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Brandywine Creek State Park Bicycle Trails

Newcastle Region, DE

Family Cycling, Fall Foliage, Covered Bridges, Scenic Byways, Wildlife Watch & Photo-Ops


Directions
Trail Description

Location: Wilmington, Delaware. New Castle County

Length/Configuration: Create your own out-and-back or loop mountain bike ride using miles of interconnecting trails.

Terrain / Surface: Variety of terrain. Open fields, wide fairly level crushed stone path on the Greenway, hilly with steep climbs and ascents, rock terraces, boulders, roots, stream crossings.

Technical Difficulty:
Brandywine Valley Trail: Beginner
Multi-use trails:Beginner, Inermediate, Advanced.

Elevation change:
Greenway: Fairly level.
Multi-use trails: Hilly with steep slopes.

Trail Use: Mountain biking, hiking, horsebcak riding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing.

Caution: Dogs must be on leash. Hunting in season.

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

Brandywine Creek State Park Overview

Brandywine Creek State Park located in Wilmington, DE is a 933-acre park that was once a dairy farm owned by the DuPont family. The park is bordered on the north by the First Delaware National Historic Park and the Woodlawn Trustees Open Space. Trails wind through classic Mid-Atlantic Piedmont terrain consisting of streams, idyllic meadows, marshland, gently rolling hills blanketed by mature woodlands, and a distinctive mix of geologic formations that span the ages.

The Brandywine Creek runs through the heart of the park adding to the diversity of habitat and terrain that make it an outstanding place for a multi-level biking experience that includes history along with scenic views, wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, deer and other critters. Both the Brandywine Creek and Wilsons Run (trout) are popular Angler hot spots.

Along the trails and meadows you will encounter walls built of local weathered, blue gneiss stone cut from the numerous rock outcrops that punctuate the landscape. These walls once delineated the fields and meadows of this former circa 1800's farm.

Facilities

Picnic area and pavilion, canoe / kayak launch, restrooms, nature center, primitive youth group camping, fire rings, ampitheater, volleyball court and meeting hall. The Brandywine Valley Trail is accessible.

Visitors Center / Headquarters

Located at 41 Adams Dam Rd., Wilmington, DE.

Brandywine Creek State Park - Mountain Bike Trails

Brandywine Creek State Park and the surrounding parkland and open space is one of the most popular mountain bike destinations in Delaware and perhaps one of the rockiest. There are 14 miles of maintained trails which include a nice salad (with croutons - log overs, rock boulder gardens, roots) of doubletrack, singletrack trails and woods roads. All of the trails on the west side of Brandywine Creek are designated for hiking. The mountain bicyclists can be found on the east side of the creek.

The Rocky Run Trail area is an ideal mountain biking experience for those looking for fun, challenging mountain bike rexperiences with some tree hugging moments. There are marked, scenic and winding paths and a network of unmarked, multi-use trails to explore that interconnect with those in the First Delaware National Historic Park and Woodlawn Trustees Open Space adjacent to Brandywine Creek State Park's northern border.

Rocky Run Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 1.8 miles, Rocky Run Cut Off: 0.4 mile,
Elevation Grade: Min: 8.0%, Max: 30%

Beginning at the trailhead at the southern end of the Thompson Bridge parking lot, the Rocky Run Trail shares the route with the Brandwine Valley Trail (Northern Delaware Greenway) for about 0.3 miles. This beginning section of the trail is wide and travels over gentle terrain. Just before the Rocky Run Bridge, the multi-use trail forks. The Greenway continues across the bridge over Rocky Run; the Rocky Run Trail, turns north making it's way along forested ridges, through pine forest and open meadows. For part of the route, the path travels along Brandywine Creek, allowing glimpses of the river. This trail offers a moderately challenging mountain bike ride with steep ascents and descents along the rugged, rocky slopes of the Brandywine Creek Valley.

From the Rocky Run Bridge you can get a great view of the colorful "Wilmington" boulders that dot the hillside east of the road. Most of the boulders are banded and some will contain "bright eyes" which are grains of magnetite surrounded by light colored quartz and feldspar. If you stare long enough, the rocks will "wink at you".

From Thompsons Bridge: Heading north, the trail travels under Thompsons Bridge Road and travels into First State National Historical Park. Heading south, the trail crosses the Rocky Run Bridge and follows the Brandywine River to Rockland Road at the southern boundary of the Brandywine Creek State Park.

From Adams Dam Road: See main directions above. Park at the Rockland Parking lot and head north on either the Longwall Trail or the Brandywine Valley Trail (Greenway) to access the Rocky Run Trail and other multi-use trails.

Creekside Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2.4 miles

Acording to Brandywine Creek State Park personnel I spoke to 10/4/2017, this is a multi-use trail open for mountain biking. While there is minimal elevation gain overall, this is a mountain bike ride that will have you pedaling steadily uphill through the woodlands that skirt the edge of Brandywine Creek.

