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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."
Did a portion of this trail with family on Saturday. Very nice ride.
Heading north the entire ride has such a slight grade that you're hard pressed to feel you're actually going up hill. The same goes for the return trip as you'll hardly feel as though you're going down hill.
The packed gravel surface is mostly fine grained so you don't feel as though your teeth are being rattled out of your head, just be wary of the grassy center in the double rack sections the gravel here isn't packed down and can get a little "hairy."
Just before you get into New Hope there are some great views of the river where the trail is bordered by the canal on your left and the river on your right.
For the most part you will be riding in the shade, but if it's hot there are stretches that are in the open sun, so make sure you pack enough hydration for the trip...The only negative is that you and your bike will look as though you've been through a red clay dust storm, so pack a towel and have a few gallons of H20 back at the car so you can wash down when you get back...
The ride north of New Hope is the most scenic as the trail meanders along sections of the river where you're going to want to stop for some really excellent photo-ops...
My wife and I ride identical Trek dual sport hybrids which have 700c x 38mm tires..which handled this ride perfectly...
I just completed a 100 mile round trip from the Ferry Road trail head in Morrisville to the northernmost terminus at Easton. I chose to start at Ferry Road as it is local to me and you bypass the trail obstructions at Morrisville and Bristol. I'd break up my ride into three distinct sections:
1. Morrisville to New Hope- This is the most traveled section of the trail. It is the most well maintained and overall widest section of the trail. There are stops roughly every five miles where you can park, have access to bathrooms or a store to buy food or drinks. The trail does get narrower and more confusing from Bowman's Tower to New Hope (about 2 miles) but is overall easy to follow.
2. New Hope to Lumberville- The trail going though New Hope is narrow and rough in places. As you get though New Hope the trail opens up again and is easier to ride. As of September 2016 the trail on the PA side is closed at the Stockton bridge so you must cross over to the NJ D&R Trail for about 4 miles (this is scheduled to be re-opened in Oct 2016). The NJ side is wide, shaded and well maintained. You can cross over to Lumberville at the Bull's Island foot bridge to continue on the PA side.
3. Lumberville to Easton- This is the roughest and least populated part of the trail. The distances between rest stops increases (it can be 7-8 miles) and the number of bathrooms and stores goes down. There are sections that are single track with larger stones that will make for a rough ride. The last section from Riegelsville to Easton is the most consistent part of this section, it is overall wide and well maintained like earlier sections of the trail.
The trail is subject to getting washed out in sections after a heavy rainfall but it has never been impassable for me in 2016. It is a very scenic trail with many available points to get on with the added option of doing connecting loops on the NJ side. I would recommend beginning anywhere from Morrisville to New Hope and slowly working your way towards Easton .
Wonderful trail. Flat and level. Not very crowded. The views are beautiful. The NJ side is just as nice, however, it come out in West Trenton. I would suggest riding there with a group. Not a very nice part of town and the route is a bit confusing. Wouldn't want to get lost there. Otherwise, enjoyable 17.5 miles.
Parked at Tinicum Park and rode the trail south to Lumberton PA, where a footbridge brings you to NJ for the ride back up to Frenchtown bridge, back into PA, back to Tinicum. About 21 miles. Flat.
The PA side: First 4 miles were not bad-nice trail, very scenic on the old canal tow path. No closures, a few newer bridges to cross a few canal-things, and it was nice. But the trail gets pretty rough for the next 5 miles down to Lumberton. The stone used to cover trail is inappropriate for a bike trail, and it can be rather narrow. A few spots going under bridges are blind, so you cannot see if anyone is coming the other way, and there is barely room for 1 to pass under. We did it on hybrids, and it wasn't the worst trail we've ever been on, but it's one that leaves you with numb hands from the bumps. It has potential-very pretty, historic-but the fact is, it floods here, and when it does, it's major-so the washout potential probably keeps people from investing in making it perfect.
When you approach to footbridge in Lumberton, exit before the bridge, and go about 150 ft. along the road(no shoulder on right so we walked our bikes along the left shoulder) to the footbridge, and cross into NJ. Again, nice views, pretty metal suspension bridge offers nice view north and south on Delaware river.
