Let's Check Out the Annual Horseshoe Crab Spawn and Take a Hike!
"All is calm on the shores of a great bay. The sun hangs over the horizon, ablaze in red as it awaits its final plunge into darkness. Nothing stirs save for the wind, waves, and tide. Suddenly, armored shapes appear in the rolling surf, moving slowly, inexorably, toward shore. By the thousands they come, grotesque and hideous soldiers at the van of a great invasions! They swarm the idyllic beach, overcoming everything in their path, their steely will focused on one single task.
An alien invasion? A Scene from some prehistoric feeding frenzy? No, it is the annual Atlantic horseshoe crab span, one of the most amazing wildlife events on the planet. Every year, tens of thousands of horseshoe crabs come ashore on the beaches of Delaware Bay to spawn, and if you are fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time, you will witness crabs literally covering the entire shore for miles in all directions. This certainly is on of the most unique, and creepy, wildlife experiences in our region.
Timing is critical if you wish to see a peak spawning event. Crab numbers peak during full and new moons between May and late June. Two days prior through two days after each moon event offers the best changes of seeing peak crab activities at sunset which is also best if it is high tide.
So, we will head out a little earlier in the day in the very nearby Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (Slaughter Beach is at the northern end of this area) and take in some hiking between 5-7 total very easy miles, and then, if you dare, head on over with us to slaughter beach for the high tide nearest the full moon. The full moon is at 8:59 p.m. with sunset being at 8:12 p.m. and the evening high tide (they prefer high tide) is conveniently at 9:37 p.m. and is predicted to be 5.55 feet which is fantastic timing which truly could not be better. This is the day of the full moon and the only date during both May and June where a weekend day falls within two days of an appropriate moon event required for the spawn to be at peak level so this is it folks."
The Hike Portion of This Adventure
A trek through coastal forest and wetlands on the western shore of Delaware Bay. A great hike for birders. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge — 8,817 acres of fresh and tidal marsh, upland forest, and croplands on the shores of the Delaware Bay — is home to a wonderful array of birds, mammals, and reptiles and is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Nearby City: Rehoboth Beach
Length: About 7 Total Miles if you combine hiking at both of the locations within Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. So, there are shorter options, and if time is on our side, longer hikes as well.
Trail Type: Modified Loop
Difficulty: Very Easy and Newbie Friendly
Activities: Birding, Wildlife Viewing and Photography, and Hiking
Facilities: Visitor center and restrooms
Click here for an explanation of the three different twilights if you are interested. Most people need a headlamp sometime between Civil and Nautical Twilight. Most people can still see very well up until a little after Civil Twilight before turning on their headlamp!
Sunset: 8:12 p.m.
Civil Twilight: 8:43 p.m.
Nautical Twilight: 9:21 p.m.
Full Moonrise is at 8:59 p.m. The crabs peak at the evening high tide which is at 9:37 p.m. so we will have the moon up when the crabs come out which is rare!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click here for directions to the where we meet near trailhead.
Hike is at 6:00 p.m
Carpool meetup time is 3:30 p.m.
Park Fee: None
Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Note Regarding Refunds:
There are no refunds, exchanges, reselling, or applying the money toward a future event for this special event. Before you commit, I just want it to be clear so there would not be any possible confusion or misunderstandings. Please keep that in mind before signing up and have a great time.
Please take my number with you just and case!
Additional MAHG Leadership Team Members