First things first. Paddling in the fall can be dangerous. When water temperatures dip below 60 degrees, you're going to need cold water gear. We've provided links to cold water safety at the bottom of this article.
But let's get to the good stuff - paddling through fall foliage. The air is crisp, the summer crowds are gone, and the typical scenery we seeing while paddling is transformed into a whole new look. It's not crazy hot, humidity is down, and it's rarely buggy!
While there are tons of places to paddle through autumn foliage around Delmarva, paddling Trap Pond State Park and neighboring Trussum Pond is a real treat in the fall. Both ponds are pretty protected from wind, and the bald cypress trees give off a whole new vibe in their fall color.
Trap Pond is becoming pretty well known as a paddlers paradise, but let's first focus on Trussum Pond. This spot is only a stone's throw from Trap Pond State Park, but fewer people seem to know about it. There is a great place to launch off of Wooten Road and directions can be found here. Because Trussum Pond is lesser known than Trap Pond, your chances of running into another paddler or boater are slim - you'll likely have the whole place to yourself! The only company you may have are turtles and eagles.
Another thing that helps Trussum Pond stand out is how close the bald cypress trees are to the launch. At Trap Pond, you have to paddle across a good chunk of the pond before you reach those middle-of-the-pond stands of cypress trees. At Trussum Pond, it only takes a minute before you are right up next to one of those impressive trees.
But just because Trussum Pond has the advantage of being lesser known, Trap Pond is certainly a spot to have on your paddling bucket list! The best spot to launch is at the boat ramp (details here). Once you've paddled the length of the pond, you'll then pass by a beautiful patch of bald cypress trees and enter the Terrapin Branch - a narrow creek that is packed with wildlife (except terrapins - not sure why it's called that!). Great blue herons, bald eagles, water snakes, river otters, woodpeckers, and several species of turtles and frogs are often spotted here. The park does offer fall foliage boat tours, but exploring by kayak will allow you to travel much further up the creek than by boat!
While you're visiting Trap Pond State Park, it's definitely worth your time to explore the park by land as well. The campground offers sites that are right up next to the pond, as well as yurts and cabins. There are also several trails suitable for walking and biking - we highly recommend The Bob Trail! And while you're at it, be sure to check out the nature center and picnic areas. And if you don't own your own kayak, the park offers rentals on a seasonal basis!
Now, back to that thing about cold water safety. Cold water is no joke, and fall and spring paddling can be dangerous if you're not prepared with the right gear. For information about how to stay safe when paddling in water that's 60 degrees and below, check out the National Center for Cold Water Safety for tips and resources to keep yourself safe!