From the parking area in Delaware City, visitors take a half-mile ferry ride to Pea Patch Island aboard a fee-based ferry. A jitney provides transport from the island dock to the granite and brick fortress.
The island is a summer home to nine different species of herons, egrets, and ibis. The remote marshes provide an outstanding habitat for one of the largest wading bird nesting areas on the East Coast.
The short hiking trail begins across the open grass area from the fort. Look for signs indicating Prison Camp Trail. An interpretive brochure available in the gift shop depicts historical points of interest. The trail descends into a shady woods comprised of red maple, box elder, sassafras, and wild cherry. The highlight of the trail is the observation tower, a popular destination for photographers and bird watchers alike. The nine species spotted on the island include great blue herons, little blue heron, tricolored herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, glossy ibis, and cattle egrets. At the base of the observation tower proceed along the trail which brings you to the edges of a marsh and several narrow beaches. Within a short distance, the fort comes into sight.
Ferry Schedule: Last weekend in April to last weekend in September, 10 AM to 6 PM; Mid-June to Labor Day, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM. $6.50 Adults, $4 Children
A ferry also runs from Fort Mott, New Jersey.
Directions: From Delaware City, DE, Begin at this departure point for Fort Delaware State Park, which is located on the north side of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal off Route 9. The Delafort departs from the dock adjacent to the park office at the end of Clinton Street. Check description for detailed ferry schedule. No private dockage.
Elevation: 5 feet
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Distance: 0.7 miles
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Fort Delaware State Park, Delaware
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