A Journey to Delaware’s Trap Pond State Park

Trap Pond State Park Bold Cypress

Trap Pond State Park offers Wonderful Fall Camping, Hiking, and Water Sport Recreation

Fall weather, cool and crisp, provides the perfect conditions for exploring and enjoying the mixed hardwood and conifer forest of Trap Pond State Park. This Sussex County jewel located in the First State of Delaware provides an abundance of day use and camping opportunities.

Rich in History

The Trap Pond region, prior to European settlement, was an extensive wetland covering southwestern Sussex County. The park and surrounding abandoned mill ponds are home to the most northern naturally occurring stand of Bald cypress trees in the United States. These ancient deciduous conifers are admirably adapted to wetland environments including growing in shallow water.

Trap Pond has a complex and fascinating history. Its ancient wetland forests were a valuable lumber resource for settlers. Starting in the late 1700’s the abundant stands of cypress and other wood species were extensively harvested. Tree cutting significantly altered the wetland morphology and in combination with area drainage the landscape was altered.

With the construction of a small dam to collect watershed flow a shallow pond was created. The water from the pond was channeled to power a no longer existent sawmill. Once timbering exhausted the forest the cleared land was converted to agriculture. To increase crop production area farmers continued the practice of de-watering the land directing drainage to the existing mill pond increasing its size.

Trap Pond State Park Established as Delaware’s First State Park

The federal Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s listed Trap Pond as a recreation facility. On June 22, 1951, the Delaware state legislator took ownership of the land and established Delaware’s first state park. A wonderful display of the parks past is the 1800’s Methodist church and cemetery located at its eastern edge. 

Trap Pond State Park Methodist Church
Historic Methodist Church at Trap Pond

A Rare Experience Amongst the Cypress Trees

Kayaking through Trap Pond State Park cypress trees is time traveling back to prehistoric times; especially, while the lily pads canvas the water’s surface. A particularly unique feature of Cypress trees is their offshoots referred to as a “knee”. These structures only occur in one other species of conifer. The exact purpose of a knee is unclear, but botanists believe knees provide structural support to the parent tree. In addition, knees may provide a backup food source for trees whose base is exposed to constant water submersion. A known fact is the knee is not a new child shoot of the parent tree. Water based Cypress trees produce larger sizes and an increased number of knees.

Shoreline Bald Cypress with Knees

At Trap Pond State Park Natural Diversity Abounds

The diversity of native trees of Delaware is well represented in Trap Pond State Park 3,653-acres. With 28 tree species found within Delaware’s borders it’s easy to spot the most common trees including American Holy (the state tree), oak, birch, maple, Yellow and Loblolly Pines. As fall colors arrive the transition to nature’s display of red, yellow, and orange leaves is beautiful; especially, in combination with their reflection in Trap Pond’s waters.

The forest tree tops, sub-canopy, and pond waters attract a variety of birds including great blue herons, owls, pileated woodpeckers, osprey, and seasonal visitors such as hummingbirds and bald eagles. An abundance of reptiles and amphibians are present in the woods and around the tree lined water’s edge. To fisherman’s delight several species of fish including bass, crappie and blue gill are also present.

Camp, Hike, Bike, Horseback ride, Paddle and more.

Trap Pond State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities. Twelve miles of intersecting trails and 9-miles of shoreline surrounding the 90-acre pond, including the wilderness canoe trail, provide enjoyment throughout the year. Tent and RV camping sites are plentiful. A total of 142 sites are available with 130 sites catering to “glamping” with electric and water hookups. While hanging out by the campfire you can enjoy the flicker of solar lights or go for a nighttime stroll while wearing a Dual Light Headlamp NSP-4610 or carrying your rechargeable Shake Light 40B flashlight.

Ten walk-in tent sites, eight cabins, and two yurts are also available. In addition, two primitive areas provide camping for scout troops and youth group camping is available along the water’s edge. Recently renovated heated restroom facilities with showers are conveniently located throughout the four camping loops.

Come for the Day and Enjoy!

For day use patrons, Trap Pond State Park offers a large picnic area that includes a pavilion and boat rental facility. The picnic area supports playing volleyball, horseshoes, and cornhole. Soccer, baseball, and softball fields are present a short distance from the picnic area. Accessed from the entrance where the camp store is located is a challenging 18-hole Frisbee golf course.

About EcoCentricNow (ECN)

Enjoying nature is essential to EcoCentricNow associates and their families. The beauty of the outdoor world and its preservation inspires us to select products that contribute to environmental stewardship. Our love of nature motivates us to venture outdoors, appreciate the natural world we’re blessed to have locally and nationally available, and test the assortment of quality handheld flashlights and lanterns we offer on our website.

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