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In celebration of PA Trails Month, the DLNHC Team will be sharing some of our favorite spots along the D&L Trail! We’ll also be mentioning some of the other trails we like to use throughout the Corridor. This is a long one, so we’ll get right into it.
The Delaware Canal Region of the D&L Trail spans approximately 59 miles from the southern terminus in Historic Bristol Borough to DLNHC’s headquarters in Easton. In this region, you’ll find an interesting mix of pastoral lands that stretch for miles before the vestiges of Bucks County’s industrial past and present begin to make way.
Mile 0 – Mile 25, Bristol – Yardley – New Hope
Historic Bristol Borough native Don put it best when describing this section: It is representative of much of the Delaware and Lehigh Canal, with urban, rural, industrial, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities throughout. He appreciates the fact that he has such easy access to enjoy biking and hiking with his friends, family, and dog Buddy (who loves the water!).
D&L Trail and Stewardship Manager Liz couldn’t agree more. From Yardley to New Hope is her favorite section. She says it’s fantastic for wildlife viewing, especially birding. It doesn’t hurt that both towns have various spots to stop for a bite to eat either.
Mile 31, Lumberville
It’s true that MM0 – MM25 offer a lot in the way of history and activities, but Andy thinks Raven Rock Bridge in Lumberville is the place to be.
You can see the wing dam in the Delaware River, the wild rivers edge of Bulls Island in New Jersey, the historic village of Lumberville, and the cultural, dining destination of the Black Bass Inn. But the largest impact is the visual and physical connection of the Lumberville – Raven Rock Bridge and the American flag calmly flowing with the wind.
This portion of the D&L Trail is part of a larger section that connects to the 9/11 Memorial Trail. The 9/11 Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that link the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, VA, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA. You can learn more about this trail here.
Mile 53 ~ Mile 49, Wy-Hit-Tuk – Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area
Approximately 5.7 miles away from the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers are locks 22 and 23, also known as Groundhog Lock. The Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area to Durham Aqueduct section is home to some of the more pastoral areas in the Delaware Canal Region. It also contains Shelley’s favorite portion of the D&L Trail: a loop from Groundhog Lock to Trauger’s Farm Market.
It’s a scenic, easy 10-mile round trip with a perfect stop halfway at Trauger’s Market to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables or something to drink.
Speaking of loops, the Delaware Canal Region has more loop trails between PA and NJ than any other region in our Corridor. With six different bridges across the region, numerous loop combinations with the D&R Trail can be made that range from 7 miles to 60!
Sharyn’s preferred loop involves walking from the beginning of New Hope Borough to Center Bridge, crossing the river into Stockton NJ, walking back on the New Jersey side to Lambertville, and crossing on the free bridge back into New Hope.
You can find out more about the Delaware Canal Region’s Loop Trails here.
The Lehigh Valley is home to the three most populous cities within the Corridor: Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. This region can be considered the heart of the American Industrial Revolution, producing much of the raw and natural materials that powered the nation. The evidence of heavy industry can be seen as you travel along the D&L Trail.
Although this may be a bit biased coming from us, the National Canal Museum spur is an excellent section of the D&L Trail. It showcases the rich industrial heritage of the Corridor. It also allows visitors to experience various modes of transportation, with the Lehigh River on one side of the island and the canal on the other, trails for walking and biking, a railroad just across the canal, and paved roads throughout.
D&L Volunteer and Events Coordinator, Anna, and D&L Diversity Research Historian, Rachel, both newcomers to the Easton area, consider the Hugh Moore Park spur their favorite section. Anna appreciates being able to take work breaks on the D&L Trail. Walking along the towpath and visiting the locktender’s house is a perfect respite during the lunch hour.
And Rachel thinks visiting the park is a lovely start to any weekend. She enjoys being able to walk in the greenery in the morning before hitting up the Easton Farmer’s Market.
~MM 66 – MM 71, Farmersville Rd – Bethlehem
Amongst DLNHC staff, the D&L Trail from Farmersville Rd to Bethlehem is the most popular spot for biking!
Kathleen, D&L Director of Advancement and Marketing, has fond memories of the Farmersville Rd section. She bikes it frequently with her husband and enjoys the opportunities for birding. Kathleen and her husband also had their first date walking along the D&L Trail in this section, so it holds a special place in her heart.
D&L Conservation Coordinator Brit has gotten into the habit of biking to work. She loves that she can get to work using pure pedal power. In the process, she’s gifted with views of the canal, Lehigh River, green trees, seasonal butterflies, and other community members enjoying the outdoors by foot, bike, and boat.
Similarly, D&L Director of Trails and Conservation Mandy also loves the ability to hop on the D&L Trail near Sands Island, using it to ride to the office in Easton. Her family enjoys this section because of the playground, as well as the number of fish they can catch in the canal. They will often pack lunch and picnic on Sand Island, then ride their bikes to Easton for ice cream at OWowCow or Bank Street Creamery.
