Delaware’s state forest campsites are now open to the public under a new online reservation system that allows for advance booking and preferred site selection. Primitive-style camping is available 365 days a year on a first-come, first-serve basis at both Blackbird State Forest, north of Smyrna, and Redden State Forest, north of Georgetown.
State forests only allow tent camping: pickup campers, travel trailers and/or self-propelled motor homes are excluded due to access and parking limitations, unless otherwise noted. Amenities include on-site parking, BBQ grills, picnic tables, fire rings, firewood (if available), and portable toilets. No showers or bath facilities provided.
The cost per night is $25 per site (plus a small administrative fee) with a three night maximum stay per reservation. Each state forest has added two new sites for a total of eight (8) at Blackbird and seven (7) at Redden. All camping requires a permit and is subject to state forest rules and regulations. Complete information, maps, camping rules, and links to make a reservation are available at de.gov/forestcamping.
The Forest Service manages three state forests totaling more than 20,000 acres; Blackbird Forest near Smyrna, Taber Forest near Harrington, and Redden Forest near Georgetown. The forests are managed for a variety of objectives including: timber production, wildlife habitat enhancement, forest management demonstration, and recreational opportunities. Blackbird and Redden contain our northern and southern field offices, outdoor educational trails, and wildland fire suppression equipment. All three state forests are open to the public for a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and in-season hunting.
Blackbird State Forest, located on the border of New Castle and Kent Counties, is Delaware’s northernmost state forest and only a 30-minute commute from Wilmington and Newark. It has nine tracts totaling over 6,000 acres and contains a mixture of oaks, yellow-poplar, maple, gums, and hickories. Our northern regional office is located on the Tybout Tract on Blackbird Forest Road.
Blackbird is a popular site for outdoor recreation. Its 40 miles of trails are used extensively for hiking, running, bicycling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. There is also a 2,200-foot paved nature trail designed for wheelchair accessibility. The trail system at Blackbird interconnects five primitive campsites and four picnic sites, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Blackbird is also open to hunting and catch-and-release fishing.
For more information: Chris Miller
Taber State Forest lies in southwestern Kent County and is the smallest of Delaware’s State Forests at 1,309 acres. It is managed primarily for timber production and wildlife habitat. Situated in a secluded, rural setting, Taber is a very popular hunting site. The major timber types on Taber State Forest are loblolly pine and mixed upland hardwoods.
Redden State Forest, Delaware’s largest at more than 12,900 acres, is located in central Sussex County just north of Georgetown. Loblolly pine is the primary tree species on the forest, although Redden also has stands of mixed hardwoods, including oaks, maple, and gum.
With over 44 miles of trails, the 18 tracts of Redden State Forest are popular for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, and bird watching. Redden’s large timbered tracts are also ideal for deer hunting. Our southern regional office is located at the Headquarters Tract on East Redden Road. This tract also has a limited number of primitive camping sites and a small, catch-and-release fishing pond. The Headquarters Tract also contains a natural resource education facility, formerly a historic carriage house, which opened in 2000 (for more information see the Forestry Education page of our website). Additionally, the historic Redden Lodge, renovated in 1996, is open to the public at a nominal cost. Weekend, daily, and night reservations are available. The Lodge has a complete kitchen and is handicapped-accessible although overnight visitors must bring their own sleeping bags or cots, as there are no sleeping facility.
Redden Lodge Rental Application includes information on Rental Fees, Rules, and Lodge Checklist