Hike the Pinelands Trail

Details

Distance

2 miles

Route Type

Loop

Added by Jennifer White

A beautiful two mile walk through pine forest and sand dunes.

There are two places you can pick up this trail in the Cape Henlopen State Park. One trailhead is located in the Fort Miles parking lot. The other trailhead, and where I usually start, is across from the Seaside Nature Center. The beginning of this trail and some places throughout can often be muddy and covered in water due to the low lying areas and surrounding bogs. It sometimes requires maneuvering through and around trail areas that are completely covered in water. Trust me, it's worth it! This is a beautiful walk through a unique, sandy pine forest. There are four species of pine, including loblolly, Virginia, pitch and black, as well as cranberry bogs. The trail consists of packed and loose sand, mostly covered in pine needles. The trail is not marked very well and because the trail and surrounding areas are covered in pine needles, it's easy to wander off the trail. No worries though, it's not a large enough area to get seriously lost in. Downed branches will line the trail in some places as well as some bright green blazes on trees to keep you on track. Look for the old artillery bunker which was built during World War ll. The trail to the top offers a nice view. There are two places you can easily hop off the trail for more sightseeing, one is Fort Miles Historical Area and the other will take you to the paved bike loop where there is an entrance to the beach. Both of these places are marked with trailhead signs. Be sure to look for deer along the trail and also in the field by the Nature Center parking lot!

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Forest
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A Different Side of Cape Henlopen

When this trail is open (often closed during late winter and spring due to water on trail) it is worth it. Also, pets and bikes are not permitted due to the sensitive nature of this critical habitat. Unlike any other trail in the park, Pinelands offers a minimal impact experience of the maritime forest/bog community of the park. Trail is sand, loose sand in many places, and narrow. There are few trail markers besides dead branches lining most portions of the trail. For me the highlights are the pines of the maritime forest, the cranberry bogs and remains of aspects of Fort Miles (the World War II defense post). Most of the forest is made up of Pitch pines, adapted to the salt, sandy habitat. This area has been "historically" wet, formed between the older "Great Dune" and the current bayside beach dunes. Throughout the Pinelands lie several bogs, home to perhaps the most southern community of cranberry plants as well as Highbush Blueberry. Also along parts of the trail are the remnants of parts of Fort Miles. These include a portion of the old rifle range as well as the earthen revetments constructed to protect the mobile railroad guns used to protect our coastline from the threat of invasion. I recommend walking the trail in late fall (November), both to avoid ticks and mosquitoes and for the least likeliness of closure due to water. Summer tends to be dry, but lots of ticks and such. Spring often too wet to complete.

Explorer

ūü•áTop Contributor

over 4 years ago

Good trail, but definitely check for ticks!

This is a nice trail that winds through the maritime forest of Cape Henlopen State Park. Most people come to the park for the beach access, but if you are looking for a different environment, this trail is a great way to experience a side of the park that many visitors skip. There are lots of ticks, so check periodically! The trail can also become a little flooded after heavy rains.

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4.0/5

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