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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.
The gravel surface is so deep it is hard to ride. The trail is otherwise just OK. Not much to see. With a proper surface it would be 4 stars.
We rode the Ironton Trail in the morning and the Nor-Bath in the afternoon, it would have been nice if there were a more clear path (or even roads) to connect the two trails. There looked to be an access trail under the Coplay-Northampton bridge but it was very well blocked off.
Very nice trail, but there are surface changes. From paved to blue fine gravel to a more limestone surface that had more friction. Once out of Northampton the trail is very straight and lots of shade. Railroad grade down toward Northampton.
The Nor Bath trail is a great but short ride. Beautiful farm land surround the trail. The trail also runs through beautiful parks. The only downside of the trail is the busy roads you have to cross. Not for younger riders because of this. But a very enjoyable ride
I started in Bath and worked my way to Northampton. The trail was fun. You need to be careful crossing the roads on this trail. It’s well marked and the newer part leading into Northampton was really well done. I ended up going across main st in Northampton and hooked up to the D&L trail heading north.
West side of Savage Rd was completely impassable w. a trike. All of the other gates near the road crossings were at an obnoxious 90 degrees, and some of those were so tight that I banged at least one mirror. (I get the need to make the gates block motorized vehicles, but trikes?)
On the bright side, the trail is VERY WELL shaded, and 2 connecting parks have restrooms: Bicentennial & Wayne A. Grube. The later is quite pretty, and was very surprised that my car was the only one in the parking lot, late on a Sunday morning.
As mentioned, the street crossings are a little rough, and one had broken glass.
It was a quite and easy ride on a flat trail. There were mostly bikers. Saw a few rabbits as well. Needed to cross a few streets though.
very smooth and flat trail. i wish it were just a bit longer it's only 5 miles so it's more of a walking trail.
I did the Nor-Bath trail today in 85 degree heat but the trail is so shaded, it felt like 70 degrees. If you are looking for a nice, flat trail, then this is it. There were a few elderberries but the wild raspberries were gone. The only down side (and it's very minor) is that at the north end, the trail just ends in a small loop. I understand there are plans to extend it to Bath, but with the big Keystone Portland cement plant in the way, that's going to be tough. Other than that small nit, nice job, Northampton County!
This is a straight flat trail, with that said I had a nice ride and it was very windy and with the great tree line it broke up that wind. I did this round trip in just under an hour. this is a very family friendly trail with good shade and not to long a ride. I would not to way out of my way to do this trail but I did two others in the area and had a great day.
If you like your trails straight and flat this is the one. The packed gravel makes for a nice ride or walk. With shade trees practically the entire length this is a good trail for those hot sun filled summer days. The length is fairly short for a good ride maybe 11 miles round trip. The three bridge crossings could use some tlc, don't hit them to fast as the ends are a bit washed out. Easy access to Bicentennial Park right off the trail at about the halfway mark. A short access trail in Northampton leads to new park for the kids located on Willowbrook Rd.
I live in east allen township and I use the trail for jogging. I've been using the trail for about 14 years and every year it get's worse. The small gravel stones have been getting washed off the trail every time we have heavy rain. Now there's ruts there from the bicycles which isn't their fault. They keep adding new trails, but don't take care of the old ones.
We have travels this trail many times. The surface is somewhat spongy which makes harder than you would think for the distance traveled. What we like the most about it is most of the time there are raised sides to the trail and there are lots of bycyclist. It makes it seem like a road for bikes more so than some of the other trails we have ridden on. There are some nice places along the way. The end near Copley is a hill down.
