Today Trap Pond State Park in Delaware is the northernmost natural stand of baldcypress trees in the United States.
Located in Sussex County, about an hour’s drive from the capital city, Dover, it’s not just one of Delaware’s first state parks – the first park to welcome visitors in the state.
A good portion of the county used to be covered in freshwater wetlands and today the park still holds so much of that beauty for you to enjoy.
Trap Pond State Park Attractions
The park is very popular both for locals and visitors, especially during the summer season, and for good reason.
As one of the state of Delaware’s original state parks, this is a great place for a day trip as there is plenty to do whether you want to stay active or just come and relax.
While we’ll dive into some of the details on what to expect for the variety of recreational opportunities here, including:
- A nature center
- Pontoon boat tours
- Boat rentals
- Self-guided Nature trail (with beautiful wooded areas and streams)
- Athletic fields
- Volleyball courts
- Horseshoe pits
- Fire rings
- Picnic area
- Disc golf
A Brief History of the Area
In the late 1700s, this Delaware State Park was an industrial logging pond. The Civilian Conservation Corps designated this area for recreational use, as the pond here was privately owned up until 1951.
It was then, Trap Pond became Delaware’s first state park.
Previously, the park was the site of a large freshwater wetland area and now it is home to acres of land full of baldcypress trees.
The Baldcypress Nature Center is a gorgeous place to visit with its own indoor waterfall and a 500-gallon aquarium.
The aquarium showcases a variety of fish like bluegill, largemouth bass, and catfish that are found in Trap Pond State Park.
The tank also houses various plants and aquatic life, including:
- And snails
The nature center also offers hands-on activities designed to engage the curiosity of young explorers.
From tactile exhibits to interactive educational videos, children can touch, feel, and learn about the wonders of southern woodlands in a playful environment.
Pontoon Boat Tours
Led by knowledgeable park staff, these tours offer a great way to immerse yourself in the natural attractions of Trap Pond State Park.
During the tour, you’ll have the chance to explore the cypress swamp and tour the pond. Keep your eyes peeled for an array of wildlife along the way.
Besides just the beautiful bald cypress tress, some of the wildlife you may be able to spot includes:
- Water snakes
Across the lake from the campground is a boathouse, playground and Nature Center.
You can boat across or drive around to access these points of interest, which vary depending on the time of year.
The boathouse offers boats, kayaks, canoe rentals daily during the summer and on weekends through October 30th at very reasonable prices:
- Stand-up Paddle Boards $16/hour
- Single Kayaks $10/hour
- Double Kayaks $12/hour
- Canoes $9/hour
- Rowboats $8/hour
- Pedal Boats $11/hour
- Hour-long pontoon tours of the lake are also available for $8 per person ($4 for children 12 and under) or $65 per group.
Paddling on Trap Pond is easy and as you go further from the boathouse end of the lake you come upon more stands of Bald Cypress trees.
You can paddle directly through a few “forests of trees” which my kids loved.
The water is very shallow and murky as you wind through the trees. The highlight of paddling at this park though is the Terrapin Trail.
This water trail winds through a heavily forested area with lots of twists, turns and narrow passageways. The trail was shady, cool and amazingly free of mosquitoes.
Did You Know? The James Branch Nature Preserve is the largest of the 27 Nature Preserves in Delaware and sits between Trap Pond State Park and Laurel, Delaware.
The beginning of the trail was marked with one small sign so it can be easy to miss but once you are on the trail arrows will guide you from bend to bend.
This trail was the high point of our time at Trap Pond and should not be missed.
There is also a boat launching ramp which is suitable for small motorized boats.
Another popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing is Trussum Pond, a small pond located about 1.5 miles from Trap Pond State Park.
The park has 12 miles of trails available.
Bob Trail is the park’s most popular biking trail. It’s a 4.6-mile loop that takes you through the beautiful woods and around the serene pond.
With relatively flat terrain, this is a good choice for beginners and families.
The best thing is that the bikes are free, you just need to sign them in and out at the park office.
The kids (okay, and the adults too!) love walking along and playing in the streams. The park has a number of tidal streams.
We love taking the natural trail that goes through the hardwood forests right next to a tidal stream.
- Island Trail: This trail leads you across a fun bridge to an island, where you can enjoy the serenity of nature and perhaps spot some wildlife along the way.
- Cypress Point Trail: is a quick a 0.5-mile trail by the pond with great views of the northernmost Baldcypress swamp. This one is easy for everyone.
You’ll find everything from thrilling slides to classic swings, a challenging climbing structure, and even a sandbox for those who enjoy digging and building.
