Trying to collect a list of good places to run around northern Delaware and surrounding areas. Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments.
Fair Hill does have a self-service parking fee in effect ($3 for MD vehicles and $5 for others).
Fair Hill Parking Lot #3 (aka North Appleton Parking Lot at 2895 Appleton Road)
- Blue trail (3.5 mile loop) – A good portion of this trail is on gravel roads and open fields. There is a big hill near the end that is grass/dirt. A stream crossing and a chunnel. A quick trail run done in under an hour at a slow pace; NOT recommended for VFFs because of all the gravel.
- Green trail (4.5 mile loop) – Fair amount of single track in addition to a little gravel road. Done in about 43 mins at a moderately fast pace.
- Blue Diamond trail (6.7 miles) – Predominantly gravel road (nice option if the trails are super muddy). Takes about 1.5 hours at a slow pace.
Fair Hill Parking Lot #1 (aka Orange Trail Parking Lot 4646-4684 Telegraph Road, Elkton)
- Located on Rte. 273 directly across the road from where the Cecil County Fair takes place each year. The Orange trail is about 5.3 miles long. The first couple miles are annoyingly rocky and then it gets better after that. It has some uphills and downhills as it winds toward and back from the river, and beautiful single track through the woods. It includes a few field crossings, a duck crossing, and a Covered Bridge sighting. Done in 1.5 hours at a slow pace.
- You can combine the Orange and Green trails for a longer run.
Fair Hill South Appleton Parking Area (1987 Appleton Road, Parking Lot #5)
- This is one of my favorite trail runs in all of Fair Hill. There are 2 distance options. The shorter run will be the actual Yellow trail which is a beautiful 3.1 mile mostly single track through the woods. Done in about 45 mins at a slow pace.
- For those wanting a longer run, combine the Yellow and Red Trails for a total distance of about 6.5 miles (about 1 hour 35 mins).
- Blue diamond trail – It is the longest of the Fair Hill marked trails at 6.7 miles and is specifically designed for use when the single track trails are muddy. It is quite easy to run a shorter distance as an out and back if you want to. This trail has a really nice section that runs right along the creek for about a mile or so also. Done in about 1.5 hours at a slow pace. Can easily make this a 10 miler by tacking on an extra loop on the road about midway through. This will extend the run to 2:07 hours.
Fair Hill Covered Bridge Parking Area (Parking Lot #2 at 793 Tawes Drive, Elkton)
- Run the inner orange trail (4 challenging, but beautiful miles)
- Or for those with a little more energy run the blue diamond (6.7 miles).
Fair Hill Parking Lot #4, 483 Gallaher Road, Elkton
- Red Trail (2.5 mile loop) – This trail is just about completely shaded, which makes it ideal for those hot and sunny days. 2 creek crossings. First half is mostly downhill, and second half has some gentle uphills. A few soft, muddy sections after recent rain. For those wanting to run longer you can do some side trails and add a couple of miles. Ideal for VFFs! Took 35 mins at a slow pace.
From the Gore CH Plant – Total distance will be 5.8 miles. Turn left out of the CH parking lot and run up to Big Elk Chapel Road on the right. Once on Big Elk Chapel, proceed about 3/10 of a mile down the hill to the trail access. Enjoy about 3.3 miles of beautiful single track trail (including the Fair Hill Red Trail) and then head back to the CH plant. About 2.5 miles will be on the road (getting to and from the trail) and about 3.3 miles of great trail running. Some challenging hills, but also some nice flat areas as well.
White Clay Creek Trails
An entire trail system that is probably the most famous in Delaware. You have to pay to park at all the trailheads.
- Whitley Farms (3.3 mile loop). Park at Nine Foot Road Parking Lot.
- Bryans Field Trail. Park at Nine Foot Road Parking Lot. Done in 45 minutes at an easy pace.
- Combine Whitley and Bryan for a 1:13 run.
- David English – Park at Thompson Station Road.
