Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail


19 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Cecil
Length: 1.8 miles
Trail end points: Lock Street (Chesapeake City) and Michael Castle Trail at the Delaware/Maryland state line
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 8584269

Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Description

Maryland's Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail links to Delaware's Michael Castle Trail; both run along the north bank of the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal and meet at the state line. The combined route takes travelers from the historical, quaint canal town of Chesapeake City to Delaware City.

The trailhead for the C&D Canal trail is located on the trail's western end at the base of Lock Street in North Chesapeake City. From there, the paved pathway runs along the waterfront for 1.8 miles to the Delaware border. The trail is named after U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, whose efforts made the trail a reality.

The C&D Canal was dug in the early 1800s and widened in the early 1900s. It is overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Chesapeake City boasts charming boutiques and several exceptional restaurants. The city also provides a free ferry service from April through October to the south side of the community located on the opposite side of the canal. On this bank, you'll find a delightful and important museum about the canal. Be sure to check current ferry schedule and rates before planning your day.

Parking and Trail Access

Take Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) to Maryland Route 213 southbound. It's approximately 6 miles to the entrance of North Chesapeake City. Do not cross the Route 213 bridge over the canal. Turn left into the entrance and follow Lock Street to Biddle Street. Follow the signs directing trail-goers to parking. The trailhead is located at Lock Street and the C&D Canal.

Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreational Trail Reviews

Ben Cardin C&D Canal Trail

Great Trail with a seemless connection to Delaware’s Michael Castle Trail Paved the entire route, and “car width” wide. Parking at the Chesapeake City end is under the MD213 bridge. (The new paved lot mentioned in previous reviews is for the restaurant). Make sure it is not windy on your ride day. The canal is very wide and there is no windbreak, so a good tailwind turns into a terrible headwind on the way back. There are a couple switchbacks to get elevation gain but those are only for about 50’ of gain. Ice Cream shop right of the trail in St.GeorgesDE.opens the end of April.

Ben Cardin C & D Canal recreation Trail

Officially, this Maryland trail is only 1.8 miles, perfect for the fine folks of Chesapeake City or tourists to take a stroll out to the state line with Delaware and back. In fact, as I sat on the deck of the Ship Watch Inn across the canal from the path's trailhead the evening before I rode it, I saw so many people doing just that.

The 3.6 miles round trip is perfect for walkers since it is flat, quiet, and picturesque. When I started my bike ride the next morning at sunrise, all I encountered were runners and friendly dog walkers.

However, those of us on bikes aren't going to stop after two miles, so be sure to combine this with the Delaware portion of the canal trail for an additional twelve miles.

AND . . . don't stop after those twelve miles. Since you've already gone that far, continue across 5th Street in Delaware City into the park and then bear right toward Canal Street to travel another mile or so to historical Delaware City, Battery Park, and Delaware Bay! Total round trip of thirty miles.

WARNING: If you decide to continue on to Delaware City, there are three hills on Delaware's Ben Cardin Trail. Thank goodness for my Swytch pedal assist!

Blue Heron Trail

This short trail connects to the Michael N Castle Trail which adds over 12 miles to the ride. See the comments with the same title. Nice scenic trail, not overly crowded or difficult. Great for kids. Safe. Lots of benches to sit and enjoy the boating activity on the canal.

New trail head parking lot in Chesapeake City

There is a newly opened nicely done parking lot at the Chesapeake City trail head one block up from Schaefers Restaurant.
Nice fully blackedtoped trail, two hills, but the rest very flat.


C & D Trail

This is really a 15 mile trail 30 miles round trip. It runs from Delaware City to Chesapeake City. The Ben Cardin is the short MD part and the Michael Castle is the DE part. If it was not for a sign you would not know you were going from one trail to the other at the state line. It is well paved and in very good shape. I few good hills where it had to take a detour for one reason or another, but not many. There is a short road (More Like a Parking lot) section when you go through a marina. That is the sharp turn on the map. There is another short road section in Delaware City but only because the signs say not to ride on the sidewalk which is really the trail at that point. No traffic at either. The canal is nice, but not a whole lot to see. Worth the trip. Only 4 stars as there was not much to see but the trail itself was great. If I lived near I would ride it a lot.

C&D Trail

Great easy ride to from city to city. Bring water and sunscreen along with light snacks. There are restroom facilities along the trail and benches for rest.

Great Trail!!!

Beautiful, paved, flat ride along the canal with ample resting spots. Parking and getting to the trail was a little awkward and dangerous sharing a narrow busy road with vehicles for about 1/4 mile. Be careful with little ones.

Historic canal, good workout trail, nice breeze off the water

Didn't realize that the C&D and the Castle trail combined to make the 17 mile trail. The sign near Schaefer's Canal House restaurant gave me the impression that all of it was the C&D. Even the map on the trail link site says the C&D is the 12 mile from Delaware City to Cheapeake City. This was my 152 ride (trail) in 47 states.
Wife and I had some great crab bisque and Maryland chowder at Kath's Crab House at the end of the trail in Delaware City.

