Last revised: October 26, 2023
By: Adam Burns
Despite the state's small size, Delaware is home to a popular heritage railroad, the Wilmington & Western in Greenbank Park (a suburb of Wilmington). While also a freight carrier they host public excursions throughout the year, some of which are steam powered. They also offer fall foliage train rides during autumn season! More information about these trips can be found further below.
Fall is a magical time of the year when the leaves turn into a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a stunning and breathtaking landscape. Delaware, known as the "First State," is the second smallest state in the US but is packed with natural beauty and charm, particularly during the fall season. If you're looking to experience the fall colors in ways others than by train here are some of the best locations.
Brandywine Creek State Park
Located in Wilmington, Brandywine Creek State Park is a 933-acre park that offers a stunning display of fall colors. The park has over 14 miles of trails that meander through woodlands, fields, and streams, providing visitors with an opportunity to witness the fall foliage up close. The park is particularly famous for its 1.8-mile Northern Delaware Greenway Trail, which follows the scenic Brandywine Creek and offers panoramic views of the autumn landscape.
Trap Pond State Park
Trap Pond State Park is a must-visit destination in southern Delaware for anyone looking to witness the fall colors. The park is famous for its bald cypress trees that turn into vibrant shades of orange, yellow, and red during the fall season. The park has a 3.5-mile walking trail that winds around the pond and provides ample opportunities to see the colorful foliage up close. Visitors can also rent canoes and kayaks to explore the pond and see the trees from a unique vantage point.
White Clay Creek State Park
White Clay Creek State Park is located in Newark, Delaware and is a perfect destination for a fall hike. The park has over 37 miles of trails that run through forests, meadows, and streams, providing visitors with a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of fall colors. The park is particularly known for its Pomeroy Rail-Trail, which runs for 2.5 miles along the White Clay Creek and provides spectacular views of the autumn landscape.
Bellevue State Park
Bellevue State Park is a beautiful destination for a fall picnic or stroll. Located in Wilmington, the park features a historic mansion, stunning gardens, and a lake that provides a tranquil backdrop to the vibrant fall colors. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens or take a hike on one of the park's many trails to witness the beautiful foliage.
Delaware Canal State Park
The Delaware Canal State Park is a beautiful destination for a fall bike ride or hike. The park runs along the Delaware River and offers stunning views of the autumn landscape. The park's towpath runs for 60 miles and is perfect for a leisurely bike ride or walk. Visitors can also rent a bike from the park office to explore the scenic path and see the fall colors up close.
In conclusion, Delaware is a beautiful destination to witness the fall colors. These are just a few of the many locations to check out in the state.
(Wilmington/Greenbank Park): The Wilmington & Western, located in Wilmington, is a freight railroad which also offers popular steam-powered (led by Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic 0-6-0 #58 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1907) excursions for the public over a 10-mile segment of a former Baltimore & Ohio branch between Wilmington (Greenbank) and Hockessin.
The Wilmington & Western was established in 1966 and has since become a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. The route winds through the scenic Red Clay Valley while passing through lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque farmland. The line also includes several historic landmarks, including the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove and the Ashland Covered Bridge.
The railroad offers several different types of rides, including seasonal events and special themed rides. In the fall, the railroad features their Autumn Leaf Special during October and early November with trips lasting between 1 1/2 hours (Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove) and 2 1/2 hours (Hockessin).
They also host a Hayride Express on select dates during the fall. Departing from the depot just off the Newport Gap Pike (This building is a replica completed in 1997. There is also an original, restored 1873 depot nearby of Baltimore & Ohio heritage. It was historically located in Yorklyn.) you will immediately cross Clay Creek and follow it to just above Ashland before turning west towards Hockessin. Along the way you will pass parks, beautiful farms, and forest canopy. Interestingly, you are never far from the suburbs with residential developments dotting the right-of-way here and there.