D & L Trail - Lehigh Canal South

Pennsylvania

D & L Trail - Lehigh Canal South Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Lehigh, Northampton
Length: 13 miles
Trail end points: E. Walnut St. (Allentown) and Hugh Moore Park (Easton)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032318
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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D & L Trail - Lehigh Canal South Description

If you feel like a stroll down the lazy river, then this is the trail for you. This peaceful trail follows the canal and Lehigh River for almost its entire length. This trail offers a variety of path surfaces—wide paved asphalt, wide crushed stone and single-track packed dirt. And its meandering route through the trees makes it delightful. You'll likely see lots of geese and ducks, along with some canoes and kayaks, in the canal.

The 150-mile Delaware and Lehigh Canal Navigation System, built from 1817 to 1845, brought anthracite coal from the east central portion of Pennsylvania to various parts of the East Coast. With the building of the canal, several canal towns sprang up. There is interesting history along this trail: Easton hosted one of only three public readings of the Declaration of Independence, and during colonial times, the Liberty Bell rested secretly in Allentown. In the future, all 150 miles of the canal system, from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol, will be converted to trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the trail in Allentown, take U.S. 22 East and exit at Airport Road. Follow Airport Road south for about 2 miles, until it becomes Irving Street. Follow Irving Street 1.25 miles to Hanover Avenue. Go right on Hanover, which becomes Hamilton Street. Turn right onto Albert Street. At the stop sign, turn right, cross the railroad tracks, bear left and follow the canal through a small railroad underpass. Turn right at the fork then immediately left on the other side of the canal. Follow to a small parking area and entrance to the trail.

To access the trail from Easton, take U.S. 22 to the 25th Street South exit to Lehigh Drive, turn right and go 0.5 mile to the stop sign. Turn right and cross the old green Glendon Bridge. Then go right and follow the signs to the trailhead and picnic area.

D & L Trail - Lehigh Canal South Reviews

Starting at Hugh Moore Park (where the Delaware canal trail ends) in Easton. Parking there is safe and secure. The first 5 miles going west are paved (there is an alternate 'high road' of gravel in the second mile for a half mile). Crossing the Lehigh River and in mile 6 you may lose your way. You'll need to go downhill through a parking area to pick up the trail. It is not marked. This next mile or so is the narrowest and roughest but not awful. The remaining 10 to Allentown is mostly wide and smooth crushed stone. I averaged 15 mph through there. It narrows a bit through Bethlehem and a couple of single tracks until Allentown. All in all, it's an easy trail to recommend.

This was a 23 mile ride which takes you passed an old factory, rivers, lakes, fishing areas, countless riders, runners.

This was a great actual trail. While the path was smaller than others in the area it was more visually striking with the lehigh river next to you. It was like an adventure in the wilderness. The trail was busy as well.

Accordion

This was the first time my wife and I used this trail. We parked at Canal Park (which was rather hard to find) and took the trail from there. We ate a packed lunch at Sand Island and enjoyed a view of the Lehigh River while we ate. As we continued into Bethlehem the trail was the same easy ride with views of the river as we biked.

I will say that we ran into some pretty "interesting" people as we traveled through some of the sections. My wife commented that she would not use this trail in the evening if she was traveling alone.

I would recommend checking to see if there are any events in Allentown/Bethlehem area before you ride. We got detoured because of the Musik Festival that was going on. On our way back we stopped and walked around and enjoyed all the booths and food they had to offer. We parked our bikes at a free monitored bike parking which was really nice.

Good trail - good time

We rode from Bethlehem town center all the way to Easton and back.
There are several pick nick places along the route and the path is in good shape.
Easton has a nice town center with lots of shops and eateries.
The town has an iPhone and Android app that you can download to find places of interest in Easton. Very helpful!
All in all it is a nice ride

We live in Bethlehem, PA and can access this trail easily. It runs along the river and you would never know you're in a large city as you travel along. It is a mostly-flat trail and generally well-maintained. You will pass wild berry bushes (we've picked enough to make jam in the summer!) and see people fishing or rolling their tubes along towards a path leading to the river. It's generally not too crowded, but we try to pick early AM or early evening times to best enjoy it. This is also a dog-friendly trail. There are benches along the way if you need to stop and rest, signs pointing out historical markers and sites as well. We truly enjoy having this wonderful trail so close to home.

