Kingston Branch Loop Trail

New Jersey

8 Reviews

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Kingston Branch Loop Trail Facts

States: New Jersey
Counties: Somerset
Length: 1.75 miles
Trail end points: Main St./Lincoln Hwy/SR 27 (Kingston) and Georgetown Flranklin Trnpk. CR 518 (Rocky Hill)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016561

Kingston Branch Loop Trail Description

The Kingston Branch Loop Trail is a trip up one side and down the other of the scenic tree-lined Delaware and Raritan Canal. The eastern half of the loop follows the bed of the Rocky Hill Railroad and Transportation Company, which began operation between Kingston and Rocky Hill in 1870. The remainder of the loop travels the dirt and gravel canal towpath.

From the parking lot on the north side of State Route 27/Lincoln Highway, the crushed stone rail-trail travels 1.75 miles to State Route 518/Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike. Walk across the bridge over the canal on the narrow sidewalk, and turn left for the return trip south on the canal towpath.

The entire route is tree-lined and remains fairly cool on even the hottest summer days. With the peaceful Delaware and Raritan Canal in view at all times, you will bear witness to its popularity with boaters, birders and anglers. Canoes, kayaks and small craft with electric motors are permitted along this section of the watered canal. Bass, sunfish, perch and annually stocked trout are just some of the fish in the canal.

On your way back to the trailhead on Route 27, take time to explore the restored Lock #8, the locktender's house and the site of an old mill. The charming village of Kingston contains five historic districts worth exploring for an afternoon.

Parking and Trail Access

From US 1 take Ridge Road west to Kingston. At the SR 27 traffic light turn left. Proceed approximately 0.25 mile, and turn right into the parking lot.

Kingston Branch Loop Trail Reviews

some sections are muddy

It rained four days ago. I’d much prefer the paralleled D&R trail for biking. Otherwise very scenic.


I have no idea way it is listed as being 3.7 miles and then under the description it is listed as 1.75 miles and that is the real miles. With that said I did a round trip on the D&R canal trail and did this nice little loop. It has a single track feel and has very little traffic. It has a great stone dust surface and a great canopy. I would not go out of my way to do this trail but if you are in area put this on your hit list.

RR history

(The Rocky Hill RR actually began operations in June 1864....)

Nice Lunchtime Hike

This trail was completely flat, mostly gravel lined, and easy to hike. There is one bench for resting on each side, roughly half way between end points.

Although the views are great with water the whole way and water on both sides for one leg, there is constant road noise from nearly roads and a quarry.

Overall, this is a great, natural feeling trail.


Went there a 3 yrs ago in the spring nice walk with some interesting historical spots and scenery. Was very muddy on one side of the loop. We had to do a lot of jumping and ballet moves to avoid puddles which took away from it. Hope they have filled in those low lying and dug out areas since. The higher side was in perfect condition so you could always just stay on that side of the canal and you wouldn't be missing out on anything. Mostly dog walkers there. Would imagine it to be nice and cool on a hot day.

Nice alternative to the D&R trail

I'be been parking at Griggstown and biking 10 miles to Plainsboro, half on the canal, half on bike lanes in the Forrestal Village. Using this on the way home adds some diversity to the ride. Its well maintained - in fact you could argue the gravel is better for biking than the standard D&R material.

"The ""Other Side"" of the Canal"

"The Kingston Branch Loop Trail is somewhat of a misnomer. In actuality, the “trail” consists of nothing more than a round-trip route using both sides of the D&R Canal between Route 27 in Kingston and Route 518 in Rocky Hill.

The canal towpath is located on the canal’s west bank and an abandoned railroad line is located on its east. As you might expect, both trail segments are totally flat. However, the rail trail’s surface is composed of slightly finer ballast than the canal towpath’s and is a completely different color.

For some reason dog walkers seem to prefer the rail trail; perhaps the large parking lots located at both ends might be the reason.

Regardless of which side of the canal you should choose, expect basically the same views and travel experience."

A Rail Trail with a loop!

"This trail can be ridden or walked as a loop since the railroad ROW follows the east bank of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, while the towpath follows the west bank. Both surfaces are in excellent condition and are amply wide. Parking is available in abundance at both ends, and historic markers and informative signs are strategically placed.

An excellent feature of this loop is, although it is relatively short - just under 4 miles, since the canal towpath extends for miles in both directions, a hike or ride of any distance may be accomplished. Expect to meet many walkers, joggers, dog-walkers, bicyclists, and even an occasional equestrian. This is a very scenic and relaxing (completely level) trail.

Rates an 8 out of 10!


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