands, and fields. Along the way are stunning views of the open water. In the spring, thousands of migrating shorebirds can be seen feeding on the salt marsh mudflats along the Bombay Hook Wildlife Bicycle Loop. In the fall the Canada and Snow Geese arrive. It is also peak waterfowl migration season. An array of colorful ducks from the blue and green winged Teal to the Red Breasted Merganser bob and dive in the ponds and bays. In the the winter, look for hawks and eagles perched in the trees.

Trail Access

Begin your bike ride at the Visitor Center and Refuge Headquarters

Wildlife Refuge: Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge

Directions

From North or South: Take Rte 13 to Blackbird Forest Road, which is just south of the Rte 71/Rte 13 interchange and is about 5 miles north of Smyrna; go south on Blackbird Forest Road about 1.5 miles to the State Forest HQ on the left (east side) of the road.

More Information

State Forest: Delaware State Forest

 

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