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The famous Appalachian Trail intersects the D&L Trail at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, in northern Lehigh County. AT thru-hikers can use the D&L Trail to access stores and accommodations in Slatington and Walnutport to the south or Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, and other towns to the north. Day hikers can use the D&L to access the AT and the ridge of the mountains, for a different perspective on the Gap.
This is a historically important section of the Appalachian Trail. The 102-mile section between the Lehigh River and the Susquehanna River was completed by the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club of Reading in 1931. During the late-1920s, the 35-mile section of trail between the Lehigh River and the Delaware River was completed by the Blue Mountain Club of Easton, under the direction of early-AT proponent and Lafayette College chemistry professor, Eugene Bingham. This section was called the Skyline Trail until its incorporation into the AT. Currently, the Philadelphia Trail Club maintains the Trail between Smith Gap and Lehigh Furnace Gap. More recently, the historically beloved section earned the scorn of comedic travel writer Bill Bryson, who lamented the defoliation caused by Palmerton’s zinc plant and described his run-in with one of the plant’s guards.
The connection between the D&L and the Appalachian Trails creates truly impressive hiking opportunities reaching across a third of the state. The work of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and various hiking clubs (under the direction of the Keystone Trails Association) to preserve open spaces and historical sites along their respective trails has also ensured that the scenic and cultural beauty of this region will be preserved.