READ NEXT: 7 Best Indoor Water Parks Near Delaware
The playground is open from dawn to dusk, allowing your little ones to make the most of their outdoor playtime and burn off some energy.
Between the nature center and the boat rentals is a nice picnic area with plenty of picnic tables scattered around.
Situated near the day-use area and the playground, the main picnic area boasts an impressive 100 picnic tables, ensuring that there’s plenty of space for everyone.
You won’t have to worry about bringing your own grill either, as there’s a large charcoal grill available for use.
There’s no need to rush and secure a reservation here; picnic tables are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
When it comes to refreshments, you have some flexibility. You’re welcome to bring alcohol in cans or bottles, but remember that keg beer is not allowed.
Did you know? The federal government purchased Trap Pond and the land around to have it developed for recreation.
Safety is a priority, so please ensure that your furry friends are leashed and that the leash doesn’t exceed 6 feet.
Known as Delaware’s toughest course, it promises a thrilling experience for disc golf enthusiasts of all skill levels.
The disc golf course takes you through woods, offering both open fairways and challenging rough terrain.
With a total length of 6,695 feet, the holes range from under 300 feet to over 400 feet in length.
To enjoy a round of disc golf at Trap Pond State Park, simply head to the gate house and pay the entrance fee.
Trap Pond State Park is the perfect place to see a variety of beautiful birds that you can appreciate whether you are a birder or not.
With over 200 bird species and a bird blind near the Cypress Point Trail, it’s perfect for bird watchers.
Did you know? Trap Pond State Park is a great place to spot the elusive Pileated Woodpecker
It’s not uncommon to see birds like:
- Great blue heron
- Bald eagles
- Pileated woodpeckers
- And more
Bring binoculars and a field guide to enjoy the vibrant avian life. You can also download their birding checklist to track the birds you see.
Horseback riding is permitted in Trap Pond State Park. With approximately 4 miles of scenic paths, you and your horse can explore the park’s diverse landscape while enjoying a unique adventure.
There are 5 dedicated equestrian trails within the park.
Remember to bring plenty of water for yourself and your horse to stay hydrated, especially in warm weather.
Camping at Trap Pond
We found the campground at Trap Pond to have amazing water access if you have your own canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board to bring with you.
Each of the 5 loops of the campground has their own dock for launching non-motorized watercraft.
Cabins, yurts and “island camping sites” at the park all have access to the water directly from their sites.
There is a wide variety of sites for camping and they even have walk-in tent sites surrounded by tall loblolly pines.
Trap Pond has 5 loops of camping sites as well as waterfront cabins and yurts. The cabins have heat and air conditioning but do not have private bathrooms.
All campsites share one main bath house which has flush toilets and showers.
One loop of the campground is for walking in tent sites. These wooded sites have a lot of privacy but are far from the bathhouse.
The prize sites for tents at Trap Pond are those listed as “Island Sites”.
Camping at Trap Pond is available year round at all of the campground sites and in the heated cabins.
We had a great family adventure at Trap Pond. We are looking forward to returning next year and hope to reserve a waterfront campsite or cabin for great water views and access on our next visit.
Hours & When to Go
The park is open all seasons from 8am to dusk.
The Nature Center is open:
Monday through Thursday from 8am to 4pm
Friday & Saturday from 8am to 9pm
Sundays from 8am to 6pm
You need to pay an entrance fee to the park before you park your vehicle. The entrance fee is $4 per in-state vehicle or $8 per out-of-state vehicle.
Good to Know Before You Go
- Pets are not allowed in yurts or cabins
- All sites can be reserved online through Reserve America
- Yurts are available for rent through October 31st
- The campground at Trap Pond has a well stocked camp store where you can buy ice, wood, toiletry and food items. The park is also just a short drive from Route 13 with many options for food and supplies nearby.
Getting There & Parking
Trap Pond State Park is located at 33587 Bald Cypress Ln, Laurel, DE 19956.
Trap Pond State Park has 5 parking areas:
- Main Parking Area
- Cypress Point Picnic Area
- Area 4 Picnic Area
- Boathouse Parking Area
- Baldcypress Nature Center Parking Area
The parking areas can get crowded, especially during the summer months, so I recommend reserving a parking spot online or by phone if you plan to visit on weekends or holidays.
Or just try and arrive early to find a spot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim at Trap Pond State Park?
It is not recommended to go swimming at Trap Pond State Park. There are also no lifeguards on duty.
What is the closest beach to Trap Pond State Park?
The two Delaware beaches closest to Trap Pond State Park are Bethany Beach, which is only a 45-minute drive away, Rehoboth Beach, which is about 50-55 minutes away and North Beach Maryland is a 2-hour drive.