Brandywine Creek State Park is a state park located in Wilmington, Delaware. The park was built along the Brandywine Creek as part of an effort to improve the city’s parks following World War II. It opened to the public on June 22, 1952. Brandywine Creek State Park has several miles of trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty. Easy trails such as the 0.5-mile (0.80km) long “Wetland” trail pass through marshy areas where you can see birds and other wildlife. More difficult trails like the 7.2-mile (11.6km) long “Hawk Falls Trail” climb steep hills or go across waterfalls.
There are two main entrances to the park with parking lots providing access at both ends. Entrance #1 is located off of Salford Street near the intersection of Orange Grove Boulevard and provides easy access from I-95. This entrance leads to the Hawk Falls Trail which passes over Brandywine Creek falls before climbing up the side of the creek to the Yellow Marsh Nature Center. Entrance #2 is located off of Kentmere Road behind the DuPont Experimental Station and provides access to the Greenway Trail system. This entrance leads to the Brandywine Gorge Trail which loops around the base of the gorge then heads north towards downtown Wilmington. At the end of this entry point is the Brandywine Creek Greenway Trail which goes east back to the beginning of the route at the DuPont Experimental Station.
In addition to these marked routes there are many unmarked creekside paths connecting various parts of the park. These lesser known pathways provide additional opportunities for exploring the forested landscape. For example, one path leads past Rockford Mill ruins and another leads across Brandywine Creek by way of Stone Bridge. Hunting is permitted during Delaware’s designated hunting seasons in some sections of the park. Hunters are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The park also contains a boat launch for canoeing/kayaking on Brandywine Creek. Canoes may be rented from the concession stand next to the picnic area throughout the year. Fishing is permitted at Brandywine Creek State Park. The park has three separate fishing areas; Upper, Middle, and Lower Brandywine Creek. Access to the upper and lower portions of the creek require a kayak or canoe due to the dam that separates it from the middle portion.
All anglers must have a valid fishing license and follow the rules and regulations of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. During the winter months there is no fishing allowed within the park. Ice fishing is permitted when the ice is thick enough to allow safe access. Visitors needing transportation to and from the park can utilize the park’s free parking lot and nearby bus stop. Approximately half of the park’s campsites are available on a first come first served basis, while the remainder must be reserved. Reservations are accepted online through the
Reservation System of the State Parks website. Unreserved sites are open to visitors without reservations. Campsites range from modern with electric hookups, central air conditioning, bathhouses, playgrounds and recreational fields to rustic tent camping with out buildings, fire rings and picnic tables. Pets are prohibited in all campgrounds. Group camp facilities accommodate 50 people in tents and RVs. Two large group shelters can house 100 people each in comfort stations with showers, flush toilets and hot water. Half of the campsites are available for self-registration on a first-come, first-served basis but the majority must be reserved.
Advance campsite reservation begins at 8:00 pm Eastern Time 3 days prior to the intended date of arrival. After reserving a site, guests should confirm their attendance with the park via email 48 hours before the planned visit. No show fee will be assessed if a guest misses an appointment, sends a cancellation notice too late, or leaves early. If a site is not claimed after waiting list status is determined, it will be released back into the general registration pool. Seasonal Passes & Permits Parking permits are $8 per vehicle per day. Annual passes are also available; annual passes good at any DE State Park or Recreation Area are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state vehicles or $60 for Delaware residents.
A Discover Pass is required whether your vehicle is registered in Delaware or elsewhere. Note: Vehicles with permit plates from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey or New York can only use their permits inside the contiguous states. Stolen car reports should be made to the police. Any unattended cars found parked on the grounds of the park after closing hours will be subject to being towed away and impounded. To help fund a backlog of deferred maintenance and park improvements, the state implemented an entrance fee for this park and 21 others effective June 15, 2020. The fees, charged per vehicle, start at $10 per day for a single-day or $8 for residents with a Delaware license plate or Delaware tribal plate. Fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans and Delaware residents age 62 & older and their spouses.
Passes good for three days or a week are also available; annual passes good at all 22 state parks charging fees are offered at a cost of $75 for out-of-state vehicles or $60 for Delaware residents.
The 22 parks are:
- Brandywine Creek State Park
- Fort Miles State Park
- White Clay Creek State Park
- Lake Marburg State Park
- Biggsville Historic Towne Park
- Cape Henlopen State Park
- Odessa Point State Park
- Bellevue State Park
- Bear Woods State Park
- North Wildwood Preserve State Park
- Fox Point State Park
- Lums Pond State Park
- Millsboro Manor State Park
- Bethany Beach State Park
- Chadds Ford Park
- Dewey Beach State Park
- South Bethany State Park
- Whitaker Island State Park
- Wilmington State Parks
- Wilmington Harbor State Park
- Wrightsville Beach State Park
- Little Assawoman Bay State Park
Many of these locations are part of the Northeastern coastal forests ecoregion. Hawks and heron nests are seen occasionally. Other than humans, the most common animal life-form at the park are the mosquitoes that feed upon the freshwater marshes. Deer flies and horseflies are present during certain times of the year, particularly in the spring and fall. Frogs, turtles and minks live in the wetland areas of the park.
The park offers opportunities for:
- environmental education
Brandywine Creek State Park is home to a variety of wildlife including:
Common game species include:
- white-tailed deer
- wild turkey
- American black bear
- eastern coyote
- red fox
Among the more notable larger animals are:
- river otters