Delaware Canal State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:Delaware Canal State Park, Solebury, PA
Hours:Sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: Free
Contact:
Bathrooms: At Virginia Forrest Recreation Area, Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area, and park office
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at bathrooms
Map:

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks (click on Find a Park)
 


A 60-mile-long park along the historical Delaware Canal and the forested Delaware River offers many options for hiking, biking, paddling, or fishing.

Delaware Canal State Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Delaware Canal State Park is a 60-mile linear park that follows the Delaware Canal’s mule-barge towpath along the Delaware River. From below Easton to above Morrisville, the river is largely undeveloped. Along the length of the park, the level, compact-surface towpath is stroller-friendly and provides excellent opportunities for easy hiking and biking (with thick tires), most of it in a beautiful, natural riverside landscape. Along the park’s northern section, five river bridges connect to the Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal State Park on the New Jersey side. The park also links to state and local parks and recreation areas along its length.

Visitors can gain access to the park from many points. A good starting place is the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area at mile 29, about the midpoint. From here, you can walk or bike on the towpath and enjoy great views of the wide river, which is bordered by woods and cliffs in this section. Make an 8-mile loop by going north about 2 miles to Lumberville, crossing the river on the Roebling pedestrian bridge to Bulls Island State Park in New Jersey, then going south on the D&R Canal path to Stockton, crossing back to Pennsylvania at Centre Bridge, and returning to Virginia Forrest. It’s a short, easy bike ride for kids. Walking this loop is easy but long; you can shorten the trip by going to the pedestrian bridge and back. This bridge itself is great fun. It’s a miniature version of a suspension bridge and provides the thrill of standing above the river with your feet in two different states.

At Virginia Forrest and elsewhere along the canal are put-ins to the Delaware River, appropriate for families with paddling experience.

Numerous other points of interest are along the canal. At the path’s start in Easton, visit the National Canal Museum in Hugh Moore Park, where you can take a ride on a canal boat and learn about its history from costumed interpreters (fee charged). In the lively river town of New Hope is a visitor center where you can learn more about the canal’s history, or visit the headquarters of Friends of Delaware Canal, which sponsors many programs and offers detailed information on hiking, biking, and paddling around the canal. Near Upper Black Eddy, Giving Pond Recreation Area is a small pond with easy trails and paddling. Near Washington’s Crossing, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve has easy trails through woods.

An enormous variety of programs are offered through the state park, from boating instruction to wildlife classes to nature walks. Call ahead for details.

Remember: Dogs must be leashed. The canal is not always deep enough to permit boating; check with the park office before setting out.

Plan B:

In Easton, visit the Easton Dam & Fish Ladder to see how shad running upstream get over the dam.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Bring water and snacks. You may pass through small towns where you can get supplies, depending on which part of the canal you are on.



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