Ashley and I spent the last four years in Newark DE, a small town probably best known as the home of the University of Delaware. Newark’s population was estimated to be around 34,000 in 2015 with total enrollment at the university topping 23,000 in 2016. So as you might imagine, the quirky, not-exactly-quiet town of Newark swells in population as the students return every semester. Sometimes it’s hard to see Newark as anything other than a college town, with streets often teeming with roving bands of undergrads in various states of inebriation. Taking a walk down Main Street on a Friday or Saturday night is often an entertaining (or annoying, depending on your mood at the time) spectacle to behold. Not to mention the craziness of move-in weekend, homecoming, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, any Saturday when the temperature is above 40 degrees…the list continues.
But amidst the rigors of academia during the day and the revels of partying after hours, a kind of hidden, seedier side of Newark lies not far from the bustle of Main Street. I’m talking about nature, of course! One of the biggest surprises we discovered about Newark was the intricate and expansive trail system throughout White Clay Creek State Park and the surrounding area. We lived (and worked) within incredibly convenient access to the Newark and Pomeroy Rail Trail, literally yards away from our door.
The trail system makes it convenient to travel around and out of town on bikes or by foot, and we’d often ignore our car for weeks at a time, opting instead to run errands and get groceries using the trails and sidewalks. Trail riding is popular among the biking crowd in Newark, and many of the trails are mixed-use for hikers, bikers, and even horse-riders. We enjoyed many of our days outside of the pizza shop hopping on our bikes and riding for a few miles before continuing on foot for a quick day-hike. Using the various trail maps available on the Delaware State Parks site in combination with Google Maps enables would-be hikers to plan routes and estimate distances with ease.
So from the top of the reservoir, to the banks of White Clay Creek, to the Arc Corner monument and the Tri-State Marker, and beyond – please enjoy this little taste of the beauty Newark has to offer. We encourage residents and visitors alike to get outside and take advantage of the rich trail system and natural areas surrounding Newark. There’s always time to wander Main Street after the sun goes down.