Prickly Pear Trail


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Prickly Pear Trail Facts

States: Delaware
Counties: Sussex
Length: 3.5 miles
Trail end points: Hickman Rd. (Ocean View) and Fresh Pond (Delaware Seashore State Park)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Grass, Sand
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6547352
Trail activities: Bike, Horseback Riding, Walking

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Prickly Pear Trail Description

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 provides direct access to State Route 1, while the Fred Hudson Road Trail follows the road to its intersection with Cedar Neck Road.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Prickly Pear Trail is available at the trailhead on Hickman Road in Ocean View.

Prickly Pear Trail Reviews

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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