The trail is decent. I'm an intermediate rider and tried it with my mountain bike today because it was probably the last nice day of the year. The trail was recommended by a friend. The medium is crushed stone that has been weathered a bit - there are a couple spots of bare soil, prone to mud and tire tracks. The interruptions as previously mentioned, are a big nuisance. There are 3 total crossings that they instruct you to de-bike and walk across. The last one isn't bad, but the first two of the roads are fairly busy 45mph, 2-lane roads, Weaversville Rd. and 987 (Airport Rd.) You can wait up to a couple minutes before it's safe to cross. In my opinion it would be better to just stay on bike - stop and cross that way as that is faster than walking (unless you run across). The trail is about 4.5mi from 10th St (Savage Rd) in Northamton to a 'dead end' in bath. It just abruptly ends with a wooden fence and the Keystone Cement Plant in the background. There is one 1/4 mile segment that is very uneven and bumpy that with the shade, you cannot prepare or see the bumps coming. I think it's between Weaversville Rd and the park.
A good point is that there is that 'Bicentennial Park' about 1/3 of the way, that you can turn in right off the trail and ride around on paved path for another mile or so. It is a nice very well maintained park that has tennis courts, ball fields and pavilions for picnics. There were a few people flying RC planes while I was there, so it's a good park with a lot of land, if your into that. I'd recommend starting in Northampton due to the ample parking and better access there. There are mile markers and a few benches along the way.
I usually ride the Ironton Rail trail, sometimes the DL Canal trail North and South, but decided to try this trail. I really didn't notice any grades, to me it seemed fairly flat. It is a good trail for just walkers or people out for a casual ride. There are trees around and the trail space is wide and clear, the actual stone path is about the width of a large car for the most part. I live about 5 miles away, but I wouldn't recommend travelling far just to ride this trail. Fairly short for me - probably could have went twice back and forth. I think that's about it. Good luck.
Be aware this trail is more difficult if your coming from Northhampton. If you like to get the work done first as I do, come up into Bath because all the grade is in that direction. So when you turn around, the trip back is a breeze. not a whole lot of scenery, but it is nice. There is a nice park along the way (Bicentenial) so if you have kids, you can stop and let them play, while you rest up. Most of the trail is recessed, so the views are limited. Some farm country and a few bridges, but that's about it.
This trail is not for someone who likes to ride long uniterupted distances. There are many road crossings that ask you to get off your bike. Made for an inconsistant ride having to get on and off the bike.
"A fine trail but a disturbing trend of changes, sand and cinder surfaces are now hard blacktop, it's more intensively maintained with increased popularity and use. All those wildflowers have been mowed down to make wide flat boring lawn verges, goodby to the butterflies, bees and birds - it's a lot like biking down the interstate highway lately, no more tranquil country lane, so peaceful, woodsy and benignly neglected. Heavy use and intensive mowing make it seem like a commercial & industrial artery (for the recreation industry)."
"You are missing out on a flat stretch of gravel biking/walking path! Although the length is short, if you start at Bicentennial off Colony Drive and head to the Northampton side, you can visit Atlas Cement, and if you make two left turns off the trail, pass the Rec Center, make a left onto Main and a right at the next light. That's ninth, which you'll then cross the Lehigh River into Coplay. Make a right at that light and watch for the Saylor Park signs, which is at the Ironton Rail Trail! A great way for novice or experienced bikers to view two terrfic trails at the same time! It's a long trek though, so I can't recommend walking from one to the other..."
Can't wait for the Atlas columns to adorn the new trailhead! What a fitting monument! (see pictures for the columns)
This is a very well maintained trail offering beautiful views of many adjacent farms and parklands in the Bath area. There is easy parking and the trail can be found at Bicentennial Park in Bath. My only complaint about this trail is that pets are not permitted.
"This trail is only about 4.5 miles long, running from just north of Jacksonville Park to Northampton. The only truly legal parking is at the Northampton trailhead, and in Bicentennial Park at about the mid-point on the south side of the trail. The surface is hardpacked crushed stone and i great for walking and biking, but equestrian use is now prohibited. The trail is completely level, and the side grass is mowed regularly. Wildflowers line most sections. It is a very attractive trail, but would be nicer if it were longer.
Rates a 7 out of 10!
I was running on this trail at least 10 years before it officially became a rail trail. The trail is in great shape and is ideal for an easy run or bike ride through the rural farmland.
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