Delaware & Lehigh - About

We inspire connections in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L) is both a nonprofit organization preserving the historic pathway that carried coal and iron from Wilkes-Barre to Bristol to fuel America’s Industrial Revolution, and a multi-use trail spanning 165 miles from the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania through Bucks County. Today, the D&L Trail connects us to our industrial heritage as well as health and wellness, nature and the environment, and more than $250 million in economic impact.

The Corridor traverses through three distinct areas: the Wyoming Valley and Carbon County, home to many of Pennsylvania’s former anthracite mines; the Lehigh Valley, where the discovery of coal to the north spawned prosperous iron and steel industries and the Delaware Valley, through which coal-laden canal boats traveled to Philadelphia and other markets. Today visitors can explore by car, boat, bike or on foot to enjoy the scenic beauty and cultural heritage of eastern Pennsylvania.

The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor was designated a National Heritage Area in 1988, when it became one of 55 National Heritage Areas to tell the “vibrant story of the nation’s evolution and culture.” National Heritage Areas or NHAs are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Through their resources, NHAs tell stories that celebrate our nation’s diverse heritage.

We connect you to distinct experiences in nature, community and economic development, health and recreation, history, preservation, and education.

The D&L is a true public-private partnership. Passionate residents and volunteers work alongside local, regional, and national entities to conserve cultural and natural resources in the five-county region of eastern Pennsylvania. This is a nationally significant historic transportation route that traverses railroads, canals, rivers and trails.

Since 1988, when Congress established the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, we have worked diligently to preserve and revitalize historic places and landmark towns, conserve green space for public use, document and interpret our heritage, celebrate our community and region, and create partnerships and programs for long-term sustainability.

Our Towns

The towns that are situated along the D&L National Heritage Corridor are some of the most beautiful, historic places in America.

Scenic canal and river towns such as New Hope are now artists’ communities filled with shops and B&Bs, attracting a wide range of visitors. Bethlehem, originally a Moravian settlement, endured the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel and is now emerging as a leading arts and cultural city, with a charming historic district and lively dining and arts scene. Coal mining towns, such as Lansford in the north, remind us of what literally fueled America during the 19th century. Levittown, on the other hand, fulfilled the dreams of suburban home ownership during the 1950s. Jim Thorpe, one of the most beautiful towns in America, now attracts history and railroad buffs as well as outdoor enthusiasts who paddle and raft its river and bike its trails.

Many other picturesque and walkable towns also span the region and all are worth a visit – for a day, a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation. See full list for more details.

Things to Do

Take a hike. Or ride your bike. Tour a town. Find your D&L!

The D&L Trail has a presence in every community along its 165-mile path, and our easily accessible trailheads create meaningful experiences for our users on a daily basis.  From the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania through the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County, the D&L connects people to places, and helps form lasting relationships and opportunities to positively impact the region.  Find your D&L!  Each region is unique and offers diverse ways to experience and celebrate eastern Pennsylvania’s most vibrant Corridor. Ride the only mule-drawn canal boat in the state, paddle a river, hike a trail, visit a museum, ride your bike, go fishing, grab a bite to eat, listen to music, take a walk, or just take in the scenery.  It’s here for you.

Our Programs

As the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor evolves, we develop a variety of programs–each one helping us to carry out our mission in the community of connecting people to Industrial Heritage, Nature & Environment, Economic Development, and Health & Wellness.