Union Canal Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Union Canal Trail parallels Tulpehocken Creek between Stonecliffe Action Park northwest of downtown Reading and Blue Marsh Lake. The original Union Canal ran 79.5 miles from the Schuylkill River at Reading to the Susquehanna River at Middletown Harrisburg. Completed in 1827, the canal was not very successful for transporting goods boatmen were hesitant to use the narrow channel and locks. The scenic trail passes several historical stone buildings built during the canal's heyday; many are now used for park offices and add interest to the towpath trail.

The Union Canal Trail occupies property managed by the Army Corp of Engineers. It leads across farmland to surrounding Blue Marsh Lake, which also has its own trails. Much of the trail is a well maintained crushed stone surface, 12 feet wide. At the Stilling Basin entrance the trail turns to single track.

Note: Horses are not allowed on the Union Canal Trail but are permitted on the multi-use trails at Blue Marsh Lake.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the eastern end at Stonecliffe Action Park along Columbia Street and at the Berks Heritage Center on Tulpehocken Road (opposite the creek from the trail; bridge access to trail available). You can also park at Gring's Mill off Red Bridge Road (includes a seasonal weekend concession stand), off Rebers Bridge Road (south of the creek) and off Palisades Road.


Great trail!!

   May, 2016 by elcee5

Rode this trail this morning from beginning to end and back again. Started early and it wasn't crowded but got busier as the morning went on. Very well cared for and really quite beautiful. Nicely shaded for most of the way. Several "Kodak" moments along ...read more

Wonderful, tree-lined riverside walk

   February, 2016 by arranpilot

Fabulous This is a fabulous rail. Why it is not in the top 100 trails I do not know. I walked this trail North starting at Grings Mill up to the Blue Marsh lakes, on a day with max temp 20 - chilly. The trail is amazing - excellent underfoot, and ...read more

First visit

   July, 2015 by rnk0914

Trail was very well kept. Was there on a Wednesday afternoon and not very busy so it was quiet and very beautiful, but hot. We started in the middle and rode south east to the end. Seemed like it got a little rougher neighborhood towards that end. Graffiti ...read more