Love biking and walking the trail. Very scenic and an easy walk. I am writing this review to forewarn people from parking at the Allentown entrance to the trail. My car was broken into twice while I was walking at this entrance. Take my advice and drive to the sand island entrance in Bethlehem. I have never had a problem leaving my car at the the Bethlehem location.

My sister and I went out to find some trail and found this app to help. This place was beautiful. There wasn't much snow so it was easy to walk and enjoy the nature. We went by 25th street to park and it was great!

Rode this trail on Friday August 16. Was a great and mostly easy ride except for the hill in the Hugh Moore Park near the boat launch. Started at Sand Island and went to the Delaware Canal State Park. Not sure how far that is. A very scenic ride. Be sure to pack a cell phone or a camera for pictures. Be careful on the bridge crossing the Lehigh River. The bike lane going across the river is not very wide and if someone is coming the other direction AND you get too close to the rail it will tear up your forearm as it did mine.

My husband and I rode the trail on Friday. It was well maintained and an easy ride. Beautiful views and just an all around pleasant day. About 16 miles each way.

My husband and I biked this trail last weekend and were thoroughly delighted by it. Most of the time you'd never know you were in a metropolitan area: we were surrounded by peaceful woods, the canal, and the river. We parked in Bethlehem and biked to Easton and back. Trail surfaces were varied, but all were easy to ride on. I highly recommend it!

I have traversed the entire length many times. It is both an oasis within two cities (Easton and Bethlehem) and a easyily navigated route for all family members. Multiple easy access points and scenic vistas. Highly recommended.

I live in Allentown, just a few miles from the trailhead, and ride this trail often. It is a nice mix of surfaces and scenery, although sections of it can get washed out (and have downed trees across the path) after heavy storms. It's usually fixed/made passable fairly quickly, but does remain muddy, so I wouldn't recommend it shortly after heavy rains. It's mostly flat with no large/long hills. There is one small road crossing, and an area where you ride on a non-busy road for maybe half a mile, but any cars I've ever encountered there have given me a wide berth. Along the different sections there are cyclists, runners, people out walking their dogs, and folks fishing. Some dogs are off leash, and while most people look out for cyclists and leash/control their dogs when bikes approach, some do not. People are generally friendly and I've never had any negative instances after years of riding this trail.

Allentown to Sand Island, Bethlehem: This section is about 4.5 miles, mostly gravel with some dirt. It follows the river on one side, the canal on the other, and there are train tracks and a train station on the other side of the canal. It's nice scenery, but my least favorite part due to the LOUD SCREEEEEEEECHING of the trains as they come into the train yard. I do not recommend parking here--I have never had a problem and have never felt unsafe, but a friend of mine recently had her car broken into (rock through the window) and her wallet stolen from the center console as she was walking her dog. She also found evidence of drugs in the surrounding brush as she was looking to see if the thief tossed her wallet aside. It's worth it to drive a few miles to park at Sand Island.

Sand Island to Freemansburg: About 2.5 miles long. As you finish the Allentown section of the trail, you will come across Sand Island park. If you exit the trail at the road crossing, turn right onto the road and then immediately left, you will enter the parking areas for the park. There is a water fountain at the playground area if you need to refill. You can re-enter the trail either by going across a bridge on your left immediately after the playground area, or you can continue straight through the parking areas (passing basketball courts and tennis courts on your left) and pick up the trail again, dead-ahead (you will need to turn left and go over the bridge shortly after getting back on the trail and going down a slight, very short hill). This section starts off as gravel (which is sometimes a bit loose, but rideable, when they spread fresh gravel on it), turns into single track dirt at spots (mostly 2 single tracks of dirt, so there is no problem if someone is coming the other way), then into wider dirt areas with some rocks and roots (nothing major, just watch where you're going). This is a nice section. The Sand Island area is one of the main spots for Musikfest, a very large music festival that is held every August. They do block off a part of the trail during that week, so avoid this part of the trail the first week in August. Right after Sand Island, the trail runs along the backside of the old Bethlehem Steel complex. Very cool mix of the old history with the old buildings that are still standing, and areas that they have converted into casinos, concert venues, etc to revitalize the area.

