April 9, 2020
By: Katherine Evers, Assistant Superintendent at White Clay Creek State Park
White Clay Creek State Park has over 3,600 acres of preserved forest stretching across the valleys and rolling hills of Newark and Pike Creek. White Clay is known for its award-winning trails and features connections to Papermill Park, Redd Park, Middle Run, and Pennsylvania trails. Trail users enjoy over 37 miles of trails – 27 of which allow mountain bike use. These trails lead thrill-seekers past historic monuments and ruins along the winding White Clay Creek, through scenic landscapes including lush valleys, open fields, and impressive rock outcrops. Mountain bikers of all skills can find trails to challenge themselves as difficulty ranges from easy to more moderate. Check out these trails on your next biking adventure at White Clay Creek State Park!
This 2.2 -mile loop is a single-track, packed-earth trail running through fields and winding through mature hardwood forests. On this trail, you can test your balance on the Skills Course or take the Post Mark Trail cut-off to see the “Post Marked West.” This monument (erected 1952) commemorates the point for the Mason-Dixon survey 200 miles westward. The trailhead is located by the Possum Hill Parking Area at Smith Mill Road. Connector trails from Bryan’s Field link to Whitely Farms and the Tri-Valley Trail at 3 separate points along the loop: Thompson Station Road end, Nine-Foot Road, and Smith Mill. There is a connector off Bryan’s Field, which crosses Paper Mill Road to link with Middle Run’s Lenape Trail as well.
This 3.3-mile loop is a single-track with packed earth surface. It rambles through a towering mature forest in the hills behind the Judge Morris Estate. Prepare to traverse roots and rocks along the way as you wind uphill and have close encounters with the creek along the valley. The main trailhead access is past the bathrooms at the Judge Morris parking lot. From this access, you can route through Field Spur (0.3 miles) which also links to the main trail. Two connector trails tie into Chestnut Hill off Upper Pike Creek and Old Coach Road. Use caution while crossing the road.
This 2.4-mile single-track loop trail passes through hardwood forests and fields over a packed earth surface. Riders enjoy challenging hill climbs and swift downhills along the trail. Twin Ponds Cut-off trail is located at the approximate midpoint along the loop offers a downhill descent returning to the trailhead. Stay on the clockwise loop to conquer the downhill single track, which bobs through the forested valley with trees closely lining the way. You may even be able to spot one of three farmstead ruins from the 1800s along the route. Connectors link this trail to Wendel Cassel (which leads North to PA) and Whitely Farms Tail (upon crossing Pleasant Hill Road). The trailhead is located by the Park Office parking lot.
This 2.8-mile trail was once a car access road, but now primarily serves as a multiuse trail. This wide gravel stretch can be suitable for riding in wet weather conditions. The PennDel begins in connection with the Pomeroy Trail just a few miles North of the UD campus. It follows the west side of the creek and provides scenic views of the rushing water all along the way. It crosses through the Wedgewood parking lot, where you’ll find a path to stunning views from the iconic Shirley Russel bridge and a connection to the Pomeroy Trail on the other side. The PennDel runs north across Hopkins Road and beyond the Nature Center connecting to PA. Take caution, as parts of this trail are opened for vehicles seasonally for trout fishing access.
This 4.5-mile trail connects Downtown Newark to the heart of White Clay Creek State Park. It begins at the James F. Hall Trail and runs through Newark – with a connector to the Pencader Trail before crossing into White Clay Creek State Park. Historically, it follows the parts of the Pomeroy and Newark Railroad that once cut through our valleys. It runs on the east side of the creek, parallel to the PennDel Trail. The trail has a wide, packed earth path that passes through some marshy wetlands with incredibly scenic views of the creek all along the way to its culmination at Hopkins Rd.
The Tri-Valley Trail runs 4.5-miles in total length and connects several areas: Judge Morris Estate, Middle Run County trails, and Possum Hill. The portion connecting Judge Morris to Middle Run is a packed-earth single track that runs across Middle Run along Snow Goose and the Lenape Trails. On the other side of Middle Run, the trail crosses Papermill Road and links to the Possum Hill area. The trail on this side is paved and runs north through a mile of a wooded landscape on small rolling hills which pass several ruins, Donut Pond, and the Eastburn Barn (circa the 1800s). The other phase that continues down Smith Mill Road past the Nine-Foot Road area is also paved and runs by old barns through open fields. Use caution when crossing Polly Drummond Road and Paper Mill Road.
Follow this 1.4-mile single-track trail through winding forests, across open fields and under majestic Osage orange groves on a scenic 200 ft. elevation climb or descent from the top at Corner Ketch Road. This trail connects to David English as well.
The Whitely Farms loop is 3.5 miles in length and has both crushed stones and packed earth portions of trail. Follow the loop clockwise to experience the new re-route of crushed stone, which weaves downhill to a sweet berm on the final left turn before rejoining the original trail. Here, the route returns to packed earth and leads to a connector with David English. There is a cut-off around the midpoint of Whitely. It is a wide gravel path that once served as car access but is now strictly a multiuse trail. The single-track trail loop passes through dense forest and open fields, returning to rocky gravel up to and just beyond the Bryan’s field connector. It shares a segment with the Tri-Valley Trail along Nine-Foot Road as well. The trailhead is the back of the Nine-Foot Road parking lot.