- Chestnut Hill Trail (3.4 mi loop). Park at Judge Morris Estate – This is my go-to trail for a quick and easy run. Despite the name, it is pretty flat. Ideal for VFFs! Done in 55 minutes at an easy pace.
- Twin Valley Trail (3.9 mi loop). Park at Carpenter Recreation Center.
- Tri-State Marker Trail – A pedestrian-only trail. Park at the Nature Center.
Middle Run Trails – Another huge trail system in Delaware. It is popular to connect White Clay and Middle Run together for ultra long runs. A bit more rugged than the White Clay trails. The advantage is free parking!
Lum’s Pond trails
Huge park with 2 trails. You have to pay for entrance into park. Various parking lots throughout.
- The outer trail is longer and less technical.
- The inner trail is shorter but more technical. Both are flat and easy.
Carousel Park – The Carousel Loop is about 3.1 miles. It’s a mix of gravel, light trail, and pavement with some ups and downs. Done in 35 minutes at a fast pace. Many options to shorten the distance. Various parking lots throughout.
Penndel trail – It’s an easy trail that’s not very technical.
Darlington Trail – Please disregard the detour off the trail onto Rocky Run. Got lost.
James F Hall Trail (2 mile point-to-point) – Park at West Park Place Elementary School. Wonderfully lit path. Can connect to Newark and Pomeroy Trail to extend mileage. Runs along railroad, so passing trains can be loud at times.
Newark and Pomeroy Trail – Nice long trail that is relatively flat and great for intervals. I like to park in Newark Shopping Center near Empowered Yoga and the Enterprise Rental Car stores, and pickup the trail from there. You can take it north (find the trail next to Enterprise) to Creek Road, or you can take it south (find the trail next to Trek bike store) until it meets up with the James F Hall Trail.
Creek Road – This is technically not a trail but a public road, however there are tons of runners on it, and very few cars. It’s flat so perfect for intervals, and it parallels the White Clay Creek. It is paved all the way north to Wedgewood Road. This is a long connector between the Newark and Pomeroy Trail (paved) and the White Clay Creek trails (rugged). Creek Road is also used for many local 5k runs. I like to park in Curtis Mill Park.
Glasgow Park – One of my favorite places to run, as it’s a relatively long loop and flat enough to do intervals here plus one hill for hill repeats if so desired. Each quarter mile is marked as well. Option to leave the pavement and hit some trails as well. Multiple parking lots in here. This park is used for some local 5k races too.
Newark Reservoir – One long hill to get to the top, but once you’re up there it’s flat and pretty as it circles the reservoir. Each quarter mile is marked. Option to leave the pavement and hit some trails as well. Parking lot at bottom of reservoir.
Old New Castle – 3.6 mile round trip out and back along the Delaware River. Completely flat. Start at Battery Park. Street parking. Come here at sunset, it’s gorgeous!
The JAM – Delaware’s newest and most exciting addition. The Jack A Markell trail starts at Battery Park and ends at the Riverfront. It’s a 16.4 mile round trip. Great for long, flat runs.
Lewden Greene Park – Approximately 4-mile out and back. Take the trail west as far as you can go, then turn around and take the trail east as far as you can go. So I’ll be honest, this park is a bit sketchy, so highly recommend you run during daylight hours. There is graffiti and vandalism in some parts, however, it is still a nice trail that runs along the Christina River, and goes underneath highways, so that is cool to see. It backs to many homes so I believe mostly residents use this trail, and I do see people on it. I have run here in dusk hours and I was fine, just need to be vigilant of your surroundings. There is a tiny parking lot off 273, but it doesn’t often get filled with cars, so you will definitely find space here. Lock your doors and hide valuables.
Mike Castle trail – Out and back along the canal. I do lots of speedwork here.
Delcastle Recreational Park – Popular spot for runners, one of my go-tos. Nice and flat, can get some interval work done here. You could also extend your run and go through neighborhoods, which covers part of some 5k courses. I like to park near the tennis courts.
Bel Air High School Track – This is open to the public. Restrooms inside the school. Parking right by the track.
UD Track – I park by the UDairy Creamery and walk over.