Freemansburg to Easton: About 6 miles. After you pass through the dirt/rock/root area in Freemansburg, the trail turns again to gravel. There are a few picnic benches/tables here if you want to take a rest. This part is very nice--the gravel surface is well packed, it's well shaded, and you're again riding alongside the river for much of it. There are one or 2 rope swings in this area, so there are sometimes groups of kids/teenagers making the path a bit crowded in summer in areas along this section. At the end of this gravel section (about 3.5 miles), there is a fenced boat club on your right. At this point, turn left, then almost immediately turn right (before going under a bridge). This section is dirt, about a mile long, narrow, and can get overgrown in the summer. At the end of this part is a boat launch area. Go up the very short but slightly steep hill and you're in a parking lot. Go to the right through the parking lot and you will pick up the paved trail. Keep going about 2.5 miles and you're at Riverside Park, with ball fields, pavilions, and rest rooms.
***Shortly after getting on the paved trail past the parking lot, the trail has an option to turn left. This is a separate trail that goes up for about 1.5 miles (about a 4% gradient??) and then goes for a few miles into Palmer Township. It's an okay trail, but it crosses a bunch of roads and also is very bumpy, with a lot of root growth under the pavement.

Riverside Park to Easton: About 3 miles. Once you pass the ball fields in the park, you can either turn right and cut down through the parking lot, or go straight to the road (it looks like the trail continues straight across the road, but it ends very shortly after the road). Turn right onto the road (if you go through the parking lot, just follow it around to the left and it dumps you out onto the road) and go a short distance on the road until you come to a bridge on the right. Go over the bridge, then take your first left and you're back on the trail. This section is part pavement, part gravel/dirt. The pavement isn't smooth as silk, but it's not horrible. There is also a short section here that splits off to the left (going towards Easton) but it does reconnect with the main trail after a short distance. You will wind up at the Easton trailhead, where there are some picnic tables and, I believe, a water fountain. Not sure about bathrooms, honestly.

The D & L Trail does continue past Easton, but for the first few miles at least, it is large gravel and a bumpy ride. Overall it's a nice and fun trail without being challenging, and it is maintained pretty well. The scenery and surface changes make it fun to ride. There is also a great bike shop a few blocks away from the trailhead in Easton (Genesis Bicycles) if you need anything (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), and if desired, you could roam around Easton a bit and find someplace to grab something to eat/drink within a few blocks of the trailhead.

Apologies for the length of this, but I know it's not marked well in spots and hopefully this helps :-)

The entire length and back is more like 30 miles as a previous reader stated, more like 15-16 one way. After a five hour ride I can attest to that one.

Two miles from Easton the trail leads onto a wooded stretch of mainly dirt/mud and rocks and then coming out onto a small paved road where one can get confused as to where to pick up the rest of the trail. At that point cross small bridge, stay to the left and the trail will become newly paved asphalt.


Claudia Cocco

First of all I did ride from Allentown to Easton and I can tell you it is more then 13 miles it is more like 16. This is a very nice ride, lots of shade and it is in very good shape with just a few areas that where not up to my high standards. I only saw one road bike on my ride, a cross or hybrid would work well, I did it on an older Mt bike with a town and country tire. This would be a great family ride as there is a lot of shade. Lots of historical markers but by and large the trail is not well marked. Coming into Easton it is very confusing. At River View Park you take a hard right on to Lehigh Drive for about 4 tenths of a mile and a right onto 25th st bridge and a hard left at the end of the Bridge. Most of the ride you are between the Canal and the Lehigh River so it is a beautiful ride from one end to the other.

