Discover the Trails of Delaware: Junction and Breakwater Trail

By Andrew Rogan, in All Communities

We used to leap from railroad tie to railroad tie, balance for a few paces on the rails themselves, and attempt to push each other off the decaying bridges and into the water below. Now the railroad ties are gone and a crushed stone path known as the Junction and Breakwater Trail lies in its place. The Breakwater Trail offers visitor’s fresh air and exercise, without the hassle of traffic and parking meters. Hidden behind the various businesses on Route One, the wide path weaves its way through fields, forest, and costal marshes, exemplifying an element of the intangible aspects of life that only the outdoors can provide. Perhaps most notably, the Breakwater Trail allows visitors to enjoy the different landscapes that Sussex County has to offer, while providing safe passage between two of Delaware’s most popular beach communities.
Over 100 years ago, beach-goers traveled on the Junction and Breakwater section of the Penn Central Rail Line to reach the Methodist resort camp at Rehoboth Beach. Although, you can no longer “hear the train a comin’, rollin’ ’round the bend,” the ringing of bike bells, patter of runners steps, and the passing conversation of hikers now serve as a pleasing soundtrack to your adventure. Nonetheless, although no longer by rail, visitors utilize the trail for the same purpose, to travel between the beach communities of Rehoboth and Lewes. Locals will attest that by using the trail, traffic, the search for a parking spot, and the cost of parking meters are no longer a concern.
Personally, the Breakwater Trail has served as a local oasis throughout my life. A few years ago, as my Dad was receiving chemotherapy, I found myself running down the trail in the cold winter months. Sheltered from the wind and surrounded by the white canopy of trees after snowfall, it was a peaceful setting and a welcome reminder of the beautiful things in life. During the summer months, the shade of the surrounding forest offered solace from the heat, while the laughter and happy conversations from other trail visitors helped me “chill out” and not take myself too seriously. In the fall and spring, during a long stretch of radically different schedules my fiancée, our dogs, and I had the chance to fully enjoy each other’s company as well as the stretching view of Cape Henlopen’s saltwater marsh and WWII observation towers.
The trail has a number of access points. For those starting in Lewes, parking at Cape Henlopen High School and crossing Kings Highway offers trail access and free parking (not to mention the opportunity to view a number of Schell Brothers communities and homes). There are also two convenient access points just off of Route One. At the end of Wolf Neck Road there is a gravel parking lot that not only offers access to the trail but also a water fountain and restrooms. There is also parking behind the Tanger Outlets, allowing for tax-free shopping, parking, and trail access. Finally, on the Rehoboth end of the trail there are no specific designated parking locations, however, the trail entrance can be found on Hebron Rd.
Today the Breakwater Trail is about five miles long one way. However, due to the popularity and the foot traffic that the trail has received, plans for expansion are currently in place. Parallel to another railroad bed, the trail will eventually connect Lewes and Georgetown (stay tuned for details!). Until then, be sure to experience this unique trail that not only allows you safe passage between the resort communities of Lewes and Rehoboth but also allows you to experience the different landscapes of Sussex County.

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  1. […] immersed in the natural beauty of our fair state. Country roads, lush farmlands, pristine beaches, countless hiking trails…the list of natural wonders goes on and on. The local landscape also gives way to an active […]

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