Enter NJ at the Bulls Island Recreational area. Go straight (.25 miles)to entrance of park, and turn left back onto the trail-this side is called the D&R canal trail.Lovely trail, in great shape, shady, wider, tons of river access, great surface(another review). Ride north to Frenchtown, left turn, back over a regular use bridge into PA (Uhlerstown). No trail marking here, and no shoulder on road-use caution!
After crossing bridge, turn left, and make your first right onto Uhlerstown Rd (open May-Nov) straight to an adorable old covered bridge(1832).This bridge crosses over the trail, and trail access is signed on the left shortly before the bridge(you are crossing property to access trail-note signage, stay on path-it's just a short path with a couple turns). Then back on the trail, head south a mile or 2,on a lovely section of trail that is again in great shape.
We would do this again- it takes about 2 hours, and Frenchtown is a great spot to stop and eat or look around. Tinicum park has tent camping, a playground, and Frisbee Golf course that is quite large-they also hold an excellent arts festival each year the weekend after July 4 that is worth a few hours of your time. This area is also excellent for kayaking/tubing on the river or canal(there is a huge rental/day trip place about 5 miles south of Tinicum). New Hope (a great artsy old town) is a short drive south. There is another covered bridge nearby(west of the footbridge-didn't see it, but have heard of it). A great place to visit for a weekend, and the ride is worth it, even with the 5 or so bumpy miles. Only have to be on the road a very little bit(to access footbridge, and again for about .5-.75 miles in Uhlerstown between Frenchtown and the covered bridge) so that too is a plus. Some areas on the PA side do have drop-offs that are high, un-fenced, and into mucky water, so not somewhere where little kids can roam free or ride without very close supervision.
I rode the 12 most northern miles today, starting in Kintnersville. There the trail is single track, entering Reigelsville it is mostly single track. No more than a foot wide. For people like me who like to look at the scenery, I have to keep my eyes on the road here. Much to see, too. Houses and a cafe on the canal in Reigelsville. North of there, the trail width varies but generally expands as you go north. In Williams Township at (northern crossing) Canal Rd., there are quick steps you'll need to go over. Within 5 or 6 miles of Easton (the trail's northern terminus) the trail is five feet wide mostly to the end. Not as beautiful, of course, as the section from Morrisville to New Hope but nice nonetheless. Reaching Easton, you can go west on the Lehigh River Canal trail where it's paved at the start. Recommended with caution using a hybrid. Some may prefer a mountain bike. But it is suited for a hybrid as well. Passersby are polite and courteous. It's isn't rocky or rough. A very scenic and peaceful stretch of the D & L Delaware.
Rode from New Hope south ~8 miles, then over the bridge to loop back up the Jersey side. Overall, very pretty. The PA side is much nicer than the NJ side. Trail was lightly trafficked on a Monday afternoon. Dirt/stone path was well maintained. Easy to follow. Drove ~1 hr for the ride, it was worth it. Looking forward to checking out more of this trail.
We rode from Tinicom Park south to the Lumberville pedestrian bridge then from New Jersey rode north on the D&R to Frenchtown crossing over to Route 32 . It was a. Dry short ride to Uhlerstown Road and back to the Delaware Canal trail. 21.77 miles total. Conditions on but th trail were great. Loved this section. Restaurants along the way you can really make a pleasant day of it
My husband and I rode our first section of trail December of 2015 from the route 33 parking area to Reigelsville. The D&L from the parking area to canal park is nicely paved and the Canal section to Reigelsville is well maintained just a little rocky at spots but doable with my hybrid. We completed the section from the parking area just south of Reigelsville to Ticonium Park yesterday. The trail was narrow and rocky south of the parking area. There were lots of geese who are naturally defensive of their young along the way. After the 1st half hour the trail opened up nicely and became a crushed red shale. There is a quaint general store where we stopped and had an iced drink and a snack on the way back. The covered bridge at Uhlerstown was beautiful. We enjoyed this section tremendously. Can't wait to complete more of this trail
Just completed doing a bike ride from Tinicum park to the Stockton Bridge, crossed the Delaware and headed north on the rail trail to Frenchtown and then back to Tinicum Park, a total of about 26 miles. The condition of the tow path varied from well groomed and smooth to a more primitive surface the closer we got to the Stockton Bridge. There was a closed section due to a bridge out within 2 miles of the Stockton bridge. You can work around it on the River Road, or cross the Delaware and go over the walking bridge. The sights along the canal path were breath taking. The many Dogwood trees and spring shrubs were in full bloom. In sections it was like a green tunnel! There was no wind so the bloom, bridges, and houses along the was reflected on the surface of the canal. The return path from Stockton has an outstanding surface, hard packed and well groomed.