This was a mostly well-maintained trail with great scenery along the Lehigh River and a great pit stop on Sand Island in Bethlehem (even found a Gatorade machine at the tennis club there). The trail is a little confusing at first (starting from Easton)...paved for about 3 1/2 miles then to a single track dirt trail (it's flat)along the river, but you have to find it at the bottom of the boat ramp. Once that section ends, you come out at the Bethlehem Boat Club and must head towards their gate to find the continuation of the trail, which becomes wider again. There was storm/flood damage near Freemansburg, but many alternative dirt bike trails have been formed. I would consider using Sand Island in Bethlehem as a starting point...ride one way, then turn around and go the other way.

Today my daughter & I biked the entire length of this trail/towpath from Canal Park in Allentown to the confluence of the Lehigh & Delaware Rivers. The leaves are a bit past their peak but the weather was unbeatable for this time of the year.

For the most part this trail is in excellent condition. The notable exceptions are some bad washouts between Lehigh Canal Park near Freemansburg and the point at which the trail passes under the Rt. 33 bridge.

Hi - I occasionally mountain bike between the Allentown canal park the start near where the river makes an eastward turn. I have been going to near the Rt. 378 area (where Musikfest takes place) and then back. Today, I went further eastward and decided to turn back around the Hope Rd. near the Bethlehem Boat Club, just short of Rt. 33.

First thing, if it has rained in the past week, forget about going on the trail, because it gets very wet and muddy. To go, the trail needs to be dry, but it is a nice trip. The medium is some parts stone, some dirt, occasional sand and some clay. The part between the Rt. 378 and a few miles east, you will go past a park with tennis courts and picnic tables, then the trail becomes a little narrow and a little rough. At points, passing other bikers coming the opposite way is very close. There are also some tree roots going across the path that make it bumpy in this area. Then the trail becomes rather smooth on stone or dirt and gets a bit wider. There is nice scenery at spots - the Lehigh River, can see the new Casino that used to be Bethlehem Steel and also the Bethlehem Steel ruins.

There is a rail yard and eventually a rail main line that goes across the river at Rt 378 for those interested in trains.

Wish there would be more mile markers though. I had to ask oncomers as to how much further until a major landmark. But overall recommend this trail. Next time will do the complete trail to Easton probably with a friend.

Had a nice Saturday. Parked in Easton at Hugh Moore Park (where the D&L meets the Delaware Tow Path). The trails starts out asphalt and apparently ends at Hill Rd (one lane bridge to your right, park straight on). Go over the bridge and turn left - go about 1/4 mile on Leigh Drive (sparely traveled). DO NOT GO STRAIGHT INTO THE PARK - that path dead ends (ask me how I know this). After the road dog-legs go to the left. TAKE A GOOD LOOK AROUND - on the return you do NOT want to go straight across Leigh Dr as I did, and get lost, like I did!)

The trail is now a combo of D&L and Palmer Township. At one point I went right, following the Palmer trail by mistake. If you go through an arch and see a steep include, you are doing what I did! Continue on straight instead.

At one point there is a pedestrian bridge on the left to an island - you can take that now for a diversion or pick it up about a 1/2 mile further on when returning (I missed it). You can get food/drink in Bethlehem - perhaps in other small towns on the way.

Once out of Palmer township the trail becomes dirt and fine gravel - condition was very good. When in Bethlehem, the trail was marked as closed due to a music fair (other rider told me this happens every year, just go through the gate when no one is around. No apparent reason for the gate either.

During the last mile you pass a large railroad yard - it was interesting. You can also see what I assume is an old steel mill - sad reminder of our manufacturing past. There were some river views - but mostly brush obscures it - I imagine that early spring or late fall would provide better views.

Sadly there are virtually no markers or blazes - I got lost three times as mentioned above. My odometer was at 41 miles when I got back to my car - it should be about 19 miles each way.

I had a nice day, met a few people on the trail, and enjoyed my day. I'm sure others will enjoy this trail too!

This is quite a nice trail. Lot's of variety of scenery and surfaces along the way keep it from being a dull grind. The listed mileage seems to be off a bit though. Had to turn around at 13 miles because of rain rolling in but was only to about a mile past the D&L Trail/Palmer Township Rail Trail intersection. The trip to Easton is probably more like between 15 and 16 miles - at least.

