Delaware State Parks · Delaware Trail

Exploring Delaware’s Trails: Assawoman Canal Trail

IMG_5573The other morning as I was watching the local news I heard a few words that made my ears perk right up. Even though an entire segment was dedicated to the ribbon cutting of a new trail all I heard was “Trail”, “Ocean View” and “Open”. These words stuck out to me as my running friends and I are always looking for new and safe places to run that are nearby. This is one thing I love about Delaware- we have all these little hidden gems right at our finger tips that are only getting better! I immediately took to the Internet to try and find out everything and anything about this trail located just a few minutes from my house.

As much as I would like to consider myself “in the know” about most things going on in my community this little project that has been going on for a few years somehow slipped pass my radar- maybe it was the two toddler keeping me busy or the 250+ students at school but either way I completely missed this! Along with the trail the state has worked on creating, they have also dredged the Assawoman Canal which is a narrow waterway connecting to the Indian River Bay.


The Assawoman Canal Trail, as I said before, is located in Ocean View, Delaware right off of the very busy Route 26- which is currently under major construction. Once I knew the trail was officially open I knew I had to go check it out! I tried to do some research on line and determine where the trail heads were, as well as where and how long the trail was. I was successful enough to figure out where the main trail head was (Town Road) and headed right there with the kids/BOB in tow. As we arrived to the trail head I was pleasantly surprised to find a small parking lot, along with bathrooms and an information area.

Parking and Trail head

Currently the trail is only 1 mile long, as this is only phase 1 of 3. By the end of the project the complete trail will be 3.9 miles and connect three towns and multiple neighborhoods! This new trail is going to offer a SAFE route for walkers, bikers and runners while visiting southern Delaware on vacation or locals, like myself looking for a new and beautiful place to run and explore! You can read more in-depth information about the complete plan here: Assawoman Canal Trail Concept Plan

hard gravel

So now for the adventure! Once the kids and I hit the trail we were not sure what to expect. Growing up in Sussex County I knew the trail more than likely backed up to some neighborhoods and sure enough it did. The trail was made up of hard gravel which was perfect for pushing the stroller on or even riding a bike! We started out turning left on the trail towards the Ocean View Marina (Turning right takes you towards Route 26 where phase 1 ends). As soon as we entered the trail we saw a beautiful new bridge!


bridge 2

The trail was very well marked and there was never a question as to where we should go next. Along the trail we saw the mile markers, as well as signs reminding us to stay on the trail.

mile marker

As we walked down the trail we saw a handful of other bikers and some other families utilizing the trail. It was great to see that so many people were already using this brand new trail! The next trail marker we saw was for Osprey Lane. This is another entrance into the trail. This trail-head does not have parking and simply provides access into the trail from a neighborhood off of Central Avenue.

Opsrey Lane Sign

Osprey Lane Trail head
Trail head access from Osprey Lane. This is a view from the residential road looking onto the trail.

Moving on down the trail we reached Central Avenue. This is again another busy road with little to no sidewalk offered for runners, walkers or bikers. The trail has added yield signs to both sides of traffic to stop for pedestrians or bikers crossing to the other side of the trail. We were lucky that traffic was very minimal and crossed without a problem!

Once on the other side of the street we continued for about .4 to the end of the trail. It was pretty obvious to know that the trail had ended as it was marking with the sign shown below.

trail end

Trail end 2

Once we reached the end of the 1 mile trail we turned around to head back to the other end of the trail. Along the way this time we saw some paddle-boarders, some boaters in the canal and a few more bike riders! We were now at our starting point and our markers said the trail extended .1 more towards Route 26. As I mentioned before the trail only has one phase completed. The next phase will prove to be the most difficult as it will have to figure out how to get the trail over the extremely busy route 26 safely! At the end of phase 1 is another information station with a map. You can also see the bridge on Route 26.

End of phase 1

Below is my runkeeper map from our exploration trip. As you can see the trail runs right next to the canal which provides lots to look at along the way!

Runkeeper map

While the trail may be short, it is a beautiful work in progress. Knowing that local and visitors have a new place to explore and will eventually have a 3.9 mile trail with endless possibilities is something that brings a huge smile to my face. Delaware is really stepping up their game and making our little state a better place to stop what you are doing and get outside- they even have a trail challenge! Be sure to check out their website to see all that our small wonder has to offer!

Have you been out to explore one of Delaware’s newest trails? Do you have a favorite place in Delaware to run, walk or bike?

Be sure to read about our previous trail reviews we have covered on our Running Trails and Routes of Delmarva Tab!

7 thoughts on “Exploring Delaware’s Trails: Assawoman Canal Trail

  1. That’s awesome! When I lived in Philly I would drive to Newark to visit my sister at UD and would hike along the Mason Dixon Line which was pretty cool. Hiking and running in Delaware is awesome – everything is so flat! That’s where I set my 5k PR 🙂


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