This trail is not as tame as the wide family friendly Brandywine Creek Greenway. The Creekside Trail is much narrower, more like an adhoc path until it makes an exit at Thompsons Bridge Road where it aligns with the Brandywine Creek Trail briefly.

Many of the boulders you'll see along the river and rock gardens along the trail slowly worked their way downslope during the last glacial period, about 10-40 thousand years ago. This trail is one of the best wildlife viewing trails in the park. A most colorful array of Wood Warblers also love the woods along this trail and will serenade you as you ride, when they return in the spriing. ).

From here the trail heads north into the First National Historic Park into the Beaver Valley country and onto old dirt farm roads where the landscape is open meadows, burbling creeks and still active farmland. The land in this area was first deeded to William Penn in the 1600's.

Trail Access

Thompsons Bridge Road or Rockland Road parking lots.

Brandywine Valley Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2.9 miles
Elevation Grade: Min: 4.0%, Max: 20%

This is a section of the Northern Delaware Greenway, In Brandywine Creek State Park, the trail is a wide winding path with a mostly crushed stone surface. The trail is a paved for a short distance near Thompsons Bridge. It's an easy scenic, mountain bike ride that follows and plays tag with the Creekside Trail. This trail is perfect for a family mountain bike ride.

It passes under Thompson's Bridge Road and continues north into the First State National Historic Park. Along the way are pretty views of the river, wildflowers, and unusual geologic features.

Trail Access

Thompsons Bridge Road or Rockland Road parking lots.

Longwall Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 1.1 miles

From the Rockland Parking area the ride starts on Brandywine Traiil at the fork bear right onto the Longwall Trail. It's an easy to moderate ride through the woods.

Brandywine Creek State Park Muti-use Trails & Forest Roads

While the multi-use trails at Brandywine Creek are mostly tougher and rougher than the trails in the First Delaware National Park or the Woodlawn Trustees Open Space, there are several easier mountain biking options utilizing the wide gravel Brandywine Valley Trail and the Longwall Trail.

Trail Access

Thompsons Bridge Road or Rockland Road parking lots.

Brandywine Creek State Park Trail Connections

Bikes & Scenic Byways

Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

If you've got an extra hour to spare, take a bicycle ride along the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway and travel through 300 years of American industrial history. It runs along the border of Brandywine Creek State Park. The segment of the byway within Delaware travels for about 12.5 miles from Rodney Square in Wilmington, DE along Routes 52 and 100 to the Delaware-Pennsylvania State Line.

Along the way you'll learn about the DuPont family history, visit elegant country estates, museums and gardens including the well-known Winterthur Museum and Garden. We love to collect "Historical Marker" photographs. Wherever we travel, whether by bike or car, we stop to read and snap a few photos. You'll find plenty of them along this route.

Both RT 52 and 100 in Delaware are listed State Bicycle Routes amd considered "More Bike Friendly", meaning they have wide shoulders or bike lanes and slower traffic. Some road shoulders or lanes may have gaps, so use caution.

First State National Historic Park Trails - Beaver Valley

Beaver Valley, the largest unit of First State National Historical Park, originated as farms purchased by William Bancroft. The land was formerly called the Woodlawn Tract. In 2013 Delaware's First National Historic Park was created to preserve the area's natural beauty and significant historical landmarks. The Beaver Valley site abuts Brandywine Creek State Park's northern border. This also creates a protected buffer against development that would have severely impacted Brandywine Creek State Park and it's ecosystem and archeological, cultural, architectural and scenic trail network that now spans both parks.

A network of multi-use trails great for bicycling, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding interconnect with both the Brandywine Creek State Park Trails and the Beaver Valley Trails. They wind along creeks and old farm roads, through a bucolic mix of open fields, woodland and skirt along the edges of farm fields. Depending on which trails you choose to ride, there may also be stream crossings.

If you are looking for less technical, more open terrain this is the area for you.

Northern Delaware Greenway

Mileage / Blaze: 10.4 miles

The Northern Delaware Greenway is a designated National Recreation Trail. The East Link of spans 10 miles of northern New Castle County from Fox Point State Park on the Delaware River to the Brandywine Creek and the City of Wilmington.

The path provides an interconnected urban trail network of regional and community walking, hiking, and bicycling trails. It connects with Wilmington’s Walkway system and links together communities, businesses, schools, parks and cultural sites.

Some gems along the path are Bellevue State Park, Wilmington State Park, Brandywine Creek State Park, Brandywine Zoo, Rockford Park, Alapocas Run State Park and several historic estates.

Trail highlights & Nearby Points Of Interest

Wildlife Watch & Photo-Ops

Brandywine Creek State Park encompasses Delaware's first two nature preserves: The Tulip Tree Woods, a majestic stand of 190-year-old tulip poplar; and Freshwater Marsh. The Brandywine Creek State Park also features a Nature Center, Hawk Watch Hill and Flint Woods, a satellite extension of the park that features the largest remaining old growth hardwood forest in Delaware.

