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First Day Hikes


Join Delaware State Parks on Saturday, January 1, 2022, and start the New Year outdoors!

First Day Hikes are a national movement sponsored by America’s State Parks where all 50 states offer outdoor hiking opportunities on the first day of the year.

This year’s hikes will be self-guided, but park staff will be available if you have questions. Make sure your group gets counted as a part of the nationwide initiative by stopping by the check-in table.

These trails have been selected for First Day Hikes in order to accommodate most hikers. You may venture to other trails in the parks, but be mindful of other trail users and respect the resources by staying on official trails.

After your hike, please come back here and fill out our feedback form to let us know how many miles your group covered!


This Year's Hikes

Alapocas Run State Park

10 a.m. - 12 noon - Northern Delaware Greenway Trail

Check-in location: Blue Ball Barn, Courtyard Entrance

Start your year off right with a self-guided hike on the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail that runs through Alapocas Run State Park. Start at the Blue Ball Barn and walk as long as you want. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Mixed, Easy & Moderate
  • Accessible? Yes - Paved
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2 miles one way
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-577-1164

Auburn Valley State Park

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Yorklyn Bridge Trail and Auburn Valley Loop Trail

Check-in location: Park pavilion on Yorklyn Rd. Parking will be in the lot and in the empty lots of Dewpoint Brewery.

Join this nationwide event and start 2022 in the fresh bracing air of the Red Clay Valley! This hike will start along the Yorklyn Bridge trail at the park pavilion. From there you'll hike through the ruins of an industrial complex and then up into the wild and undisturbed sweep of the Auburn Valley Loop Trail which overlooks the DE/PA border. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate, some hills
  • Accessible? Yorklyn Bridge Yes, Auburn Valley Loop No
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2.8 mile loop there and back again
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather, and wear hats and sunglasses for shade due to exposed nature of the trail
  • Contact for more information: 302-729-4280

Bellevue State Park

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Bellevue Trail

Check-in location: Top of Main Parking Lot

Step into 2022 with your best foot forward! Hike with family and friends on our self-guided hike through Bellevue, and your new year is sure to start off well. Remember to stop by our table at the top of the parking lot for the route! Public bathrooms available by the table. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No - Paved, some sloped areas, gravel at the end
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 1.12 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, bring water.
  • Contact for more information: 302-761-6963

Brandywine Creek State Park

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Meadows Trail

Check-in location: Outside nature center

Begin again! Come enjoy sweeping vistas as you walk the meadow trail to ring in the New Year! Hike is self-guided with QR info stops along the way to learn about our meadows. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Mixed, Easy & Moderate
  • Accessible? No - Grass, dirt, rocks
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, bring water.
  • Contact for more information: 302-655-5740

Brandywine Zoo

10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Path through the zoo

Check-in location: Ticket window

Join us for a self-guided “hike” of temporary interpretive signs around the zoo focusing on some snapshots from the zoo's historic past plus some modern updates on our Master Plan progress. Free.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes - Paved, some sloped areas
  • Restrictions: Service animals only
  • Length of hike: 1/10 of a mile
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-571-7788 ext 209

Cape Henlopen

11 a.m. - 12 noon - The Point

Check-in location: The Point parking area

Join the national movement! Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and start your new year off right with a First Day Hike! Start at the Point overlook. Park at the Point Comfort Station parking lot. Ages 5 and up. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accessible? No - Sand
  • Restrictions: No pets allowed
  • Length of hike: 2.0 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-645-6852

Delaware Seashore

12 noon - 1 p.m. - Indian River Inlet Bridge

Check-in location: North Inlet Day Area

Join the national movement! Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and start your new year off right with a First Day Hike! Meet at the North Inlet Day Area. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes - Paved
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 0.75 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-227-6991

First State Heritage Park

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Experience Historic Dover

Check-in location: The John Bell House (43 The Green)

Out with the old, in with the new! Start 2022 out right with a refreshing, rejuvenating hike on the first day of the new year. Self-guided tour booklets will be available throughout the day - these will take you on a leisurely stroll through Dover's historic neighborhoods. We're looking forward to setting the tone of the year to come with you!

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes - Some rough cobblestones and street crossings
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 1.0 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, bring water.
  • Contact for more information: 302-739-9194

Fort DuPont State Park

10 a.m. - 12 noon - Riverview Trail

Check-in location: Riverview Trail Trailhead

Start the new year off right with a First Day Hike! Pick up a trail map and a self-guided brochure at our check-in station at the trailhead and enjoy a hike through historic Fort DuPont. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No - Crushed stone and grass
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 1 mile
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather, bring waterproof shoes, bring water/snacks if needed.
  • Contact for more information: 302-834-7941

Fort Miles

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. - Artillery Park

Check-in location: Orientation Building

Start your year off right with a self-guided exploration of the Fort Miles Artillery Park. Those looking to add a little more history and distance can also hike to Battery Hunter and discover its importance in coastal defense. Meet at the Orientation Building. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Artillery Park: Easy Battery Hunter extension: Moderate
  • Accessible? Yes - Paved
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: .25 miles, 2 miles with Battery Hunter extension
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-644-5007

Holts Landing

2 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Sea Hawk Trail

Check-in location: Holts picnic pavilion

Join the national movement! Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and start your new year off right with a First Day Hike! Meet at the Holts Landing Picnic Pavilion. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Yes - Crushed stone
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 1.3 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-227-6991

Lums Pond State Park

12 noon - 4 p.m. - Swamp Forest Trail/ Little Jersey Trail

Check-in location: Nature Center

Bring in the New Year outdoors! This year's first day hike will be self-guided along the swamp forest trail. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Swamp Forest No, Little Jersey Yes
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather and bring water
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6989

Lums Pond State Park

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Swamp Forest Trail

Check-in location: Area 1 Pavilion

Bring in the New Year outdoors! This year's first day hike will be self-guided along the swamp forest trail. Free

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? No - Crushed stone and hard packed dirt
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 6.4 miles
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather and bring water
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6989

Trap Pond State Park

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Bob Trail and others

Check-in location: Nature Center

Stop at the Baldcypress Nature Center to pick up your map and choose your own First Day Hike at Trap Pond State Park. Park staff can help you choose trail lengths between one half and seven miles.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy- Moderate
  • Accessible? Yes - Crushed Stone
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 1.1 American Holly Loop back to Bob
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather
  • Contact for more information: 302-875-5163

White Clay Creek State Park

10 a.m. - 12 noon - Tri-Valley Trail

Check-in location: Smith Mill Parking Lot

Start the year off right with a self-guided hike on the Tri-Valley trail. The Friends of White Clay will be staffing a table from 10 to noon at the Smith Mill road parking lot if you have any questions.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy, some hills
  • Accessible? Yes - Paved
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2.5 out and back to Newark China Clay site
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather and bring water
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6900

White Clay Creek State Park

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - PennDel and Pomeroy

Check-in location: Nature Center Parking Lot

Start the year off right with a self-guided hike on the PennDel and Pomeroy trails, there is also a virtual hike you can scan with your smartphone and follow along. A naturalist will be on the Nature Center porch from 1 to 3 p.m. if you have any questions.

  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Accessible? Pomeroy Yes, PennDel No
  • Restrictions: Pets must be on a max. 6-foot leash
  • Length of hike: 2.29 mile loop
  • What to bring with you: Dress for the weather and bring water
  • Contact for more information: 302-368-6900