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In 2017 the borough of Northampton added a single mile of asphalt to the nearly 6-mile Nor-Bath Trail, effectively extending the use of the trail by more than 100 miles in eastern Pennsylvania by connecting it to the D&L Trail (Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor), which winds through the Delaware and Lehigh Valley for more than 140 miles.
The Nor-Bath Trail follows the corridor of the Northampton and Bath Railroad, a short-line rail line that ran 8.5 miles between those towns for 77 years to serve the local cement industry’s connection to larger rail carriers. Northampton County acquired the corridor after it fell into disuse in 1979 and built the trail to encourage self-propelled travel between parks, schools, and historic centers along the way.
Northampton is part of a populated area that stretches down the Lehigh River to Allentown and Easton. Until 1982, it was home to Atlas Portland Cement, which was used in building the Panama Canal. The trail—mostly asphalt in Northampton and crushed stone elsewhere—passes through residential neighborhoods and a wooded corridor that soon crosses farmland on the way to Bath, originally a Scotch-Irish settlement founded in 1737 that’s now home to a cement company of its own.
Starting on the bank of the Lehigh River, the Nor-Bath Trail shares a trailhead with the D&L Trail at the southern tip of Canal Street Park. From the trailhead, turn right onto Canal Street, which curves left onto West 10th Street, to pick up the paved trail in 0.1 mile at Main Street.
It passes the government center that includes the Atlas Cement Co. Memorial Museum, the Northampton Recreation Center, and Atlas Sports Complex before crossing Clear Springs Drive and entering a wooded area. You’ll pass through outlying suburbs of Northampton and open farmland before you arrive at Bicentennial Park in about 3.3 miles, where you’ll find restrooms, pavilions, playgrounds, tennis courts, and athletic fields.
The trail takes you across more open farmland for another 1.9 miles to Jacksonville Road. The trail dead-ends about 0.7 mile ahead near the Keystone Cement quarry. A shoulder along SR 987/Race Street goes into Bath, 1.7 miles from the Jacksonville Road crossing. A right turn onto Jacksonville Road goes 0.6 mile to the Wolf Academy Historic Site, a stone-built school that dates to the 1700s.
A renovation of the trail and its amenities began in the spring of 2019. Plans also call for extending the trail 0.8 mile to Mill Street in Bath, with construction due to take place between 2020 and 2021.
To reach the Northampton trailhead from I-78 E, take Exit 59, and turn left onto W. Rock Road. In 0.2 mile turn left onto SR 145, and go 2.0 miles. Continue straight another 2.1 miles, as the road changes names from S. Fourth St., Basin St., S. Third St., and finally American Pkwy. Turn left onto Sumner Ave., and go 0.8 mile. Turn right onto N. Sixth St., which merges into Mac-Arthur Road in 0.2 mile. Continue on MacArthur, which rejoins SR 145, for 2.7 miles. Turn right onto Lehigh St., go 1.2 miles, and then continue onto Eugene St., which turns into Cypress St. Turn left onto Fourth St., and go 1.3 miles (note that Fourth St. turns right and becomes Main St.). Turn left onto W. 10th St., which turns right and becomes Canal St. Look for parking at the endpoint, to your left. Another larger parking lot is 0.3 mile farther along Canal St., to your left.
To reach the Northampton trailhead from I-78 W, take Exit 60B to merge onto SR 145 N. In 2.8 miles, continue straight onto S. Fourth St., and follow the directions above from there.
To reach the trailhead in Bath from I-476, take Exit 53, and keep right to merge onto US 22/Lehigh Valley Thwy. Go 11.1 miles, take the SR 512 exit, and turn right onto SR 512/Bath Pike. Go 3.3 miles, and turn left onto Jacksonville Road. Go 0.6 mile, and look for parking on the right. The trail is straight ahead. Turn right on the trail to dead end in 0.7 mile, or turn left to go to Northampton.
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