Edward H. McCabe Preserve
Length: 3 miles total
Great for: Hiking
At least once a week in spring, summer and fall, Milton resident Mark Carter walks the trails of the 143-acre Edward H. McCabe Preserve. Owned and manged by The Nature Conservancy, the property ranges from upland forest to swamp forests to tidal marsh, scrub-shrub wetlands and a new native meadow planted near the trailhead last year. Expect level uplands with river views and hillsides.
Trails start at Round Pole Bridge. From there Carter runs or hikes down to the Broadkill River. “You go through forest all the way down to the river,” he says. The view from the wooded bank seems primordial, a slice of what the area might have looked like long, long ago. “It’s a great trail.” Check to make sure the trails aren’t closed during deer-hunting season.
More hidden gems
The Delaware Seashore State Park is full of little jewels, including the 1-mile Assawoman Canal Trail. Crushed stone is easy on the feet and on bike tires. End or start in the Ocean View Marina.
Local Mark Carter appreciates the hiking-only Burton Island Trail, a 1.5-mile loop over packed and loose sand that winds through a forest and onto raised boardwalks. “You can get good views of the (Indian River) inlet, the bays and the bridge,” he says. The trail can be hot in summer, so bring water. (Stay on the trail to avoid disrupting the nests of diamond terrapins.)
In Ocean View, the Delaware Center for Inland Bays’ 150-acre James Farm has seven trails, named by color, which cover three miles. There are three observation platforms, wildflower gardens, a boardwalk and wetlands where you might see deer, ducks and reptiles.