Josiah White, a famous entrepreneur and innovator, built the Lehigh Canal to transport anthracite coal the 46 miles from Mauch Chunk to Easton. There, the coal barges entered the Delaware Canal to complete their journey to Philadelphia. An ambitious feat of engineering, the Lehigh Canal used 44 locks and 8 dams to conquer the 353-foot elevation change. Remnants of these locks and dams can still be seen from the trail. Today, the canal is part of a larger national park known as the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. The Lehigh Canal: North (D&L Trail) traces the canal route from Parryville about 8 miles north to Jim Thorpe. Other rail-trails in close proximity include the Switchback Railroad Trail
and the Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail
Starting from the small trail parking lot at the southern end of the trail in Parryville, you will find a narrow trail with a hard packed dirt surface. The trail runs next to active railroad tracks in Parryville for about 1.5 miles. After mile 1, stay on the right side of the trail (next to the canal) of a long commercial parking lot. Pick up the trail again at the northern end. From there the trail runs along the Lehigh River for another mile and then follows the active tracks as they bend away from the river and lead you under Route 209 into Weissport, where you will find another parking lot.
Once in Weissport, the trail improves dramatically. There is a pleasant signed trailhead with public parking and a picnic area. Be prepared for hoards of ducks to follow you if you stop for a picnic. The trail surface widens and is crushed stone from here on out. The ride is scenic with canal views on your right and built-in observation points at lock and dam crossings. The left-hand side of the trail affords views of the Lehigh River, and wildlife, such as beaver, mink, deer and waterfowl, are common sights along the canal and riverbanks. The last mile winds down as the trail turns west and ends at a commercial site just outside of Jim Thorpe. There is no trail parking at this northern trailhead.
To reach the Parryville trailhead, take Interstate 476 to Exit 74 to State Route 209. Follow 209 South to the traffic light just before the Lehigh River Bridge. Turn left here onto 248 South. Continue 1.7 miles to a trail parking lot on your right. Follow the dirt path south out of the parking lot and past the sign. Cross a small pedestrian bridge to get to the trailhead.
To reach the midpoint trailhead in Weissport, take Interstate 476 to Exit 74 to 209. Follow 209 South to the traffic light just before the Lehigh River Bridge. Turn right at the light onto Canal Street. Go 0.25 mile and turn left on Bridge Street when Canal Street dead-ends into it. The parking lot will be on your right immediately after you turn onto Bridge Street. This trail is wheelchair-accessible from Weissport northward
There is no access from the northern point.