Trap Pond State Park in Delaware may not be on everyone’s list of places to visit, but those who love nature will certainly find it very attractive. The park features the northernmost natural stand of bald cypress trees on the East Coast, flourishing in the swamp’s wetland. Boating around these magical trees is a must activity, but you can also enjoy hiking, picnicking, or simply taking in the sounds and scenes of nature. Many travelers come for extended visits and take advantage of the park’s beautiful campground. In this post, you will learn all you need to know about visiting this one of a kind area.
TRAP POND STATE PARK, DELAWARE – PLAN YOUR VISIT
Usually, I do my own research on places to visit, but Trap Pond State Park triggered my interest when a friend posted her pictures on Facebook from her camping trip there. I immediately knew that it was a special place, and soon after, I followed her tracks, and I am so happy I did!
In Trap Pond State Park, the beauty doubles!
Trap Pond State Park Location
GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
Phone: (302) 875-5153
Trap Pond State Park Campground Address: 15702 Goosenest Road
Laurel, DE 19956
Why is Trap Pond Special
As one of Delaware’s first state parks, encompassing 3653 acres – including Trap Pond and Raccoon Pond, the park is one of the oldest surviving pieces of a wetland that used to cover the area. It retains a part of the swamp’s original beauty and mystery and features the northernmost natural stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.
Located not far from major metropolitan areas and famous Delaware and Virginia beaches, Trap Pond still seems to be away from it all. Put your kayak on the water, and you will feel overtaken by peace and solitude.
Trap Pond State Park – Know Before You Go
The park is beautiful and a paradise for nature lovers, but there are things you should know before making a decision to take a longer trip there.
The park tends to get crowded on weekends, but it is almost empty during the week.
I visited Monday to Friday, and it felt that there was no one there. It looks like most summer visitors come for an extended weekend and check-in late Thursday, then stay until Sunday. If you do not like crowds, avoid weekends.
Swimming is not allowed in the park.
Summers tend to be hot in the area, but do not count on getting a cooling dip. If swimming is top on your to-do list, this park will not meet your needs. There are plans to add a small water park, but nothing is in place yet.
The best camping sites are truly walk-in.
Many tent sites, cabins, and yurts have a beautiful location, but you will need to work out the sweat to get your things there, even though hand carts are provided.
The telephone reception is weak at the park. Only Verizon service seems to work fine. For the internet service drive to The BaldCypress Nature Center.
Camping at Trap Pond State Park
The best way to visit the park is to camp there for a few days. The campground offers beautiful wooded sites, but many of them have privacy issues. Avoid a middle section of the D loop for its open exposure. The best scenic sites are walk-in, which means you will have to transport all your things. The park provides hand carts to help you with that, but it is still a workout.
You will find the best two campsites in the park on the small island facing the pond, marked Island 1 and Island 2. Both are beautiful but getting there is a hike even with the help of the cart. But do not worry too much about their accessibility; reserving these spots is close to impossible.
The next best section of the park is loop E. Do not get fooled by the map. The whole area is closed for vehicles. You will need to park outside the loop and wheel your things in. I stayed at E5, and I liked it a lot. The site is enormous and very private, but at the same time, close to the restrooms, to the pond, and relatively close to the parking.
E3 is also lovely, small distant to carry things, but as not as private as E5. E4 is easily accessible but rather open, so it has privacy issues. All other sites in that area are nice and large but harder to get to and farther away from the water.
The park offers two yurts right on the water for up to 5 people per unit. Pets are not allowed. Yurts have no kitchens or bathrooms. These are walk-in sites (hand carts provided). Each yurt offers electrical outlets and AC!
Five cabins sit right on the water, and three others are a short distance away but in the woods. Again, these units are walk-in. Maximum 4 people are allowed per cabin. No pets are allowed. Cabins have no kitchens or bathrooms. They provide heating and AC.
What to do in Trap Pond State Park
Boating is the number one activity in the park. Paddling among cypress trees is amazing! Rowboats, pedal boats, surf bikes, canoes, and kayaks can be rented during the summer season. A boat launching ramp accommodates small motorized boats for fishing or scenic excursions.
Although boat motors are permitted on Trap Pond, it is a “no-wake” lake.
The pond is attractive at any time of the day, but sunset is magical. Do not aim precisely at the sunset hour, though. Be on the water about two hours before the sunset for the golden light. The trees around the lake obstruct the full sunset, but the light is fabulous.
The most scenic part, full of bald cypresses, can be found at the widest part of the pond. You can easily maneuver there around the trees. If you keep paddling, you will enter the water lilies area that seems not navigable, but that is not the case. Look for inviting narrow channels there going deeper into the woods.
Guided Pontoon boat tour
During the summer, a state park interpreter hosts pontoon boat tours on the pond. We took the tour and enjoyed it a lot. The nature guide was very knowable and showed us the areas that we missed while kayaking by ourselves. Not to take anything away from that excursion, but to truly get the feel of the park, you need to paddle on your own. It is an entirely different and intimate experience.
You can find some large fish at Trap Pond, including pickerel, crappie, and bluegill along with golden shiner and American eel. Delaware fishing license is required to fish at the park.
Bird watching and photography is fantastic at Trap Pond State Park. Many birds flock to stands of bald cypress, among them great blue herons, owls, warblers, and pileated woodpeckers. Birdwatchers can also spot hummingbirds and bald eagles in season.
Trap Pond State Park is a dream for nature photographers. Honestly, you can just paddle around the trees and keep clicking. Sunset is magical at the pond! I am sure that sunrise is too, but I could not get myself out of bed to see it. With the right lens, you can capture shots of beautiful birds and turtles. On the ground, you may have a surprise visit from a local snake!
Visitors will find many opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the wetland forest by exploring the hiking trails surrounding the pond. They provide opportunities for birdwatching and observing native animal species and flowering plants. The primary path in the park is Trap Pond Loop that circles the pond for about 5 miles.
The BaldCypress Nature Center
The Baldcypress Nature Center features a variety of exhibits and programs that will enhance your visit with the well displayed natural and cultural history of the Trap Pond area. The exhibitions include an 18’ replica bald cypress tree, a 500-gallon floor aquarium, and a waterfall with the fish species found at Trap Pond.
The park offers many programs, but they are often not advertised. The best way to find out about current events is by calling nature centers at (302) 875-5153. You may also try the Trap Pond State Park website. Events are listed on the bottom of the page.
The main picnic area at Trap Pond State Park is located by the nature center. Locals visit the park mostly on weekends. On weekdays the area is often almost empty. It is a beautiful spot, so if your campsite is away from the water, you may come here for the views.