Voted “Best Botanical Garden” in the 2020 USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Wilmington’s Mt. Cuba Center is a true hidden treasure.
New to the center this season are more than two miles of scenic trails that run throughout the Center’s 1,000 acres of natural lands. These pathways are managed to promote ecosystem health and function, support environmental education and scientific research, and preserve the character of the regional landscape. They are maintained in their more natural state and take on a “wilder” aesthetic as opposed to the carefully curated gardens.
Start the journey in the renowned native woodland and formal gardens then cross the bridge to experience the trails. Take a shorter stroll or hike the full two miles. Trek along several scenic loops and pathways that will be open shortly after Mt. Cuba Center’s season opening on Thursday, April 1.
The trails begin on the other side of the historic bridge over Barley Mill Road. Options include:
Pollinator Loop (.46 miles) – This is the first trail guests will encounter as they trek through the center’s natural lands. It features a restored wetland and pollinator habitat, a historic stone home, and a springhouse.
Bluebird Loop (.91 miles) – One of the highest points in Delaware at just over 400 feet above sea level, this trail offers impressive views of Appalachian Piedmont geography, flora and fauna, and beautifully restored native grasslands which provide the perfect habitat for birds.
Wildflower Loop (.66 miles) – The last loop in the trails, this area highlights native wildflowers, a wetland ecosystem teeming with life, and a black walnut grove.
Chestnut Trail (.16 miles) – A conservation and research collaboration with the American Chestnut Foundation, this site is home to several generations of hybridized chestnut trees.
Three Reasons to Hit the Trails
Embrace a 'wilder' aesthetic on the trails. Encounter an abundance of flora and fauna from blooming milkweed to Eastern Bluebirds at nest boxes. Observe busy pollinators at work supported by native plants. Discover aquatic species at the ponds and listen to the chorus of frog calls and chirping crickets.
Wellness starts here. Refresh your body and mind when walking over two miles of trails. Pick your path and boost your mood while connecting with the natural environment. Take in beautiful views and vistas from one of the highest points in Delaware, and revel in the healing power of nature.
Nurture your knowledge with educational moments along the paths. Wander on the Chestnut Trail and discover a study site for the American chestnut tree. Learn about invasive species, native plants, and reforestation. Leave inspired with tips you can apply at home to become a conservator in your community.
Upcoming for the Mt. Cuba Season: Wildflower Weekend
Celebrate early spring ephemerals at Wildflower Weekend on April 23, 24, and 25 featuring a variety of outdoor family-friendly programming like family yoga and story-time, live music, food trucks, guided tours, and a native plant sale. Spring showers won’t stop the center from celebrating so this event is rain or shine. Join in and honor the beautiful and iconic blooms at the peak of their glory.