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The Prickly Pear Trail is a 3.5-mile loop in Delaware Seashore State Park’s Fresh Pond area. The trail runs through young forest and open meadows, with the eastern stretch featuring a crushed stone surface and the western a more challenging sand base. At the trail’s northern end, trail users are treated to views of Beach Cove, an inlet of Indian River Bay.
A paved connector trail to the north provides direct access to State Route 1, while to the south the Fred Hudson Road Trail follows the road to its intersection with Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.
Note that this trail is closed during hunting season. See the DNREC website for hunting season dates and locations, and keep an eye out for signs at the park.
Parking for the Prickly Pear Trail is available at the trailhead on Hickman Road in Ocean View, just east of Cedar Neck Road.
I’m staying in a beach house in a community across from the park entrance on the Coastal Highway. The written review is accurate. Nothing challenging, entirely flat. I’d say about 90% of the entire loop is in shade under the trees’ canopy. Walkers and bikers, but not crowded on a week-day mid-afternoon. Fun diversion from the beach. Four stars because it goes by fast on a bike passing mostly light forest, with one water view. Did two loops. Peaceful and pretty…
Tranquility at it’s finest! Love having this trail so close to home for the dogs too.
Visited at the end of December and it was a great trail to do with kids ages 11, 8, and 5. Plenty to explore and nicely maintained, flat trail. Plenty of trees offer some protection from the wind.
Well kept, wide trail on level ground; it was a great walk. Some bike riders went by with plenty of room to spare. The air smelled fresh and clean. We walked all of the trails in the park in one outing. We will return in all seasons. And it was quiet. We could hear Rte 1 from time to time; but it was not intrusive.
Peaceful forested ride out to a point overlooking the bay where you will encounter a horseshoe crab “graveyard” due to tidal conditions. Easy path conditions for our kids (11 & 7).
Love how peaceful and serene this location is perfect for a walk/run or bike ride. Has wooded areas, water views, and open fields.
My family of four with two young boys (7 & 8 years old) completed trail and we all really enjoyed it. Lots of covered portions and a large portion had crushed rock
Why I haven't ventured onto this beautiful and peaceful trail before now is beyond me. I rode my trail bike and I could have spent a few hours exploring this trail and the numerous offshoots. There is something here for all users. And as a reminder to all cyclists, this is a recreational trail with limited visibilty on turns, so mind your speed. Really enjoyed the sections of single track. Hope to return again on my next trip to Bethany.
We started this trail on the Fred Hudson Trail at the corner of Central Avenue and Fred Hudson Road just west of Bethany Beach. There is a nice paved path (8'-10' wide) separate from the roadway along Fred Hudson Road. At McCoy's Way, the path crosses the roadway (nice marked Crosswalk) and enters into the woods on a small bridge. The little sign "Authorized Vehicles Only" is deceiving, but this is the trail and about 10 yards into the woods there is the information board with maps and info!
The trail is elevated above water level and then takes you into a dense pine forest with a packed sand trail cushioned by pine needles. Perfect surface for MTB and Hybrids. The trail winds through the woods and the surface changes to crushed cinders and gets wider. It meets with the Prickly Pear trail after about a mile at the Hickham Road Trailhead.
The Prickly Pear Trail is a oval 3.5 mile loop with one side of the loop a packed cinder trail about 10 feet wide, through a shady pine forest. At the north end there is a connector trail to Rt. 1 just south of Ocean Ridge. The return leg is a packed sand dual track trail through open meadows and forest.
Now all that is needed is a bike lane along Central Avenue for the short distance between the Assawomen Canal Trail and the Fred Hudson Trail!
Really nice small trail. No picnic or restroom facilities. Can access other trails from this one. Most enjoyable.
Agree with the previous reviewer -- and thank you for the note about the recycling bins/station -- the access point is otherwise not so easy to see if you are biking north on 1!
There are appealing walking paths branching out from the bike trail, but we were not dressed appropriately for exploring them. Bugs started to get aggressive around 8:30 a.m., so bring spray or wear long sleeves/pants. Although the trail is very, very flat and pretty short, I wouldn't recommend it for children unless they are very secure riders: the surface is too unstable (gravel/rock/sand). On my hybrid bike I was okay, but almost wiped out once, and had to ride very carefully on the access road, which is paved with deep gravel and small rocks. I would not try this trail on a road bike! These caveats aside, it sure beats just riding up and down Rte. 1 or through the residential developments! Many pretty views. We saw osprey, vultures, and yes, prickly pears.
I did this trail with my daughter yesterday. Accessed it by turning west off of DE Rt 1 opposite Heron Rd near Bethany Beaach (it looks like there are just recycling bins there but you can continue down gravel rd to trail head). Did a loop on the straight gravel Prickly Pear, and then returning on the other windy Prickly Pear through the sand (maybe 3 1/2 miles total). Latter was a little sandy in parts but no problem for a mountain bike. A nice, shaded ride, at times with views of the bay, wonderful salty ocean breeze mixed with pine. Definitely worth a visit unless you are looking for a real work-out, as the trail is not that long.
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