The Darlington Trail (Middletown Trails)

As the weather gets cooler I find myself getting the urge to go hiking in the woods with Matt and Bailey.  We took a nice 2 mile walk at Okehocking Preserve last week but, since that’s already been featured on my blog, I thought I’d write about another one of our favorite hiking spots: Darlington Trail in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

The Darlington Trail is part of the wonderful “Middletown Trails” network that is owned and maintained by Middletown Township.  You can view a map showing the rough location of each of the six trails in my Linvill Trail post from last March.

One of my favorite parts about the Darlington Trail is that it crisscrosses an old rail line.  These tracks used to carry passenger trains from Media to West Chester (an extension of the current-day Septa R3 Media/Elwyn line) but now they are only used by the occasional freight train traveling at night towards Philadelphia from a nearby quarry.  We’ve never seen a train on this stretch of tracks during the daytime so we always feel very safe walking along (or on!) the tracks.

The train tracks cross high over the Chester Creek in two spots.  I wouldn’t recommend trying to walk across the rail bridges on foot because the space between each of the railroad cross ties is completely open to the creek 30 or so feet below.  Seeing the water rush by below your feet is pretty disconcerting when you are standing on a bridge that’s only a couple of feet wide with no handrails or guardrails!

The first time we hiked the Darlington Trail we were exploring the tracks and somehow ended up on the wrong side of one of the bridges.  Bailey definitely would have fallen right through the holes between the ties if we had tried to walk on the bridge so Matt concluded that the only way to get her to the other side was to carry her.  Luckily she was very calm and stayed perfectly still while Matt tiptoed from tie to tie across the bridge!  (Note: you do not have to cross the bridges in order to hike the trail!)

The bridge doesn’t look very intimidating from here, but when you get closer and realize that there’s nothing but air between the rail ties it might make you feel a bit unnerved when walking over it!

The terrain is quite varied on the Darlington Trail.  At some points you snake along the wide bank of Chester Creek (great for dogs who like the water!) and in other spots you hike through rolling farmlands and are rewarded with a great view of the surrounding area and the trail as it continues on in the distance.

According to the trail map, the entire loop is about 2.75 miles long.  The trail is well maintained and is clearly marked with yellow diamond-shaped trail signs.  We usually park in the lot located on Darlington Road just north of the road’s intersection with Route 1 / Baltimore Pike in Glen Mills, PA.  You can also park near the original Wawa dairy (yes, THE Wawa!) on Valley Road just north of Route 1.

If you live in the Delaware County/Chester County area and ever decide to hike the Darlington Trail I would love to hear what you think of it!  Do you have a favorite section of trail (or does your dog have a favorite section of the creek?)  🙂  Please share!

15 thoughts on “The Darlington Trail (Middletown Trails)

  1. Beautiful pictures! I especially love that last one. Railroad tracks are so pretty.

    I’ve been near there, at Ridley Creek State Park, before my blogging days. I’ve never been on this trail though. It looks pretty amazing, so it’s going on my list of trails to hike one day. I love exploring!

    • Ridley Creek State Park is definitely really close to Darlington and also only about a mile from our house. We love hiking there and I’ve been planning on doing a post about it for a while. 🙂

      • It’s a beautiful park. It’s a bit of a drive to get there for us, but so worth it! You’ll have to make a post about it soon.

        I should make a post about it, too. I have a ton of pictures! We were there in the spring when the flowering trees were blooming.

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  11. I just stopped today and took some shots off the bridge over Chester Creek (CRICK) by the parking is one of my favorite spots in DELCO. I stop with my camera All Four Seasons! When I leave there it is quite tempting to spend some time hiking Rocky Run.

  12. So happy I found your post! I’m excited to read more. Darlington trail is my favorite place so far I’ve been going there since 2015. My Poppop lives across the street from the train tracks on a nearby road and when I was little I would hear the train horn sound occasionally late at night. but now they are doing some kind of construction to the tracks I think they are removing them and making a new housing development although I don’t think that will effect any of the trails. The quarry is really neat and I’ve seen so many beautiful animals and bugs on my many adventures there – from foxes and buzzards to water moccasins and fresh water eels. I’m always excited to go back and see more, and would love to share some of my own photos of Darlington trail with you if possible. 🙂

    • Hello! I was just thinking about Darlington tonight. It’s such a nice trail and I love how it crosses the old railroad tracks. Septa is updating the tracks south of Rt 1 to extend from Philly to a new “Middletown station” and some of their work has spilled over north of Rt 1, but I agree, I don’t think it will affect the trails. (Thank goodness!!) 😁

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