Location: White Clay Creek State Park, Newark, Delaware
Season Visited: Spring
Trail Length: David English Trail is 2.4 miles long. If you make it a shorter loop from the park office by taking the Twin Ponds Cut-Off Trail, I estimate the hike to be about 1.6 miles. The cut-off trail itself is 0.4 miles. You can see the layout of the trail (and other trails in the park) on this map.
Time to Hike: Hiking the full David English Trail took us about 2 hours, going at a toddler's pace some of the way. Doing the short loop via the cut-off trail when said toddler was a small baby took us 1.5 hours.
Difficulty Level: Moderately easy.
I have written before about trails in White Clay Creek State Park. This post is actually two posts in one, as I have hiked this trail twice now. The first time was in May 2017 when my son was three months old. The first part of this post and the accompanying pictures are from that hike. The goal that day was to hike the entire David English Trail, but the baby was not having it and we ended up taking the cut-off trail to make a shorter loop back to our car. The second time was a couple of weeks ago, the beginning of April, with a much more adventurous 14-month-old! This park is close and pretty and has easy hikes - perfect for a new mom or families with young children. The David English Trail in particular is a good choice because you can decide at the halfway point whether you want the hike to be short or a bit longer depending on how your family is feeling. Be warned: on a warm April day you will have to get out of the way of a LOT of bikers.
Both times, in addition to my son, I went with my husband and sister to the hike, which starts at a trailhead at the following coordinates, near a park office:
As you can see on the map, the trail has three different ways you can go almost immediately. We decided to go left here. This put us directly on the David English Trail, walking on relatively level ground. Going right would also have put us on the David English Trail, but there looked to be an incline, and we decided to go easy on ourselves since this was only my second-ever hike with the baby back in 2017. What followed was a mostly flat dirt trail.
With the newest addition!
My sister is obviously highly enjoying her quality time with nature.
Further on we came to a bench, where I fed the baby and let him chill out of the carrier for a while. At the time I was experiencing quite a bit of difficulty hiking with him because he did not like the carrier under most circumstances. Now that he can sit in a backpack - or walk - he has taken to hiking with joy.
It was only a year ago, but he looks so much smaller than he does now, as you will see!
Here you can see how the trail looks in April from our most recent trip:
There is much less foliage in April. This is the trail just past the parking lot.
Past the bench the trail opens up, coming to a sweet little pond filled with turtles, and where we spotted many small birds. Both times I've been to this pond I've seen eastern bluebirds. After the pond, the trail meanders back into the woods. Near the end it becomes a bit more steep, and you do have to put in a bit of effort, especially if carrying a toddler on your back. It's never difficult, however. In season you can see a lovely magnolia tree blooming near the park office before returning to the parking lot. These pictures are from the April 2018 trip.
My sister and dog.
Baby boy loves hanging out in the Osprey carrier.
I was very happy to be able to complete the trail this time around. A successful hike with my son has definitely renewed my confidence as I begin to hike more often with him. I can't wait to share more of our adventures with you.