White Clay Creek State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:880 New London Road, Newark, DE
Hours:Grounds open 8 a.m. to sunset daily; office open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fee: Nonresidents, $6 per vehicle; residents, $3 per vehicle (March through November); pedestrians and bikes, free
Bathrooms: At nature center, Carpenter Recreation Area, and parking areas
Water/Snacks: None

Hike or bike along the creek or in forested hills with abundant wildlife in this huge, bi-state park.

White Clay Creek State Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

White Clay Creek is such an outstanding natural feature that it couldn’t be contained in just one park! It is two parks in one, as the park extends out of Delaware into Pennsylvania, where it becomes the White Clay Creek Preserve. The parks are seamlessly connected by trails, and this trip description treats them as one park, though the far larger portion is in Delaware.

The park comprises 4,555 acres of low, forested hills and meadows surrounding the White Clay Creek. Because of its ecological importance, the creek has been designated a Wild and Scenic waterway and is protected by the National Park Service. Birds, fish, amphibians, and other wildlife are abundant .

Thirty-seven miles of trails cover a wide variety of terrain, some open to bikes and others for hiking only. Some trails have sections that are hilly, suitable for kids with some hiking or biking experience, but numerous cutoff and connector trails make the trails easier.

Some level, hard-surface trails are open to both hikers and bikers. Edwin Leid Trail, a multiuse trail along shaded banks, showcases the creek’s beauty. The paved Pomeroy Rail Trail extends 2.7 miles south of Hopkins Road, following an old rail bed; lighted and stroller-friendly, it’s open 24 hours a day. It crosses the creek via a trestle bridge and loops back via the Tri-Valley Trail. 

The park is also of historical importance; Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon began their amazing survey of the boundary line separating Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland here. Take Bryan’s Field Trail (which begins at the Possum Hill parking area) to see a Mason-Dixon Historic Monument, at the point where the surveyors began their westward trek. 

The creek, which is stocked, is popular for trout fishing; the Cattail and Millstone ponds (in the Carpenter Recreation Area) are also open to anglers. White Clay is beautiful in winter for snowshoeing on the trails.

Remember: Pennsylvania and Delaware have different rules and regulations regarding hunting. Note that in addition to the park office parking, other lots may be closer to the trailheads.

Plan B:

A variety of hiking and biking trails are in the 2,072-acre Pennsylvania side of the park; parking is along London Tract Road.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It’s best to pack a picnic. In the park’s Carpenter Recreation Area is a playground and picnic area.


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