Delaware Canal State Park
The only remaining continuously intact canal of the great towpath canal building era
Stroll through a stretch of American history at Delaware Canal State Park, a 60-mile linear park along the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol. Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the towpath is used today by people looking for exercise and recreation.
Joggers and cyclists embrace the historic canal and towpath, and nature enthusiasts enjoy the wildlife that thrive on the many miles of river shoreline and 11 river islands.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of fun on the water, too. The river and canal that the path follows offer ample opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
In the early 1800s, when America was growing rapidly, canals were used as a principal way of transporting natural resources to urban areas. When completed in 1832, the Delaware Canal connected with the Lehigh Navigation System at Easton and helped to develop the coal industry in the Upper Lehigh Valley. These canals provided a convenient and economical means of transporting coal to Philadelphia, New York and the eastern seaboard.
As railroads became a more efficient means of transporting goods, it became increasingly difficult to profitably operate canals. The last paying canal boat completed its journey through the Delaware Canal on October 17, 1931. On the same day, 40 miles of the canal were deeded to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The canal, whose original features are almost completely intact, is a Registered National Historic Landmark, while its towpath is a National Recreation Trail.
You can camp on the New Jersey side of the river in the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. Get there by crossing any one of five bridges along the path. And you might want to check out the Lock Tender’s House Visitor Center in New Hope for a ticket on a mule drawn canal boat ride.
State boating and fishing regulations apply. Portions of the park remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Ivan and a flood. The park closes at sunset. Alcohol is prohibited and pets must be leashed.
Travel back in time on board a river boat with the Delaware River Canal Boat Company. They offer unique, river tours aboard a replica canal boat drawn by a team of mules on the Delaware Canal through historic New Hope and into the scenic Bucks County countryside. Experience life along the Delaware Canal as it was in the 1800s.
Try stopping in New Hope, a quaint river town with several historic bed and breakfasts, for fun shopping and delicious restaurants
Support the Park
Contact the park office to reach volunteer groups like Friends of Delaware Canal, the Historic Delaware Canal Improvement Corp. and the Delaware River Greenway Partnership.