I rode the trail today from Bristol to Black Rock Rd, which I believe is in Yardey, and then back again. Got turned around once because an overpass but just brought up the map on my phone and saw how it went around. The trail gets more and more beautiful as you head north. Hoping to ride the entire 60 mile trail this summer
I rode 30 miles round trip today between Bristol and Yardley. The trail is rocky in many spots and is probably better suited for a mountain bike, rather than my hybrid Schwinn bike.
The trails stops in several spots between Bristol and Yardley. Sometimes finding where the trail starts back up is not very straight forward.
There were several spots where I needed to get off and carry my bike through rough terrain and a few steep inclines.
Although the canal is scenic in some spots, the trail terrain wasn't super friendly.
Great for hiking, biking. Too narrow and too many dogs off leash if yours is reactive.
My starting point is either Stockton bridge (ride south - east) or Point Pleasant (ride north - west).
Going north from Point Pleasant to Reiglesville
The first 2.75 - 3 miles can be rough. Gravel trail, some holes, once you past this rough patch it's smooth sailing, crushed red clay relatively flat. The trail can be narrow at times, but it is very scenic, with the river/canal in view 90% of the time, some hills, bridges, canal locks, cool houses, farms, animals. You will some other people at times in various spots, hiking, walking dogs, biking...
Going south from Stockton to Yardley
The trail has some rough spots (including gravel, holes and mud) in stretches but for a good part it's crushed red clay and smooth. Around New Hope it's relatively narrow. The trail does end at the south part of New Hope and you need to cross over the street to pick it back up. There are small signs but you need to look for them. The trail is very scenic, you pass over/under bridges, canal locks, cool houses, farms, animals. You will some other people at times in various spots, hiking, walking dogs, biking...
We rode this trail from the South Delaware Dr. parking lot in Easton, PA. We went with the intention to ride the D&L Canal but ended up doing what I believe is the D&R Canal. There are no maps at this location to assist riders. If you go to ride the D&L toward Allentown, the trail is to the left. It starts out paved then eventually turns to gravel. The D&R starts as gravel and goes right along the canal. It is on the right and goes toward Frenchtown. We encountered a sign over 10 miles in, warning us that the path ended in 1.5 miles, reason being it was washed out. It is passable by walking your bikes over but we turned around so I can't say what happens after that point. The trail takes you along the Delaware River. As most canal trails, it is scenic, flat, and easily navigable. I was glad to have my mountain bike, as some sections have loose gravel and rocks. There are a few restaurants along the way but not any stores.
I never give out just one star and have only given out five stars on a couple of trails, so with that said this is one rugged trail. I do round trips so last fall I did the bottom half and last week I did the top half. If you are going to do this trail make sure you read a number of reviews to help make up you mind. This trail is not a walk in the park. I did it on an very old Mt bike with a town an country tire. The north half I should have known better and should been on my 29 in Mt Bike. You do need front suspension as it gets rough and muddy.
I took the Delaware Canal Towpath from Bristol to New Hope. Having never ridden on this trail before, not a great place to start. Right off the bat, the trail just stops at the Levittown Shopping Center.There is no signage as to where to pick up the trail again. No one could help me so I relied on Google Maps to get me over the trail on Bristol Pike. I went over the guard rail and clinbed down the hill onto the trail.
From Levittown to Morrisville, the trail would often end at overpasses and I had to climb down to the railroad tracks and back up to the trail. At one detour, a construction site with large rocks, I had to carry my bike about a quarter of a mile to get back on the trail. Again, no signage. Don't know what I would have done without Googls Maps. I like this type of bicycle ride but I guarantee you, this is not for everyone.
After Morrisville, the trail is beautiful next to the canal. Crushed rock and not very crowded, even though it was one of the first beautifuil days of the season.
Eventually I made it to New Hope where I met my wife and we drove home together.
Did the whole trail on 10.29.14 It was an awesome trip.