I live in Beth Twp and grew up walking this trail regularly. It has matured nicely into a great ride between Allentown and Easton. I have also been impressed with the friendliness of the people I meet there. Some trails feature the die hards who look down on the casual riders but I have never met anyone on this trail who was anything other than great.

My husband and I enjoyed a beautiful ride on 1/8/08 on that glorious spring like day from Allentown to 25th St near Easton. With the exception of the dirt parts of the trail being a bit "soft" due to the freezing and thaw of the season, it was a wonderful experience. It was a quiet trail for the most part and hard to believe at times that there were three cities so close by. Our favorite part was the section between Freemansburg and the Bethlehem Boat Club...it ran so quietly beside the river on a well drained, hard pack dirt/gravel surface. Truely a winter treat!

"This is an excellent trail that in some respects is better than the Delaware Canal. If you like variety, you'll like this one, as it varies from wide paved, to wide crushed stone, to hard-packed dirt singletrack.

It's also more woodsy, and meanders a bit to avoid the monotony of some straight-as-an-arrow trails. You'll also avoid paralleling the road with this one, which is nice.

The Delaware has a more consistent surface, and more readily available amenities. If you can live without those attributes, you'll get a more ""away from it all"" feeling on this trail.

Contrary to some other posts, I wouldn't characterize this as a ""mountain bike"" trail. It's easily done with a hybrid. However, because some of it is dirt, I'd avoid it for a couple of days after a rainstorm."

I've ridden this trail twice in the past week (12/20 miles). It's bettter than I expected. I'm planning to ride the whole loop this week.

Simply a great ride.

"I hiked the towpath from the Delaware at the junction with the Delaware Canal to a point just west of the end of Hugh Moore Park where the towpath seems to be crowded onto an active railroad ROW. The trail is in very good condition, varying from paved to hard pack to grassy. A mule drawn canal boat plies the inner section of the canal and rides are available. Most of the accoutrements of the canal are still in place. A fish passageway has been built where the Lehigh River meets the Delaware at a dam. Many active railroad lines parallel the canal and traffic is frequent, both long freights and sections to be assembled into larger trains. At the Delaware, there is a triple set of RR trestles (which out number the road crossings!)

There are numerous picnic areas within the park and water fountains and restrooms are available. Parking is plentiful. This is a very scenic, historic and peaceful area!

Rates a 9 out of 10!

Fred"

You can access this from Hamilton Blvd in Allentown (Rt 222). As you cross the bridge follow the signs for CANAL PARK and you're right there. From Allentown it is as wide and nice as the nicer parts of the Delaware canal towpaths near New Hope - It does get narrower later but it is still quite smooth. As you approach Hugh Moore canal Park (~ 12 miles from Allentown) it becomes paved.

The trail may seem to end here by a softball field but go towards the river and down the road about a 1/4 mile and take the bridge across the river and you are on the trail again - goes all the way to easton ( if you head down stream)(go upstream to barge rides and snack concession). In another 3-5 miles the trail hits the north end of the PA delaware canal tow path. This trail is less crowded and nicer than a lot of the Delaware canal towpath.

The trail does split and rejoin is some spots so remember which way you came if you are doing an out and back ride - its not too confusing though. pobably not that great for a road bike but just fine for any mountain bike - its all flat. Probably in the Top 3 of mellow Mt. bike rides to do in East PA.

"If you'd like to find this trail from Bethlehem, it runs right alongside the park on Sand Island. Just look on any Bethlehem map for New Street - the island stretches right under the New Street (Fahey sp?) Bridge. This section of the trail is beautiful. It has historic markers, and fairly substantial remains of the locks. Sand Island makes a nice rest stop too! Watch out for fishing in the canal. There's a mountain biking ""playground"" about a mile towards Easton, but please be careful - if you get hurt it may be awhile until you're found. The surface in general goes from smooth to rough quickly, so road bikes may want to slow down."

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