I wished the Gordons Pond Trail would never end. The scenery — marshes on one side, and sand dunes and the ocean, and then Gordons Pond and the ocean on the other — was refreshing and beautiful. Although a crowded trail, everyone we encountered was friendly and just plain happy to be there.
The Gordons Pond Trail is located in Cape Henlopen State Park, where it skirts the western side of Gordons Pond, a 900-acre salt water lagoon. The finely crushed gravel pathway winds through coastal maritime forest, grassy marshes and sandy dunes.
We picked up the Gordons Pond Trail at the northern end, which of course begins in Cape Henlopen State Park, traveling south to the Gordons Pond Day Use Area, and ultimately, Rehobeth. We quickly encountered a half-mile elevated board walk that took us safely through the dunes and salt marsh without damaging the environment.
About midway, you encounter an observation deck, overlooking the pond and further in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean. From the trail, you can see two WWII observation towers, still maintaining sentinel on the beach.
We saw great white egrets and two bald eagles, as well as sand pipers. Depending on the season, you may also see ospreys, but when we were there (end of September, they’d already departed for warmer climes).
You notice bird watchers as well, with binoculars and intimidating camera lenses, and for good reason. The trail is located on one of four migration “super highways” in North America. In winter, fall, and spring, the pond is a popular resting spot for a wide variety of waterfowl, which means I’m thinking about a return trip this winter.
The loop offers various branches that lead off into the marshes with wide vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the opportunity to explore the area’s many dunes and the natural habitat of a large resident deer population (we saw four).
|There are spur trails and scenic overlooks in several places, providing expansive views.|
A popular stopping point along the trail is the World War II Observation Tower, where visitors can climb a spiral staircase for panoramic views of Delaware’s Cape Region.
|So fun to see several little pods of dolphins.|
Getting there: Cape Henlopen State Park is located at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, DE. Within the state park, there are parking spots at the trails north end, where you can also pick up the popular Park Bike Loop. Or, you can access the Gordons Pond Trail at the north end of Rehoboth Beach via Ocean Drive through the North Shores community. A 500-space parking lot is available.
Hours: Dawn through dusk.