I started just south of Bull's Island on the PA side. The PA side is still not quite repaired after the storm damage. Along the PA path are barriers blocking the path to warn cyclist to stay away. But it is clear from the worn-out path around the barrier that many cyclist have elected to simply go around the barrier. I followed suit and it was not a problem for the three barriers I past in the 2 1/2 mile up north toward Frenchtown. I walked the bike over the bridge at Bull's Island to get over to the NJ side of the path. What a surprising difference. The NJ path were a whole lot better and pleasant to ride. Terrain is flat as a pancake for most of the way. The path seemed well maintained and for the 10 miles or so to Frenchtown there is not a barrier in sight. It was simply enjoyable. So take heed and avoid the PA side if possible...Frenchtown is also charming and certainly well worth the trek...Hope this helps.
We rode this trail for the first time yesterday from Easton on south. This is the area that from reports, was previously washed out. After riding on Pine Creek trail (Wellsboro) the week before, this was certainly a rough ride. And, the trail goes down to a single footpath at spots. But, it was thoroughly enjoyable due to the scenery. We are looking forward to riding another stretch in the future.
path is completely open from Easton south. All flood repairs wrapping up as of 8/12/14
We did the first mile or so from the south end. The canal was filled with stagnant water, layered with algae, with trash floating in it, and it smelled like you would imagine. Other than that, the trail was nice a smooth and it was lightly traveled.
Very scenic! Rode from Easton to Frenchtown...and yes, it is fully repaired. There is a crossover at Frenchtown to get to the NJ side or you can continue to New Hpe
Did the first 3.5 miles from the start of the trail, from Jefferson Ave in Bristol to the Home Depot on Levittown Pkwy. Trail very smooth, and we were alone even on a sunny Sunday afternoon. First part through a park, and then later ran parallel to Bristol Pike. Saw an otter, some large snapping turtles, and a heron. But you have to cross Bristol Pike on foot - a bit hairy with kids! and it is not nearly as scenic as the Yardley to Frenchtown section
We started our ride at Wy-Hit Tuk Park figuring that repairs would have been made to the areas that washed out over a year ago. At that point the trail is primarily small stone with a large amount of grass growing through. No too bad, just not what we expected. As we continued to ride, the trail became worse until just above Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area. At that point the trail was much like where we started, so we rode on. A little over a mile past TRRA, the bottom fell out - litterally. The trail became down-right treacherous with a 10 foot drop to rocks on one side and steep drop in to the stagnant canal on the other. My wife and I looked at each other and both said at the same time, "Let's turn around". That was only about 5 miles from were we started. As other have said, start near Black Eddy ans ride south until repairs are hopefully made.
Read all the reviews and decided to pick up the trail at Durham Rd. (Rt. 212) and Route 611 and go south to avoid the bad trail between Easton and Reigelsville. The trail is mostly grass except for a four inch wide crevice that is hard to keep your tires in all the time. About 2000 feet from our starting point there was a severe and unexpected washout. (around Lehnenberg Road and Rt. 32) Very dangerous. My husband took a spill and landed down the ravene on the river side. Avoid this area unless you are a rugged mountain biker. If you must go here then slow down when you see all the blood on the rocks ahead from where he was patched up. * * * * * * * * Instead for a more pleasant experience that even children and older adults will enjoy.....go south more to Upper Black Eddy - specifically Route 32 and Bridgeton Hill Road. One block up from this intersection (on Bridgeton Hill Road) is Homestead General Store and Coffee Roasters. Great place, good coffee, great food, nice people. You can park in the far end of their lot and hop on the trail there. The trail is wider (two bike widths) and has a nice small stone base that is packed hard. It is very scenic and runs to Sand Castle Winery. Lovely homes and benches to rest. After the winery the path starts to get narrow but still a nice ride. About two miles after the winery, at the road called "Bridge 4 Ln.", the path goes back to being as wide as a tire track and grass, with rough stone. Did not go any further. Round trip from the general store and back is about 12 miles.