MM 71 – MM 75, Bethlehem – Allentown
Moving on from Bethlehem to Allentown is Chris’s favorite section of the D&L Trail. He enjoys going on a run from Canal Park in Allentown into Bethlehem along the Lehigh Canal. It is shaded and peaceful, with the canal on one side and the Lehigh River on the other. What really excites him about this section are the trains that run alongside the canal.
Walnutport is one of the few sections of D&L Trail with a working lock accompanied by a restored locktender’s house. This section is D&L Historian Martha and D&L Education Manager Whitney’s favorite section.
Martha likes traveling from Main Street upstream to the ruins of Guard Lock No.3. A lot of the canal is more like a wetland there, so you can see a lot of birds and aquatic wildlife with the sound of the Lehigh River always close by.
And Whitney loves the locktender’s house and the vibe of the D&L Trail. It’s peaceful, calm, and the perfect mix of nature and history.
This section is also the turning point for the 2022 D&L Heritage Half Marathon Run/Walk. You can learn more about the DLNHC’s biggest fundraiser for the trail here.
MM87 – MM94, Cove Rd – Slatington – Lehigh Gap Nature Center
Closing out the Lehigh Valley Region is D&L Communications Coordinator Gianna’s favorite section of the D&L Trail. From MM 87 to MM 94, the trail is flat and continuous with little damage. The cliffs along the trail showcase a lot of the geological features present within the region (namely slate) and make for an interesting walk year-round. Although, the tree coverage makes for a uniquely picturesque scene during the fall.
The Anthracite Region is the gateway to coal country – at least in the Corridor. This region contained the largest deposits of anthracite coal in the world and fueled much of the American Industrial Revolution. Additionally, the two counties that make up this region, Carbon and Luzerne, also contain the most forested and wildlife areas within the Corridor. It’s always an adventure in the Anthracite Region.
MM 102 – MM 108, Weissport – Jim Thorpe – Glen Onoko
Carbon County is the first in the five-county Corridor to have a fully connected section of D&L Trail. It’s no wonder it’s a popular choice! From Weissport to Jim Thorpe especially, is a frequent first choice for trail users both old and new.
D&L Executive Assistant Loretta thinks the trail is particularly peaceful as you ride along the stretches of river and canal. D&L Facilities and Maintenance Manager Tim likes to travel a bit farther north through Lehigh Gorge State Park into Glen Onoko. The mountains are close, ensuring scenic views all around.
And Sierra does it all – riding from Glen Onoko through Jim Thorpe down to Weissport. She loves this section because you get to cross the Lehigh twice, so it has beautiful river views. Ken even had a college bike ride with some of his college friends on this section of the D&L Trail.
MM 140, Black Diamond
Last on our list is Black Diamond! This is Michele’s favorite segment of the D&L Trail.
The Black Diamond Trail begins at the top of a mountain where she lives and has a slow grade downhill for almost 10 miles into White Haven. Because the grade is easier to hike and bike downhill, it’s a favorite for all ages and levels of activity. The trail is lined with a variety of foliage most of the year. Wildflowers are peppered throughout the bushes and trees and in winter there are bright berries among the pines. But the gem of the Black Diamond Trail is the appearance of Moosehead Lake near the fifth mile. The D&L have set up picnic tables along the trail so you can sit and “rest” overlooking the lake. Untouched by any signs of humans other than the tables and a small fence, the lake is still and calming – a nice pause for any activity.
The five-county Corridor that makes up the DLNHC is truly blessed with an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. These are some of the team’s favorites!
In the Delaware Canal Region, there’s the Circuit Trail system, Nockamixon State Park, and the trails that call Silver Lake Nature Center home.
In the Lehigh Valley, the Karl Stirner Arts Trail is popular, as well as the Saucon Rail Trail, the Ironton Rail Trail, and the hiking networks within the Trexler Nature Preserve and Jacobsburg State Park. We can’t forget to mention THE LINK either, which works to connect all major trail systems in the Lehigh Valley.
Up in the Anthracite Region, the Switchback Trail is a tried-and-true favorite. The trail system in Hickory Run State Park is also a popular hiking trail.
Of course, there are plenty of smaller trails that serve us well in our day-to-day lives, too. Small biking trails and walking paths created by community efforts; they may not have well-known names but they’re great all the same!
Although we might not all have the same favorite section, it’s almost impossible with over 165 miles to work with, there is one thing that we can all agree on: the D&L Trail is a treasure in Eastern Pa. There’s always something new to explore, and with an ever-expanding trail, there is an ever-expanding community behind it.
Happy PA Trails Month everyone! Even if it’s not on the D&L, we hope you can all take some time to get outside to connect to nature, the environment, and the communities that are foundational to every great trail!