Most consider Delaware to be a flat, featureless state. However, the northernmost portion of the state is a southern extension of the Piedmont Plateau. One of the more recognizable landforms of Delaware is Iron Hill. If you've ever driven I-95 through Delaware, looked to the south shortly before entering Maryland, and said "hey, there's a hill", you've seen Iron Hill. The majority of Iron Hill is a county park and open for day use public access. The parking area is less than a five-minute drive from I-95 and a nice place to stretch your legs during a long road trip. Plus, if you follow the directions below you will save $4.00 by avoiding the Delaware Toll Plaza!
Southbound I-95: Take Delaware Exit 1A to Rt. 896 South. Less than a mile. Turn right at Old Baltimore Pike. Less than a mile. Turn right into park entrance.
Northbound I-95: Take Maryland Exit 109 to Rt. 279 North. About 1.5 miles. Right on Otis Chapel Road. About 2.5 miles. Cross I-95. Left on Old Baltimore Pike. About a mile. Turn left into park entrance.
Reverse directions to avoid the toll plaza.
Day use only.
No alcohol or drugs.
Dogs on leash.
Getting Around the Park
The park portion of the hill is mostly heavily wooded. There is a great network of mountain bike trails (fine for hiking) on the north and east sides of the hill.
The parking area is close to the summit. The true summit (331 ft.) is buried under a water tower at the top of the housing development on the south slope.
You can access the water tower from the trail network. The trails generally radiate out from the parking area. I couldn't find a trail map but frequent directional signs will keep you from getting turned around and will get you back to the parking area. There are several miles of trails.
Views within the park are very limited, due to heavily wooded terrain. Here is a view of the nearby University of Delaware sports complex.
Better views are obtained from the top of the housing development on the south slope. This view south is of one of the bridges over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
The 192-mile Mason Dixon trail passes through the park. There is a nice monument to Robert Yost, founder of the trail, near the parking area.
Iron ore was mined from the hill as early as the 1600s. Here is an old mining pit near the top.
Washington and his army performed reconnaissance of British troops from the hill in planning the nearby Battle of Cooch's Bridge in 1777. The regionally famous collection of Iron Hill Brew Pubs are named after the hill. Their beer and food are highly recommended!
Much of the topography of northern Delaware is formed from the valleys of the Brandywine, Red Clay, and White Clay Creeks. There is much public park land. Numerous steep hillsides and trails provide good hiking, trail running, and mountain biking opportunities. Notably, nearby Alapocas Creek State Park offers some decent top roping on 80-100 feet of exposed granite along the Brandywine. The Ebright Azimuth is Delaware's highpoint, but is flat and really boring compared to many of these other areas. Get out and explore!