I have put together my own review of current trail conditions found, while cycling up to Easton just recently. I found this to be a most enjoying ride, and would recommend it to others. Commentary given, along with several photos for viewing, can be found by visiting the article written below. http://longtrailahead.blogspot.com/2012/09/cycling-delaware-canal-towpath.html
We started biking in Easton and went south, which was a mistake. Kinda like riding on riverbed rocks, with patches so overgrown you might be tempted to call it a Deer Tick Sanctuary. Then we reached the washout, which sent us back to Easton. Another day we started at Lock 21 (Durham) (where 212 meets 611) and went north, but after a few miles reached the other washout. While we could probably have walked our bikes along the very narrow wall, we choose not to because of our 6 year old (steep drop). We went the other way down to Lock 20 (Narrowsville), where there was a bridge and some parking. Next trip we went south from Narrowsville and it was the same grassy route with usually a single bumpy stone trail, until we reached Upper Black Eddy, where River road crosses the trail. From there it was a dream ... cinder wide trail and beautiful scenery. (Great parking there too). We went down to the Sand Castle Winery, where there's parking as well. I definitely recommend that stretch of trail. It's some of the most beautiful rail trail I've seen. Today we'll continue south towards New Hope. Will update here when done.
I rode the trail from Easton to Lumberville on July 9th. The section from Easton to Wy Hit Tuk Park Trailhead is in horrible condition, and in one section the trail is completely washed out and cannot be crossed even on foot - so take the road (S Delaware Drive). From Wy Hit Tuk Park south the trail is in pretty good shape. Just before Lumberville there is 100 feet or so of washout, but you can walk your bike across it no problem. If you see my post from May, the trail from Lumberville to Centerville was already in bad condition and may now be even worse. Do what I did and take the footbridge over to the D&R Canal Path in Jersey. Other than these sections the ride was nice with very pretty and varying scenery.
New Yorkers note: there is a bus from Manhattan to Easton (Susquehanna Trailways) that arrives in Easton at 10AM (I took it from Somerville NJ). You can ride the trail 50 miles south to Trenton, and take a NJ transit train back to Manhattan (I took it to New Brunswick). [The bus goes to Jim Thorpe so could make a day of it there too!]
You can read my review from October last year, where the trail was a wonder to ride. Well, lots of flood damage over the winter and Spring. My wife and I rode from the Bulls Island bridge a bit North, then south to New Hope. Some sections you had to walk the bike the surface was so bad.
No idea of condition north of Bulls Island or South of New Hope.
Based on what I saw, there really is no way to get the PA side to last - its just too low. They would have to so much work to protect the path that I imagine they never can do it.
I fell so lucky to have seen the path at its very best last October.
Well 4/13/2011 was the first time i went on the towpath i started in edgley and went to bristol a good 3 milies i liked it but pros with theis trail its not hard to ride at all the cons gota cross roads i had to cross rt 313 on my way to bristol then on my way to morrisville i crossed it 2 times on the way back to edgley then by home depot again so far i like the trail im planning this summer to do the full 60 miles and back so 120 miles i think it be fun as long as the trails are repaired ill do it but if not then ill wait till next year then so as of now
We were excited to finally be able to ride the "loops" again after the flood damage of the last decade. We parked in Washington's crossing on the NJ side and rode up the D&R path to Lambertville where we crossed over to New Hope PA to pick up the Delaware canal path, unfortunately just after the Stockton bridge the trail surface turned to large rocks (no stone dust). We toughed it out for about a mile when we had a flat. Since the flat chewed up time we back-tracked to the Stockton bridge and crossed back to the NJ side and rode the D&R trail back to Washington's crossing. I don't know how far this rough patch lasted but it wasn't fun, we were running 32mm hybrid tires so the trail was passable but bumpy. I remember the trail before the flood and it was as smooth as the D&R on the NJ side
Rode from Easton to Trenton (approx 50 miles) Oct 23 2010. I took an early AM Susquehanna/Trailways bus from Somerville NJ (originates from NYC) that arrives in Easton 9:30AM. Trail is only a few blocks away. The rivers are especially pretty in the AM so snapped some pics, then took off South. For much of the ride, the path straddles a strip of land with the Delaware river to the East and the canal to the west. The surface varies from good to very good to excellent, and generally improves as you go South. The Northern most section is blue crushed gravel varying from pea to grape size - I had knobbed tires but imagine you could do the whole trail with smooth narrow tires too.
As you can imagine, the trees were in full color and the scenery was just stunning the whole trip. I took food and drink with me, but observed many stores and restaurants along the way. There are numerous rest stations, and every stop had a box stuffed with a newly produced brochure/map (which I hope you could find online).
