Ocean View, DE
General Overview of Trail
The American Discovery Trail (ADT) has its eastern terminus at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Delaware Bay. It is appropriate that the ADT begins in the state which on December 7, 1787, became the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. The route of the ADT through Delaware travels about 44.6 miles of sidewalks and rural roads, most with paved shoulders. The trail passes through the towns of Lewes, Milton, and Bridgeville, but is mostly in open farmland.
Cape Henlopen is located near Lewes, the 1631 site of the first Dutch settlement in Delaware called Zwaanendael, “Valley of the Swans.” Settlers from Holland intended to establish an agricultural and whaling industry, but when Captain David Pietersen de Vries arrived a year later, he found the town deserted. Today, the settlement is commemorated by the DeVries Monument and the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.
The American Discovery Trail begins on the beach near the bunker overlook. During World War II, the park was the site of an U.S. Army coastal fort. Several of the fortifications are still in place, including the bunker, which is an excellent location from which to watch ship traffic entering and leaving Delaware Bay. There is a sign at the bunker marking the location as the eastern terminus of the ADT.
Detailed Trail Description – Cape Henlopen to Maryland State Line – 44.6 miles
Upon leaving Cape Henlopen State Park you pass the Cape May/Lewes Ferry, which crosses Delaware Bay to Cape May, New Jersey. The ADT stays on the main road through Lewes, a growing town of about 2,500 people that is rich in history. Lewes is considered the “first town in the first state” and offers a number of shops, restaurants and motels.
After a short section along busy U.S. 9, which has a wide paved shoulder, the route follows paved country roads into Milton. Located on the Broadkill River, this town was the shipbuilding capital of Delaware in the 1800s. It is the site of many fine Victorian mansions. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a few miles east of Milton and makes an interesting side trip for those who enjoy bird watching.
After leaving Milton, the ADT follows rural roads through farmland. Soon after crossing U.S. 113, the trail passes through Redden State Forest, which offers primitive camping. Continuing west, the trail enters Bridgeville, a town of 1,500 people and the agricultural and railroad center of the region. Bridgeville has a bed and breakfast.
The ADT follows country roads through the unincorporated towns of Cocked Hat, Adamsville, and Hickman before leaving Delaware on Rural Road 113, which becomes Hobbs Road in Maryland. The boundary between Delaware and Maryland is part of the Mason-Dixon Line.
- Cape Henlopen Bike Trail
- Georgetown-Lewes Trail
- Redden State Forest
Points of Interest
- Historic towns of Lewes and Milton
- Zwaanendael Museum
- Cape May-Lewes Ferry
- Atlantic Ocean beaches
- Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area
Adjoining Trail State: Maryland & DC