Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail


Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Cecil
Length: 1.8 miles
Trail end points: Lock Street (Chesapeake City) and Michael Castle Trail at the Delaware/Maryland state line
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 8584269
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Description

Maryland's Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail links to Delaware's Michael Castle Trail; both run along the north bank of the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal and meet at the state line. The combined route takes travelers from the historical, quaint canal town of Chesapeake City to Delaware City.

The trailhead for the C&D Canal trail is located on the trail's western end at the base of Lock Street in North Chesapeake City. From there, the paved pathway runs along the waterfront for 1.8 miles to the Delaware border. The trail is named after U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, whose efforts made the trail a reality.

The C&D Canal was dug in the early 1800s and widened in the early 1900s. It is overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Chesapeake City boasts charming boutiques and several exceptional restaurants. The city also provides a free ferry service from April through October to the south side of the community located on the opposite side of the canal. On this bank, you'll find a delightful and important museum about the canal.

Parking and Trail Access

Take Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) to Maryland Route 213 southbound. It's approximately 6 miles to the entrance of North Chesapeake City. Do not cross the Route 213 bridge over the canal. Turn left into the entrance and follow Lock Street to Biddle Street. Follow the signs directing trail-goers to parking. The trailhead is located at Lock Street and the C&D Canal.

Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Reviews

Named in honor of the US Senator who secured funding for its construction, the nearly 2-mile Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreation Trail may be short, but it's scenery is spectacular.

The paved, mostly flat trail stretches along the north shore of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from Chesapeake City east to the Delaware border. It continues into Delaware as the longer Michael Castle Trail, which extends to Delaware City. Notable features include the various maritime traffic that uses the canal, which ranges from small craft like recreational sailboats and speedboats to freighters sailing between Philadelphia and Baltimore, large birds and other wildlife that call the canal and adjacent lands home and the bridge that carries Route 213 high above the waterway at Chesapeake City. After finishing their ride or hike, trail users can treat themselves to a hearty seafood dinner at nearby Shaeffers'. The only drawbacks to this trail a lack of shade, which make carrying bottled water and sunscreen a must in the summer months, though efforts are under way to lessen this problem by planting shrubbery around several benches, and the aforementioned lack of parking. The trail is nonetheless one of the more unique and scenic greenways in this part of the country and is highly recommended for anyone visiting Chesapeake City.

This Trail now links up with the Michael Castle Trail and you can now ride from Chesapeake City to Delaware City with just ONE road crossing. It is one great ride and is beautiful from one end to the other. My only negative is the powers to be in Maryland have not built a trail head or parking. On the Delaware end the State with the help of DelDot have built three trail heads with parking and restrooms.

The trail itself is nicely paved BUT the parking is about 1/4 mile away and crush and run, the travel between parking and trail is on road and not flat, there is no shade and no rest benches for the first half mile. These don't seem like a big deal till you are pushing a 250 lb patient in a wheelchair.


Have done this trail on my road bike using 700x23s with almost no problems. One small section(50feet)on Maryland side with round river stones. Got off bike and walked it while heading west. On the way back, tide had risen (maybe 6 inches of water depth)over that section. Decided to slowly ride through and had no problems. Small climb (near the marina)about half way which is a nice change and got the blood pumping. Like starting and finishing in Delaware City and eating at Crabby Dicks. Be sure to stop at the grave yard and read the stories.

This trail is complete and the link to Michael Cardin trail is now paved so you can ride 11 miles along the C and D Canal. This is exceptionally scenic and if lucky you will see ocean going ships and water birds. You can also lunch at Schaeffer's Canal House and have their delicious crab cakes. The trail starts right at their parking lot.

I love this trail and the Mike Castle trail. It is almost 100% paved, but that section that isn't paved makes it difficult to take a road bike all the way through from Delaware city to Chesapeake City. I'm honestly not sure if the unfinished part is in Delaware or Md. I'm pretty sure its in Delaware. I have mountain biked and run this section. It's great for half marathon training. If they ever finish it, it will be AMAZING for road biking.

Parts of the Delaware side are under construction but those segments are months away from completion. Once the C&D Canal will be a major destination connecting all the way to Delaware City and beyond as there is seasonal ferry service to Pea Patch Island, DE and Fort Mott, NJ. Chesapeake City is a delight, especially lounging at Shaefer's Canal House on a warm sunny afternoon.

I tried the trail last weekend it was my first time most of the trail is smooth asphalt, the trails connects to another trail in Delaware that follows the canal. There are two sections under construction that are smooth gravel, no issues if you have a cross trainer type bike. I took the trail to St Georges the trail goes almost until Delaware City. There is a rest stop with parking that takes you to Cock neck Road to ride into Delaware City, it has a nice bike lane.

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