I stopped in New Hope for a coffee (town was packed with people!) then continued on. The northern section is more secluded and less traveled - South of New Hope you see more houses and people. Also, the trail hugs the river more in the North - you often go miles without seeing it.
I took the Bridge Street bridge over the river, then Market street to the NJ Transit station. From there you can take Amtrack or NJ Transit to many places (like NYC) - I went to Newark then back to Somerville.
I was most happy to have found a way to do this "one way" - anyone from NYC could do the same. I concur with earlier reports - overall the NJ trail is probably a better ride but the view in PA is much better.
PS: From Easton there is another trail options - you can take the Delaware and Leigh trail to Allentown and back - I did this last summer. That trail terminates at the start of the canal path. There is a return bus in the PM too.
This trail is great! The scenery is varied and I try to bike it as much as I can. Some parts of the trail make me feel like I’m in Europe with the quaint little restaurants and homes that dot the trail. Other parts of the trail can be remote. I love it!
we rode north from new hope in PA...crossed the frenchtown bridge (exit the trail in uhlersburg - sp ?) ... and came down south on the NJ side ...... 30 mile roundtrip ... scenery is better on PA side, trail is smoother on NJ side......only problem w/PA side is a few miles of huge gravel rocks that make for a bumpy ride and some very low bridges you go under (duck!!!)...exit the trail where it says uhlersberg public access ... ride down the road away from the covered bridge and you'll see the steel bridge to cross to NJ and pick up jersey's trail ..... did it on a warm sunday in september... frenchtown, lambertville & new hope have plenty of places to eat & shop for a break....we saw port'o'johns a little south of frenchtown bridge as we headed back...otherwise no other facilities
Since the tow path has been repaired we have taken the trip along this trail a number of times this year. Starting from various locations, with very easy access and parking, along Rte 611 and Rte 32 from Easton to Tinicom Park. We pick up the trail and head out for 25-30 miles and return. The trail in general is great with a few rough areas that are no more than a bumpy ride. There are places to stop and picnic, and a number of places to pick up basic supplies along the way. New Hope can be a bit of a challenge, wading through the throngs of visitors, on a busy summer weekend if you plan on crossing the bridge to Lambertville NJ. The varying scenery makes the ride very pleasant and allows for some great photography opportunities. A "Job well done" to the folks that made the repairs since the flooding of several years ago damaged many areas of the trail. A bit of caution should be used in areas where you pass under bridges along the trail. Some of these are a bit narrow and have little or no line of site to oncoming bike and pedestrian traffic. To break up the ride, if you so wish to, you can cross a number of bridges over the Delaware to NJ and travel the Delaware Rariton Trail on the NJ side of the river and cross back on another. I look forward to the fall riding this trail.
I have ridden the towpath trail quite a few times in the past few years, mainly south of New Hope. Even though the trail technically starts/ends in Bristol there is no good reason to attempt that as a destination to pick up or end your excursion. The furthest south I would recommend you start from is the off street parking access on E Ferry Rd, just west of River Rd (rt32). It is roughly a 14 mile ride from this entry point to where the path dumps out into New Hope. The route is a magnificent mix of tree lined and shady paths mixed with expansive views of the Delaware River. Currently (as of this review) this stretch is under repair from the storms a few years back so I'm not sure if this entire stretch is officially open but I do know that the path is open from E Ferry Rd to Washington Crossing Park. The path was heavily damaged just north of the park so I believe that is where it officially ends; however, the path is not blocked by any obstructions it's just not going to be the fine crushed stone covered path as is the previous section. From Ferry to Washington Crossing is approx 7.5 miles of beautiful riding and if you can get further north on the path you'll have great views of the river to your right and amazing backyards on your left.
The one thing I have never really tried to figure out, but would love for someone to assist with, is how to pick up the trail again in or around New Hope. Since there is a mule drawn tow path tourist ride there I’m not sure you can use the towpath directly in the town of New Hope. How do you pick it back up to head further north?