All of these areas are excellent wildlife and birdwatch areas. That streak of blue whizzing across the trail is probably an Eastern Bluebird. The Wood Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Ovenbird, Prairie Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole also make seasonal appearances to breed and raise their young. Family friendly in more ways than one.

Brandywine Creek State Park Nature Center

The Nature Center features trails with intrepretive displays, nature programs for visitors and school groups of all ages. Park programs and events that include flat-water canoeing, the Marvelous Monarch butterflies, starry night hikes and even Haunted Hayrides through the woods (October). The Park office is also located here along with a gift shop.

The Tulip Tree Woods and Nature Paths are located just behind the center.

Directions: From Thompson's Bridge, follow Route 92 1.4 miles to a 4-way stop sign at Adams Dam Road. Go left (SE) on Adams Dam Road 0.3 mile; the park entrance is on the left; the nature center is 0.7 mile up the entrance road.

Hawk Watch Hill

Many species of hawks including the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Coopers Hawk, American Kestrel and Northern Harrier can be seen migrating over the valley from mid-September to mid-November. If you are very, very lucky you might sight a Golden Eagle or Northern Goshawk.

Directions: 62 Adams Dam Rd, Wilmington, DE. About 0.25 mile before the Nature Center, turn right. Follow directions to the watch site.

Bikes & Covered Bridges

Smiths Covered Bridge

The Smith Covered Bridge, a one lane Burr arch-truss bridge was originally built in 1839. It spans the Brandywine River and has the distinction of being the longest bridge in New Castle County, DE at 145-Ft. in length.

After being destroyed in a fire, was it partially reconstructed in 2002. Its re-opening brought  out a parade of horse-drawn carriages and classic cars. In 2021 it was submerged by floodwater and a tractor-trailer was badly mangled when attempting to cross the bridge. This almost 200 year old notable historic bridge has been restored and reinforced.  It's an important part of Brandywine Creek's cultural and transporation history.

Trail Access

Crosses Brandywine Creek north of Winterthur,. DE100 north 1.7 miles from jct with DE92 in Winterthur, northeast on Smiths Bridge Rd. 1.4 miles to the bridge. There is a small parking lot at Creek Road just south of the picturesque covered Smith Bridge.

Check ahead for Covered Bridge access.

Bikes & Battles

Brandywine Battlefield Park Historic Site

The Brandywine Battlefield Park, just across the Delaware border in Chadds Ford PA, brings to life the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War, fought on September 11, 1777, between the Continental Army led by General George Washington and the British forces headed by General William Howe.

Location:

1491 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford PA, 19317

Bikes & Scenic Water Byways

The Brandywine River Trail

This slow flowing river is perfect for a relaxing 12 mile afternoon kayak or canoe paddle or float along the Brandywine to the Thompson's Bridge launch takeout point.

Wilderness Canoe Trips, Inc. is a longtime local outfitter with a half a century of experience. Whether you are looking to do a combination mountain bike experience and guided river excursion, want to do some paddling on your own, or do some "donut tubing", they've got everything you need for an enjoyable, safe trip including transportation.

Call for reservations: 302-654-2227

Special Events

Mountain Bike Races

Mid-Atlantic Super Series - Escape From Granogue

A series of annual ATB events that provide a competitive as well as a fun and festive race atmosphere. Once a year the circa 1840’s Greek Revival McCullough House, centerpiece of Irenee du Pont’s 1920’s estate, located in Montchanin, DE, is graciously opened to the public for this legendary mountain bike race.

Historical Notes

A portion of the park was originally the Du Pont family's Winterthur estate and dairy farm before becoming a state park in 1965. It was one of the first parks in the country to be purchased with Land and Water Conservation funds and contains the first two nature preserves ever established in Delaware.

Prior to becoming a state park, the land of Brandywine Creek State Park was a hub for the early milling industry and were top producers of gunpowder, textiles, barley, flour, and nails. Evidence of Delaware's industrial past can be seen along the trails and around the park: stone walls, mill spillways, historic buildings and more.

Beginning in 1906, William Poole Bancroft began to purchase property in the Brandywine Valley from farmers and small-scale industrialists to hold in reserve for the health and well-being of the public. The farms he purchased today make up the Beaver Valley Unit of First State National Historical Park. 

Directions

Take State Rt.202 north or south to Mount Lebanon Rd. Turn west onto Mount Lebanon west, right onto Rockland Rd., and right onto Adams Dam Rd. to the park entrance at 41 Adams Dam Road

From Wilmington: Take Pennsylvania Avenue which becomes Kennett Pike. Turn right onto Montchanin Rd. (Rt.100) north. After about 2 1/2 miles turn right onto Adams Dam Rd. to the park entrance at 41 Adams Dam Road.

More Information

Brandywine Creek State Park
PO Box 3782
Greenville, DE 19807


State Park: Delaware State Parks

 

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