Nice Paved Trail on the canal

This is a well maintained trail along the canal from Chesapeake City and connects to the Michael Castle trail which goes to Delaware City . Nice views.
The trail is flat along the canal, but there are hills when it leads you inland through the woods (which is nice and shady) and back down to the canal. There is always a prevailing wind which makes more of a workout in one direction. Seafood restaurants on each end of these two trails. Great trail!

Best road bike trial I've been date

This is my primary non-road trail. It's great to get away from cars on a 17 mile asphalt trail. Be on the lookout for loose gravel on the trail that can cause flats.

As others have said, there is limited shade. So, bring water. There are places to eat at both ends of the trial. The marina you bike past, +/- 20 min. from Chesapeake City (western end), now has a newly renovated restaurant with a great beer selection! It's almost like canal biking in Belgium. When the trial ends on the eastern side, keep going until you reach the cute little downtown of Delaware City.

Great job getting these trails connected.

Best road bike trial I've been date

This is my primary non-road trail. It's great to get away from cars on a 17 mile asphalt trail. Be on the lookout for loose gravel on the trail that can cause flats.

As others have said, there is limited shade. So, bring water. There are places to eat at both ends of the trial. The marina you bike past, +/- 20 min. from Chesapeake City (western end), now has a newly renovated restaurant with a great beer selection! It's almost like canal biking in Belgium. When the trial ends on the eastern side, keep going until you reach the cute little downtown of Delaware City.

Great job getting these trails connected.

Spectacular canal trail

Named in honor of the US Senator who secured funding for its construction, the nearly 2-mile Ben Cardin C&D Canal Recreation Trail may be short, but it's scenery is spectacular.

The paved, mostly flat trail stretches along the north shore of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from Chesapeake City east to the Delaware border. It continues into Delaware as the longer Michael Castle Trail, which extends to Delaware City. Notable features include the various maritime traffic that uses the canal, which ranges from small craft like recreational sailboats and speedboats to freighters sailing between Philadelphia and Baltimore, large birds and other wildlife that call the canal and adjacent lands home and the bridge that carries Route 213 high above the waterway at Chesapeake City. After finishing their ride or hike, trail users can treat themselves to a hearty seafood dinner at nearby Shaeffers'. The only drawbacks to this trail a lack of shade, which make carrying bottled water and sunscreen a must in the summer months, though efforts are under way to lessen this problem by planting shrubbery around several benches, and the aforementioned lack of parking. The trail is nonetheless one of the more unique and scenic greenways in this part of the country and is highly recommended for anyone visiting Chesapeake City.


This Trail now links up with the Michael Castle Trail and you can now ride from Chesapeake City to Delaware City with just ONE road crossing. It is one great ride and is beautiful from one end to the other. My only negative is the powers to be in Maryland have not built a trail head or parking. On the Delaware end the State with the help of DelDot have built three trail heads with parking and restrooms.

wheelchair friendly but

The trail itself is nicely paved BUT the parking is about 1/4 mile away and crush and run, the travel between parking and trail is on road and not flat, there is no shade and no rest benches for the first half mile. These don't seem like a big deal till you are pushing a 250 lb patient in a wheelchair.

C & D - Nice Trail

Have done this trail on my road bike using 700x23s with almost no problems. One small section(50feet)on Maryland side with round river stones. Got off bike and walked it while heading west. On the way back, tide had risen (maybe 6 inches of water depth)over that section. Decided to slowly ride through and had no problems. Small climb (near the marina)about half way which is a nice change and got the blood pumping. Like starting and finishing in Delaware City and eating at Crabby Dicks. Be sure to stop at the grave yard and read the stories.


This trail is complete and the link to Michael Cardin trail is now paved so you can ride 11 miles along the C and D Canal. This is exceptionally scenic and if lucky you will see ocean going ships and water birds. You can also lunch at Schaeffer's Canal House and have their delicious crab cakes. The trail starts right at their parking lot.

Finish the final segment

I love this trail and the Mike Castle trail. It is almost 100% paved, but that section that isn't paved makes it difficult to take a road bike all the way through from Delaware city to Chesapeake City. I'm honestly not sure if the unfinished part is in Delaware or Md. I'm pretty sure its in Delaware. I have mountain biked and run this section. It's great for half marathon training. If they ever finish it, it will be AMAZING for road biking.

Most scenic trail in the region

Parts of the Delaware side are under construction but those segments are months away from completion. Once the C&D Canal will be a major destination connecting all the way to Delaware City and beyond as there is seasonal ferry service to Pea Patch Island, DE and Fort Mott, NJ. Chesapeake City is a delight, especially lounging at Shaefer's Canal House on a warm sunny afternoon.

C&D to St Georges

I tried the trail last weekend it was my first time most of the trail is smooth asphalt, the trails connects to another trail in Delaware that follows the canal. There are two sections under construction that are smooth gravel, no issues if you have a cross trainer type bike. I took the trail to St Georges the trail goes almost until Delaware City. There is a rest stop with parking that takes you to Cock neck Road to ride into Delaware City, it has a nice bike lane.

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.