I hit the canal path just yesterday afternoon (7/2/09) There is a nifty sign post that tells you how far it is to destinations North, and South. I know Bristol, PA has done some wonderful things with bike trails so I decided that is where I would go. After the trail ended abruptly before it even began, I found myself riding through an auto parts store parking lot, I had to cross Bridge Street, and found myself looking down from a bridge to the continuation of the trail I was just on. I then meandered around the 7-11 parking lot, past several eateries, our new fireworks store, finally I got to the Holiday Inn parking lot, and from there I picked up the trail and journied on. I went under Rt. 1, picked up a little speed, and about 1/2 to a mile from there I looked ahead and saw that about 4 stories above were train tracks going right over what was my trail. So my trip to Bristol was cut short, I plan to try a trip up to Yardley one of these days, I hope I have a little more success.
We tried several times to bike the trail. The top end in Easton where the Canal Museum was is under construction. We traveled south to Raubsville. The trail was washed out there. Our last try was at Durham Furnace. Everywhere the trail was overgrown and/or washed out. As we traveled further south. River Road was closed. We gave up and headed over to Nickamixon State Park where the bike trail is open and beautiful.
"This WAS my favorite trail out of many I have ridden in eastern PA. I rode the Jersey side today because of the destruction of the PA side due to Ivan and was very disappointed. I drove over the bridge from Frenchtown to Uhlerstown to see my old trail and was just saddened by what happened. A good amount of the towpath has been destroyed with bridges crossing over the canal now resting IN the water and massive trees that have flowed downstream destroying the wide, well kept fairly new crosswalks. Just a real sad day today after witnessing the destruction Ivan wreaked.
If I know the DCNR here in PA they will try their hardest to have our trail back by next spring. Even calling the park office this past week to find out if it survived I could tell employees were despaired by what happened. Hopefully we'll see a new and better towpath by spring. "
"We rode from New Hope North to Uhlerstown (sp?) and crossed the bridge to Frenchtown, then came down the NJ side to Lambertville and crossed back over to New Hope. It was a great ride, a bit over 30 miles.
The scenery is great on both sides of the river and it's quite different on the PA and NJ sides. There is one tough spot on the NJ section for anyone with anything longer than a regular bike.
We had a difficult time with the two right angle bends in the wooden walkway with my son'e ""third wheel"" attached to my bike. Tandem's and especially a tow behind trailer would find it really tough. Other than that, it was a great ride that is definitely one to do again."
We were staying in a timeshare at Shawnee on the Delaware River and thought Easton would be a great ride (from the descriptions on this page). For those starting at Hugh Moore Park - follow the signs for the Canal Boat Ride. This is the Lehigh Canal and the very north end of the trail. There is a lock keepers house and museum has well as a boat ride with mules. Follow the canal going towards the green bridges and cross into the other side of the park for access to the trail.
We followed the trail to the Easton Dam. The trail then heads off down the Delaware Canal and the trail is crushed red brick and very well maintained. We rode that way for about 1/2 hour before turning back. We crossed the bridge into Phillipsburg for refreshments. There is some parking at the Easton dam and that may be a better place to start.
We spent a good bit of time trying to figure out which way to access the trail in Hugh Moore Park - there are no signs whatsoever to indicate the beginning of this named trail. We were trying to go north and got stopped by the train tracks and the old cable bridge - gotta buy a compass!! We still had a good day out.
"From reading your site and elsewhere I had the impression that a bicycler can travel from Bristol to Easton relatively unimpeded. Today I bicycled from Bristol to Yardley and had what the French would call “une vraie expédition.” From Bristol to Morrisville, the bike path and canal are intermittent. At times it is necessary to cross highways (and to lift your bike over the guard rails that border the roads) and to find your way around obstacles which block the canal (hills that carry railroad tracks, Highway 1 [isn’t work supposed to be done around that obstacle?]). In some places the bike path simply ends (in a Home Depot parking lot or at a road) and you will need to figure out where it resumes. After one such obstacle in Morrisville, the bike path and canal are pleasant to New Hope (I haven’t bicycled north of there yet). In spite of all of this, the trek is worth the adventure."
"We have biked most of this trail in increments and have never been disappointed as to the condition of the trail and the scenery along the way. Today, however, when we followed your directions to access our last leg of this trail in Easton, we discovered that we were on the Lehigh Canal trail. The Delaware Canal Trail actually starts off Rt 611 South at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware River. You may want to change your directions on your website. We did discover that one can continue on from this point northward and access the Lehigh Canal Towpath in Hugh Moore Park."
