Length: 2.65 miles one way
Great for: Walking, cycling
There are no arcades or pizza places on the boardwalk portion of the Gordons Pond Trail, which runs from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach. Instead, you can savor views of bald eagles, deer, heron, osprey and other birds. Though the boardwalk feels a world away from the tourist attractions in Rehoboth, cyclists can easily access the seaside version from the trailhead at Gordons Pond. Or you can stroll down the beach.
The Gordons Pond boardwalk, built to protect the dunes, boasts a design that keeps water from pooling. Fine gravel on other parts of the trail is friendly to bike tires. Cyclists will also appreciate the self-service stations on either end.
The trail is rife with places where you can savor nature, including an overlook platform not far from the parking lot. “The trail offers easy access to wildlife,” says professional photographer Kevin Fleming, a Lewes resident. For prime viewing he recommends visiting at sunrise or sunset. Photo-worthy subjects include the ocean, the pond, the wildlife and the concrete World War II towers.
Insect repellent, sunscreen and water are must-haves in warm weather. There’s a lot of marsh grass and wetlands. If you wander off the trail to snap a photo of a fox, check for ticks afterward—and beware of chiggers.
Putting up with the occasional insect or two is worth it. Consider the post that someone recently wrote on Bike Delaware’s Facebook page. “They said: ‘Is there a more beautiful trail anywhere else on the East Coast? I can’t think of one,’” says James Wilson, the organization’s executive director.
More ways to reach the beach
Opened in 2014, the Gordons Pond Trail links Cape Henlopen State Park’s Rehoboth parking lot to Herring Point on the Lewes side of the park. In Lewes, you can loop around the 3-mile Bike Loop Trail, which is also suitable for hikers, people with strollers and in-line skates.
The dunes of Cape Henlopen
At Herring Point, pop onto the 1.6-mile Walking Dunes Trail, made up of sand, crushed shells and pavement. It ends at the Great Dune. In spring, keep an eye out for pink lady’s slipper and beach heather. In summer, dodge the poison ivy that grows along the trail’s edge.
The park’s hiking-only Seaside Nature Trail in the park is an easy 0.6 miles over a flat, sandy surface. You’ll see the Delaware Bay, the Delaware Breakwater, the fishing pier and the lighthouses.