Even as the days begin to cool, you don’t have to turn to the gym for your daily dose of fitness. Fall is an especially picturesque time to get outside and enjoy the changing foliage and pleasant weather on hiking and biking trails throughout Delaware. (According to the Farmers’ Almanac, peak fall colors are likely to occur in Delaware between Oct. 19–Nov. 4.) Events happening over the next few months will have you eager to embrace nature and enjoy the season to the fullest.
14 miles of trails provide plenty of opportunity to stay in shape throughout the fall, with the added benefit of enjoying wildlife and photography opportunities.
The park features two nature preserves: Tulip Tree Woods and Freshwater Marsh, which are especially picturesque as the leaves begin to change.
Keep an eye on the sky, too, because unique to the fall season, species of hawks can be seen over the valley as they begin migration.
Throughout October and November, events like Autumn Hayrides (recurring, $7 per person), Starry Night Hikes (recurring, $5 per person) and Haunted Hayrides (Oct. 13 and 14, $12 per person) invite you to experience the outdoors in autumn in full.
With 37 miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers, White Clay Creek State Park offers historic sites and lush fall scenery. The Boundary Line Trail, starting at Thompson Station Road, has hikers cross an old stone bridge into an open field and continue through Osage Orange trees, to Corner Ketch Road, up to the highest point in the park. This trail connects with the White Clay Creek Preserve in Pennsylvania.
Whitely Farms Trail, a 3.1-mile route ideal for hiking and biking, begins near the old Whitely Farms. The single-track carries through hayfields and a hardwood forest.
Several upcoming events give you the extra push to get outside this season. Hop on a 45-minute hayride followed by 45 minutes around a warming campfire ($125 per wagon). To experience the trails in a different light, check out a full moon hike (Oct. 6, $5 per person).
Hike or bike through Bob Trail, which wraps around Trap Pond and passes by the Bald Cypress Nature Center. A crushed stone route that leads to an elevated bridge over freshwater wetland, this area is ideal for birding enthusiasts. Observe Warblers, kingfishers and Great Blue Heron in their habitat. Plus, crossing through the bald cypress as their needles brown and drop for the fall makes for a scenic walk.
Twilight in the Swamp (Oct. 25 and 26, $15 for adults, $8 for children under 13) takes hikers through a one-hour sunset tour. Animals of the Night Hike will teach participants about nocturnal animals by campfire before a hike through the grounds (Nov. 10, $4 per person).
Hiking trails and cross-country trails stretch through various habitats with a number of plants and animals. At the center of it all is the 66-acre millpond, making for a serene and scenic autumn setting.
The Pondside Trail, a 2.6-mile loop, travels through a hardwood forest, across flowing streams and past forest understory. The route is on a packed earth surface and has views of the pond and access to fishing spots.
The Cross Country Trail travels through a forest, crosses a bridge along the west end of Killens Pond and loops a primitive youth campground.
Don’t miss the recurring hayrides ($4 per person).