Hiking and Biking in the Brandywine Valley

Although half of Delaware County is not technically in the Brandywine Valley, it is close enough to claim kinship.  And  most of the trails are close enough to claim kinship.  The good news is many are so close to Hamanassett.  Hiking, biking, and casual walking is a great way to get back to nature and see flora and fauna upclose and personal.  And now is the perfect time to plan your trek.  Although there are dozens of trails, I’ve only listed the ones close to Hamanassett – within 15 minutes.  I have a list of description of the others so when you arrive, by all means ask about them.  This list is thanks to the Delaware County Visitors’ Bureau so  you can go to their  DestinationDelco web site and scroll down to where they have listed the full list.

In Delaware County you will find many segments of the Circuit Trails which are multi-use trails in the state of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.   Should you want to go to other regions, you should know that overall there are more than 320 miles already on the circuit and when the entire project is completed there will be more than 850 miles of trails that are interconnected.  I’ve designated which are just for hiking, which are for hiking and biking, and which are dog friendly.  Read below, choose your circuit,  then choose your room at Hamanassett.  As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans used to sing, “Happy Trails To You.”

Brandywine Museum of Art River Trail  – 6 miles from Hamanassett

Hiking only.  No bikes or dogs.

Flowers, wildlife, and the river await you.

Brandywine River Museum Trail

It doesn’t get much better than this.  You can stroll through the museum where on display are three generations of Wyeths (N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth) as well as rotating exhibits of other painters.  Before or after you visit the museum, follow the trail which is approximately a one mile round trip and takes 20 to 30 minutes walking at an average pace.  There is an observation deck from which you can view wood ducks, Carolina wrens (such a beautiful singing voice),  herons and osprey.  From here you can cross over to visit the John Chads house.  Nearby is the Sanderson museum, the Brandywine Battlefield, and Andrew Wyeth’s Studio.

Chester Creek Trail  – Central Delaware County.  Hiking, Biking, and dog friendly

This trail follows the Chester Creek and takes you along the Civil War era branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  When completed it will take you from the SEPTA Wawa R3 station (near us) to Upland.  The middle portion which is in Middletown and Aston was completed in 2016.  

Crum Woods Trail – Hiking and dog friendly

This is part of the Swarthmore campus (6 miles from us) and is one of the last forested areas of Delaware County.  It has about 3 1/2 miles of hiking trails that extend over 200 acres of land.  Originally the Lenape Indian tribe lived along the banks of the Chester Creek.  Near Scott Arboretum and the village of Swarthmore.

Darlington Trail – Located 1/2 mile from Hamanassett off Darlington Road.  You can walk from here or park in their parking lot.  The trail takes you along Chester Creek, follows an old railroad right of way, and parts of the Darlington Family Diary.   It is approximately 2 – 3/4 miles long with a varied topography including flat and steep terrain.  It links to the Rocky Run Trail with parts on the Wawa Preserve.  Hiking and dog friendly but no biking.

Darlington Walking Trail is 1/2 mile from Hamanassett

Darlington Trail

Ridley Creek State Park – Hiking, Biking, and Dog Friendly

This park consists of 2606 acres and is a ten minute drive from Hamanassett.  You’ll enjoy many activites here including hiking, biking, fishing and picnicing.  Ridley Creek passes through the park.  There is a five mile paved multi-use path, a formal garden designed by the Olmstead Brothers, and the Colonial Plantation, an 18th century farm.  To learn more about the Colonial Plantation click here. There are 12 miles of trails in Ridley Creek State Park  and it is pet friendly.  A portion of the creek is designated catch and release only.  There is a wheel chair accessible platform for fishing.  Nearby is Chanticleer Gardens, only a mile away.

Newlin Grist Mill –  2 miles from Hamanassett.  Hiking, Fishing, Picnics, and dog friendly

Has 7 different trails all of which are designated easy or moderate.  Has a working grist mill to visit.  Offers trout fishing in both pond or stream where you will probably spot Kingfishers and herons.  Stop in their visitor center to get the newest Trail Map brochure.

The park at Newlin Grist Mill

Newlin Grist Mill

Who knew there was so much just a short drive from Hamanassett.