Travel the D&L Trail between Jim Thorpe and Easton and you’ll notice a distinct change in the land’s character. Mines, breakers, patch towns, and other signs of the coal industry are replaced by covered bridges, mid-18th-century German villages, elegant Victorian houses, and the rolling fields of Pennsylvania German farms.
You’re now in the Lehigh Valley, the heart of “where America was built.” The Lehigh Valley produced the literal building blocks of our nation; slate, zinc, and limestone for cement were processed here, while iron and steel fueled local economies and impacted industrialization around the world.
Distinct industrial and cultural communities like Walnutport and Slatington resulted from the influx of laborers on the Lehigh Canal and railroads. A bit farther south, the region’s three largest cities – Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton-became the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution, due in part to the strategic significance of Lehigh and Delaware Canals.
Lehigh Valley’s unique combination of towns, cities, and farmland continues to shape the region. Today, the D&L Trail follows the canals in linking communities, economies, and landscapes of the Lehigh Valley to its Northern and Southern counterparts.