"I live in the area and routinely ride the canal. I actually live above Riegelsville, which you pass through on the river. On my way to the canal, I usually pass the Durham Furnace. Cannon Balls were made here during the war and transported down the canal to Philadelphia. It's only about 2 miles from the canal up Rt. 212. It's also where the Durham boats (remember these?) that George Washington used to cross the Delaware at Washingtons Crossing in the dead of winter.
When riding the canal, picture the ice flows in the river and you'll see just how tough a deal it was to gain our freedom. Anyway, back to the canal. This crushed stone trail is ideal for riding and walking. It's maintained quite well and you can actually ride from Easton to Philadelphia with a few detours in New Hope.
Overall the scenery is exceptional with lots to look at. Frenchtown (Uhlerstown on the PA side) is one place where you can cross the bridge to NJ and there are lots of good places to eat AND a bike shop (Freemans) on Main Street. Just ask anyone.
Overall the Delaware Canal is an easy ride with lots to see."
"We'd ridden various other parts of this trail before, but this weekend did Uhlerstown to Easton. This section of the trail is in great shape and the ride is just as beautiful and interesting as other sections of the trail.
If you start in Frenchtown, parking is available right at the bridge. Unfortunately, it's not immediately obvious how to access the trail, as the canal is quite a distance from the river at this point. Walk across the bridge, take a left on River Road and then an immediate right on Uhlerstown Hill road to connect with the trail.
At the northern end, we were pleasantly suprised by the opportunities for a nice lunch in Phillipsburg. Ride through a few blocks of downtown Easton to access the ""free bridge"" across the Delaware. There are a couple of hamburger stands right at the bridge. We opted to go a short distance up the hill; the first building on the right houses Zoota, an excellent restaurant with a creative menu and sidewalk dining. There's also a nice view of the falls from this side of the river. Phillipsburg seems to be experiencing a renaissance, so there are other nice eateries too."
This trail is really beautiful. It's easy to ride and there's great scenery. My only complaint is that the designated parking areas are hard to find. It's worth the effort though!
"The earlier reviews are excellent, but there are a few caveats. There are sections of the path that are quite overgrown, and the extent of their care depends on budget considerations and volunteer effort. Some fairly lengthy sections of the path are at some distance from the river.
The section of the towpath from Center Bridge to the south end of New Hope is still active! Mule teams use the towpath on a daily basis througout the summer. Those are BIG animals - follow the muletenders directions, and watch out for the tow-rope - it rolled under my front wheel and nearly sent me into the canal!"
In April work crews began laying crushed stone between Bristol and Morrisville. This area will be easily passable because of existing barriers but short sections will be useful for local residents. In June the Uhlerstown to Easton section will be resurfaced allowing an easy ride 50 mile ride from Morrisville.
"Since my earlier mini-review, I have hiked the Delaware Canal towpath from Easton to Penn Valley which is over 50 miles of the 60 mile trail. My opinion remains the same. This is one of the finest linear parks I have ever travelled. The surface is always very good for walking and biking. The adjoining grassy areas are mowed frequently. The ""hardware"" of the canal remains for the most part. The canal abounds with ducks, turtles, heron and egrets. Today I even ran into a red fox! There are frequent access points with parking, although most can only be found by driving parallel to the canal.
The canal passes through mainly rural areas, but there are frequent small towns with various services. South of Easton, the only heavily settled areas are New Hope, Yardley, and Morrisville. Many portions of the canal are lined on both sides with homes which range from bungalos to mansions. The trail passes along many farms and one large nursery. Scenery is never boring and trail users are very friendly.
I would highly recommend a trip to this park.
Rates a 9 1/2 out of 10!
"This is a very limited review since I only hiked from the footbridge from Bull's Island in NJ to the bridge to Stockton NJ (3 miles). This section of the 60 mile trail is in excellent condition, crushed stone and packed dirt - wide and smooth. There are rest rooms at key points, many access points, explanatory signs, and great views. This trail sticks very close to the river. There are quaint inns and homes nestled against the canal, and many bridges and canal hardware in place.
This trail for 30 of it's miles is parallel to the D&R in New Jersey across the river, making loops possible by using the six bridges across the Delaware. This is an excellent trail and worth a trip.
So far - rates a 9 out of 10!
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