Everything You Need to Know About Alapocas Run State Park in Delaware

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Mom and son walking through Alapocas Run State Park in the autumn

Wilmington, Del., is the largest city in the First State, with over 70,000 residents. It was built on the settlement of Kristinehamn, the first Swedish settlement in North America. Today, it’s home to numerous art galleries, museums, gardens, and festivals. But an oasis in the middle of this bustling city is at Alapocas Run State Park, DE. 

Here, you’ll find history, natural beauty, and recreational activities for the whole family. Let’s learn more!

Where Is Alapocas Run State Park? 

Situated on the northern tip of Delaware, Alapocas Run State Park is in Wilmington. Only a few miles south of the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, the state park is easily accessible from Interstate 95, Highway 141, or Highway 202. Brandywine Zoo is only about a five-minute drive south.

About Alapocas Run State Park, DE

From the woodlands to the cliffs to the Blue Ball Barn to the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail, there are many things to see and do at Alapocas Run State Park, DE. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or want a more strenuous bike ride, there’s something for everyone at this state park.

Accessing the State Park

Alapocas Run State Park is easily accessible. If you’re coming from downtown Wilmington, take I-95 North to exit 8 onto Concord Pike. From Concord Pike/US-202, keep right onto DE-261 North. Turn right onto Weldin Road, and the parking lot will be on the right. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from the city.

For families who want to visit the Can-Do Playground, drive to 4360 Weldin Road. The 27,000-square-foot playground, designed to be accessible to every child, is a great place to let the kids burn off some energy. A Storybook Trail winds around the play space.

Delaware residents pay a $4 daily entrance fee, while non-residents pay an $8 fee. Annual passes are also available. The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Alapocas Woods

Take in the sights and sounds of nature as you enjoy a 0.7-mile-long hike through mature woodlands. You’ll forget that you’re in the middle of the largest city in Delaware. As you walk, look for the native pawpaw, shrubs, or small trees that measure anywhere from 6 feet to 39 feet tall. The edible berries have a flavor similar to both banana and mango.

Blue Granite Cliffs

The Blue Granite Cliffs were once used to build the city of Wilmington. No longer quarried, the cliffs consist of blue gneiss, a coarse-grained foliated metamorphic rock. While you observe these massive rock samples, imagine the history of this particular location. 

Blue Ball Barn

The Blue Ball Barn was built in the 1900s as a dairy barn on A.I. DuPont’s Nemours estate. Now it’s a popular event space named after the Blue Ball Tavern that once served travelers. It was also the first public building in Delaware to become a LEED-certified building, meeting stringent environmentally-friendly building design standards.

Besides holding special events, it also houses the Delaware Folk Art Collection and tells the park’s history in story form. Over 120 works from Delaware artists reflect diverse cultural backgrounds.

Northern Delaware Greenway Trail

The Northern Delaware Greenway Trail is a National Recreation Trail that spans over 10 miles. It’s the oldest and longest off-road trail in the First State and links many of Wilmington’s parks and greenways. In the east, it begins at Bellevue State Park, and at its western end, it connects with the Brandywine Creek Path. 

As you ride along the trail, there are numerous historic buildings. That includes the early 1900s Cauffiel House and Estate in Bellevue State Park and the 1850s mansion in Rockwood Park.

What Is There to Do at Alapocas Run State Park, DE? 

Whether you’re looking for a place to exercise or attending an event, Alapocas Run State Park, DE, is a beautiful setting amid a bustling city. You can peruse the art collection in the Blue Ball Barn or hit the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail for miles of biking adventures.

Rock Climbing

Alapocas Run State Park is home to Delaware’s only natural rock-climbing wall. You must complete the rock climbing permit, print out two copies, and sign them in the presence of a state park employee. The permit is free. Rock climbers can enjoy the thrill of accomplishment while building muscle strength and improving agility during their visit to the state park.

Hiking

The Northern Delaware Greenway Trail isn’t only for bikers. You can also hike the trail by starting at Alapocas Run State Park. Other trails run throughout the park as well. The Alapocas Woods Trail connects the athletic fields to the greenway trail. The Upper Reach Trail is a shortcut along the Alapocas Woods Trail, and the PawPaw Loop is an added 0.3-mile trail.

Biking

As already mentioned, bikers enjoy the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail as it travels through historic areas of Wilmington in a beautiful setting. Another biking trail is the Bancroft Trail, which starts at Bancroft Mills across Brandywine Creek. It connects to the greenway trail. There are numerous shared-used pathways for both hikers and bikers in the park and outer boundaries, including around Brandywine Park and the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children.

Events

Renovations have created a multifunctional conference, special event, and gallery space in the two-story Blue Ball Barn. There are meeting rooms, a large banquet room, and a secluded courtyard, making it a popular wedding venue. With a maximum capacity of 250 people, the barn can hold large gatherings for corporate meetings, training, and other events.

Father and son on scooters together in Alapocas Run State Park

How Long Is the Alapocas Trail? 

The Alapocas Woods Trail is only about 0.7 miles of packed earth. This forested trail is good for most hikers but is not handicap accessible. You can add 0.3 miles by walking the Pawpaw Loop. At the end of the Alapocas Woods Trail, it connects with the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail, so you can add even more miles to your hike if desired.

Can You Swim at Alapocas Run State Park? 

There are no ponds or lakes at Alapocas Run State Park, DE. Brandywine Creek runs along the park’s southern border, but it’s not a swimming hole. This state park is mostly used for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Families enjoy spending time at the Can-Do Playground. Visitors can also use athletic fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. An off-leash dog area is also within the park boundaries.

Traveler’s Tip: Go for a swim and Sunbathe At the 5 Best Beaches in Delaware.

Woman reading book in Alapocas Run State Park

Is It Worth Visiting the Alapocas Run State Park, DE?

If you’re visiting the city of Wilmington and want a break from the crowds and traffic, venture over to Alapocas Run State Park, DE. You’ll find serenity among the pawpaw trees and enjoy learning about the area’s history at Blue Ball Barn. You can peacefully stroll one of the trails, give your furry friend a chance to run around freely, and watch the kids smile and laugh on the playground.

Is Alapocas Run State Park going to be a destination on your next trip to the First State?

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