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Brandywine Creek State Park Mountain Bike Trails

Newcastle Region, DE

Family Friendly Biking, Autumn Bike Rides, Covered Bridges, Scenic Byways, Wildlife Watch


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.

There was no map we could find that showed all 3 parks together, so we created this one. Enjoy.

Brandywine Creek State Park Trail Map (PDF)

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

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.

General Description

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 Trail Description

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 bike options including the wide gravel Brandywine Valley Trail and the Longwall Trail. It's always fun to explore uncharted terrain.

Trail Access

Thompsons Bridge Road or Rockland Road parking lots.

Brandywine Creek State Park Trail Connections

First State National Historic Park Trails

Beaver Valley

In 2013 Delaware's First National Park was created to preserve the area's natural beauty and significant historical landmarks. There are 7 sites throughout Delaware that comprise the park. The Beaver Valley site encompasses 1,100 acres of the former Woodland Trustees Open Space located adjacent to Brandywine Creek State Park's northern border. The park also creates a protected buffer against development that would have severely impacted Brandywine Creek State Park and it's ecosystem and area archeological, cultural, architectural and scenic trail network that now spans both parks.

A network of multi-use trails interconnect with both the Brandywine Creek State Park Trails and the Woodlwan Trustees Open Space 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.

Detailed link and maps to come - in development

Woodlawn Trustees Open Space Trails

In 2013, 1,100 acres of the Woodlwan Trustees Open Space became a large of part of the First State National Park. The Woodlawn Trustees still own and maintain about 900 acres of land in Brandywine Hundred and nearby Pennsylvania. While a portion of these lands are set aside for future development, the public is invited, at their own risk, to walk, bike, and horse-back ride on the designated trails in this area.

See Woodlawn Trustees Open Space for land use policy.

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 & Photography

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 & Scenic Byways

Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

If you've got an extra hour to spare, take a scenic drive or bike ride along the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway and travel through 300 years of American industrial history. 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.

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 legacy, visit elegant country estates, museums and gardens including the well-known Winterthur Museum and Garden.

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.

Bike Routes: Brandywine Hundred Walking and Biking Map

Bikes & Covered Bridges

Smiths Covered Bridge

The original Burr Truss Covered bridge was constructed in 1839. The bridge was rehabilitated and piers and steel beams were added in 1956. 1961 saw the destruction of this landmark bridge by arsonists. The "new" Smith Bridge was "rebuilt" in the spirit of the original covered bridge preserving the beauty and history of Delaware.

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.

Things To Do

County Fairs, Festivals, Special Events

Escape From Granogue Mountain Bike Race

This race is part of the Mid-Atlantic Super Series roster of MTB events. Nearby, along the route of the Brandywine Scenic Byway in Montchanin, DE, is the circa 1840’s Greek Revival McCullough House, centerpiece of Irenee du Pont’s 1920’s estate. Once a year (usually the second weekend in July), the estate grounds, which are closed to the public are graciously opened for this legendary mountain-bike race which features one of the most fun, challenging trails in Delaware.

Bikes & Scenic Water Recreation Trails

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

 

Historical Notes

DuPont Family Legacy

The DuPont family left France to settle in Delware in the 1800's. In 1802 Éleuthère Irénée du Pont established a gunpowder mill on the banks of the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware. At the time, Wilmington was a milling and grain shipping center which served farmers in Delaware and the surrounding areas. DuPont eventually became the largest black powder manufacturing firm in the world.

The world was introduced to nylon in 1938 when the DuPont chemical company used the material to make synthetic toothbrushes. Two years later, in 1940, the new material caused an incredible sensation when the first nylon stockings went on sale.

The family has played an important part in politics, historic preservation and land conservation. They helped to found the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Brandywine Conservancy, The Grand Opera House and more.

To explore more of the DuPont family legacy in Wilmington, DE, check-in at the circa 1913 grand Hotel DuPont. Located on 11th and Market Streets in Wilmington, this Italian Rennaisance architectural masterpeice was commissioned by DuPont Company president Pierre S. DuPont. It features the carved and gilded elegance representative of the era.

More Information

Brandywine Creek State Park
PO Box 3782
Greenville, DE 19807

Phone: (302) 577-3534
Website: Brandywine Creek State Park (Official Park Map available online)

 

Bike Clubs: White Clay Bicycle Club, Delaware Trail Spinners (once they fix their "This site may be hacked message") - 9/29/2017. LOL

 

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