D & L TRAIL;

DELAWARE CANAL TOWPATH:

BRISTOL-EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      April 20, 2008

Length:                Delaware Canal Towpath; 60 miles

                             D & R Canal Trail (Feeder Canal); 31 ½ miles

                             D & R Canal Trail (Main Canal); 34 miles

Difficulty:           Easy. Former towpath is flat and consists of stone dust.

Directions:

To start from Washington Crossing; From I-95 take exit 51to Taylorsville Rd and travel north. Turn right on Washington Cross Rd (Route 532) and the parking area will be on your left next to the canal. If you continue along Washington Cross Rd you'll come to River Rd (Route 32) just before the river. Turn left to visit Washington Crossing Historic Park

To start from Black Rock Road parking lot; From I-95 take exit 51to Taylorsville Rd and travel south. Taylorsville Rd turns into Main St. Take a left onto Black Rock Rd and the parking lot will be next to the canal.

Inspired by the tremendous success of New York State's Erie Canal, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began building a 1,200-mile system of canals to connect Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Lake Erie. These new transportation routes would carry the raw materials and manufactured products that would power this country's industrial revolution. The sixty-mile-long Delaware Canal is part of this great network. Completed in 1832, it runs from Bristol to Easton, where it connects with the Lehigh Canal. The primary purpose of these two waterways was to transport anthracite coal from the northeastern Pennsylvania coal regions to the cities on the eastern seaboard. Over its course of 60 miles, the Delaware Canal drops 165 feet through some twenty-three locks. Ten aqueducts carry the waterway over small valleys and streams. Including its towpath and berm bank, the canal is approximately 60 feet wide and originally was five feet deep. As railroads began to seriously compete for freight contracts, canal-generated revenues to the Commonwealth dropped. In 1858, the decision was made to sell the Delaware Canal to private operators. From 1866 to 1931, the Delaware Canal was run by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, which also owned of the Lehigh Canal. Canal traffic and revenue declined until the "iron horse" finally beat the mule, when the last paying boat locked through in October 17, 1931 . The significance of the Delaware Canal was recognized in 1978, when it was designated a National Historic Landmark. It is preserved today as the most intact and fully watered of America's towpath canals. 

The D & L Trail incorporates both the Delaware Canal & Lehigh Canal creating a 165 mile trail from Bristol in the south to Wilkes-Barre in the north. The plan is to create a continuous stone-dust trail, however, at present some sections still utilize a natural hard packed dirt & grass surface, while a few sections are still undeveloped. See D & L Trail Map below for individual segments. For segments I've visited along the D & L Trail, See; D & L Trail; Lehigh Canal South & D & L Trail; Lehigh Gorge SP . For finished segments I have not yet visited but provide information, See; D & L Trail; Lehigh Canal Towpath , D & L Trail; East Penn-Northampton  .

Be sure to check DELAWARE CANAL STATE PARK for updates of trail closures along the canal. 

Along the New Jersey side of the Delaware River travels the Feeder Canal, part of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. There are many bridge crossings bikes can utilize to create a loop along both sides of the river. See; Loop Map below. The Main Canal of the DELAWARE & RARITAN CANAL runs northeast from Trenton to New Brunswick. See; D & R Canal  for bike trail information. For more information visit; DELAWARE CANAL & DELAWARE & LEHIGH CORRIDOR .

Starting from the Washington Crossing parking lot; A trail from the parking lot brings you to the towpath. Right takes you north along the canal, we headed left (south). The towpath travels under many bridges, but the pedestrian bridges over the canal are especially low, so keep your head down while passing under them or you’re in for more then just a headache. You come to your first Lock at 0.9 miles. There is also an informative signboard located here and at many other locations along the path. You travel over a sluiceway at 2 miles and come to a water release gate. Lock 7 (Borden’s Lock) and possibly an old Tenders House at 2.5 miles. A Porto-potty is located near by. After traveling underneath I-93, you cross another sluiceway and come to Lock 6 (Lear’s Lock) at 3.1 miles. A ¼ mile on-road section along a residential drive brings you through Yardley at 4 miles. Lock 5 (Yardley Lock) at 4.7 miles and you travel underneath a railroad bridge. You come to the Black Rock Road parking lot at 5.8 miles where you’ll find some picnic tables. The canal then forms a pond at what is called “Wide Water”. You’ll come to a bench at 6 ¼ miles with an informative signboard on “Wide Water”. Continuing along the trail you’ll come to E Ferry Rd at 6 ½ miles. We stopped here; however, another ½ mile will bring you to the Trenton Ave/Calhoun Street Bridge over the Delaware River to Trenton, NJ where you can then access the Feeder Canal along the Delaware & Raritan Canal. You can then head north to Washington Crossing State Park where you can cross over the Washington Crossing Bridge and return to Washington Crossing parking lot, for a loop trail of about 16 miles.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR DELAWARE CANAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR D & L TRAIL MAPS

CLICK HERE FOR LOOP TRAIL MAPS

 

BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE

WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

BIKE IT OR HIKE IT

HOME PAGE