14 Nature Trails to explore year-round in Delaware’s Quaint Villages

Start off the New Year outdoors and get ready to explore one of the many trails in Delaware’s Quaint Villages. Lace up your sneakers or hiking shoes and grab your camera to capture memories along the way. With rural farmlands, acres of open lands, canopy trees, ponds and reasonable levels of elevation, Kent County’s trails are perfect for all levels of endurance, kids and even Fido! Delaware’s Quaint Villages’ trails offer outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to capture Delaware’s beauty, see migratory birds and activities the whole family can enjoy!

Big Oak County Park – Located in the quaint Village of Smyrna, Big Oak County Park offers visitors over 90 acres of free public access to outdoor recreation, trails, and restored wetlands. Big Oak County Park is also home to the Delaware Aero Space Education Foundation (DASEF).

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge- Tour one of the largest remaining expanses of salt tidal marsh in the Mid-Atlantic Region at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge located in Smyrna. The refuge offers a 12-mile wildlife driving trail, five different walking trails, three observation towers and a great place to see migratory birds.

Hunn Nature Park – Accessible year-round, explore one of Dover’s trails - perfect for all skill levels. This trail is comprised of restored land mill meadows, wetlands and a new pedestrian bridge along the Racetrack Pond Loop.  The trail consists of wooded areas with a mix of oaks, red cedars and conifers. These trees provide a nesting habitat for wetland birds including hawks and herons.

St. Jones Greenway – Hop along the St. Jones Greenway, a 14-mile river-side pathway linking Greater Dover, Kent County to the Delaware Bay that provides views of the St. Jones River and surrounding wetlands. The greenway consists of recreation, cultural & nature resources and provides visitors a pathway from Route 10 to downtown Dover, perfect for walking or cycling. 

Brecknock Park – This 86-acre park located in Camden, Delaware is filled with history, recreation opportunities and miles of year-round accessible walking nature trails.  Along the way, explore the Howell Mill Nature Center for various educational programs.  

Killens Pond State Park –You will find Killens Pond State Park and Campground tucked away in Felton, Delaware. Killens Pond is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy recreation, birding, cycling, hiking, camping and more. Enjoy one of the four trails perfect for all hiking skill levels including the Life Course Trail, a trail dedicated for workout enthusiasts with over 20 exercise stations!

Blackbird State Forest – Discover over 40 miles of trails waiting to be explored in Smyrna, Delaware at the Blackbird State Forest. These trails are used for hiking, running, cycling, cross country skiing and even horseback riding. Spot various towering trees from oaks, maples, gums and hickories. In addition to trails, Blackbird offers first-come, first served primitive campsites and picnic areas for a true outdoor adventure!

St. Jones Reserve & Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve –The north shores of the St. Jones River is home to the St. Jones Reserve, a component of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. The St. Jones Reserve is located along the Delaware Bayshore Byway and is free and open to the public. This Reserve offers a visitor center with hands-on interactive exhibits and a two-mile nature trail, a part of the St. Jones Greenway. The trail consists of a quarter-mile boardwalk with salt marshes and is adjacent to the Ted Harvey Conservation Area. 

Browns Branch County Park – With 38 acres of recreational offerings including hiking trails through evergreen woods, Browns Branch County Park offers visitors the chance to see migratory birds with its vibrant wetland habitat and uniquely designed wetland boardwalk for picturesque views. 

Silver Lake Park – Located in the city of Dover, Silver Lake Park offers 182 acres of woodsy green space with walking trails along the lake and park, a playground, fishing opportunities at Sliver Lake, picnic shelters and water access.

Fork Branch Nature Preserve – This preserve contains the second largest forest tract along the St. Jones River watershed. The mature upland forest is located on the corner of Kenton and West Denneys Road in Dover and offers a Loop Trail for visitors to explore. See barred owls, migratory and resident birds, including warblers, hawks, woodpeckers and more.

Milford Riverwalk Art Stroll- Enjoy a self-guided tour around the Mispillion River to see over 15 painted replica ‘Augusta’ yachts and public art murals. These painted works of art were created from local artists and each Augusta tells a different story and theme. Afterwards, take time and stop in some of Milford’s charming boutiques, art galleries, museums, bakeries and local eateries -  all within a short walk from the Mispillion River waterfront. 

Delaware Aquatic Resources Education Center – Along the Delaware Bayshore Byway in Smyrna, you will find the Aquatic Resources Education Center. Stroll along the 940-foot boardwalk over the marsh to spot migratory birds. In addition to the outdoor nature trails, this Education Center offers catch-and-release fishing with three stocked ponds and an educational center to learn about Delaware’s marshlands.

Abbott’s Mill Nature Center - Explore a working historic gristmill, nature center, picnic area, canoe and kayak access, 20-acre pond and miles of scenic trails at the Abbott’s Mill Nature Center in Milford, Delaware. Abbott’s Mill Trails and streamside boardwalk are open year-round and is pet friendly. Each trail gives visitors the opportunity to soak in scenic views along the Atlantic White Cedar woodlands to spot migratory birds, photo opportunities and wildlife in its natural habitat. 

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