The Delaware Canal Towpath, which extends from Bristol to Easton, dates back to the historical canal-building era of the early and mid-1800s. Through its connection with the Lehigh Navigation Canal at Easton, the Delaware Canal helped to develop the anthracite coal industry in the Upper Lehigh Valley. In 1940, the canal system became a state park, and in 1988 Congress officially recognized the system's importance to the economic evolution of America by establishing the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Today, the 60-mile Delaware Canal Towpath, once trod by teams of mules pulling cargo-laden boats, is one of four named trails that make up the 165-mile D&L Trail, the backbone of the National Heritage Corridor and the longest publicly owned trail remaining in the state. Other trails contained in the D&L are: the Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail, the Lehigh Canal North, and Lehigh Canal South.
Flood damage in 2004 and 2006 closed entire sections of the trail while significant repairs were made. The trail reopened in July 2010. Most of the repair focused on the locks and canal itself. The trail surface remains bumpy from exposed tree roots; users should expect rough conditions.
A variety of looping routes can be followed using any of the five bridges that cross into New Jersey and connect to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on the Jersey side of the river. Trail users can easily access both sides of the river to explore quaint towns and in-land trails to take in scenic river views. Connecting bridges are in the Pennsylvania towns of Uhlerstown, Lumberville, Center Bridge, Washington Crossing and Morrisville.
NOTE: The trail is prone to flood damage in places and has suffered in recent years. Check with local authorities before heading out.
To reach the Washington Crossing trailhead from I-95, take Exit 51 to New Hope. Stay left and merge onto Taylorsville Road. Travel 3 miles to Taylorsville and turn right onto PA 532. Turn left on River Road (State Route 32) and park in the lot on the left.
There are numerous other access points along the 60-mile length of Delaware Canal State Park, which parallels Pennsylvania Routes 611 and 32. For more information, visit the Delaware Canal State Park website by clicking on the link to the right under "Related Links."