Delaware Canal State Park

Quick Facts

Delaware Canal State Park

Pennsylvania

(610) 982-5560

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The 60-mile Delaware Canal is the only remaining continuously intact canal of the great towpath canal building era of the early and mid-19th century. Today, the canal retains almost all of its features as they existed during its century of commercial operation.

Mule drawn canal boat rides and the Lock Tender's House Visitor Center are at New Hope. A walk along the 60-mile towpath is a stroll into American history. At 330 miles in length, the Delaware is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi River and serves as a major migration corridor for birds and the American shad. The park maintains six public recreation areas with shoreline access to the river. Of the many islands in the river, eleven are protected as the Delaware River Islands State Park Natural Area. The 65-mile segment of the Lower Delaware River and selected tributaries are part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems. This designation recognizes free-flowing rivers with exceptional natural, recreational, historical and cultural resources. Paralleling the Delaware River between Easton and Bristol, this diverse park contains an historic canal and towpath, many miles of river shoreline and eleven river islands. Delaware Canal State Park also has two designated state park natural areas - Nockamixon Cliffs and River Islands. From riverside to farm fields to historic towns, visitors to Delaware Canal State Park will enjoy the ever-changing scenery along its corridor.

Map of Delaware Canal (PA)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.388890, -74.963710

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoeing is popular in the canal, on the Delaware River and at the Giving Pond Recreation Area. Canoeists can launch from public access areas in PA and NJ to enjoy the water trail which includes scenic views of River Islands and Nockamixon Cliffs natural areas. Water Trail users will enjoy viewing wildlife along a major migratory route for raptors, waterfowl and songbirds.

  • Bird Watching

    With its combination of shallow waterways, river islands, green spaces and cliff faces, Delaware Canal State Park offers an abundance of habitats for birds and other wildlife. At least 154 bird species call the Delaware Canal home. Birds often sighted along the canal include: herons, doublecrested cormorants, osprey, bald eagles and a large variety of songbirds.

    The Bird ID trail at the Giving Pond Recreation Area offers an opportunity for beginning birders to learn to identify some of our most common bird species. Natural Lands Trust and Bucks County Audubon Society also participate in birding programs at Delaware Canal State Park.

  • Bicycling

    The 60-mile long Delaware Canal towpath runs from Easton to Bristol and is a National Recreation Trail. Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the towpath is used today by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, cross-county skiers and bird watchers.

  • Fishing

    The Delaware River contains many species of game fish including American shad, striped bass, smallmouth bass and walleye. Shad migration starts in early spring. The Delaware Canal also contains a variety of warmwater game fish.

  • Hiking

    The 60-mile long Delaware Canal towpath runs from Easton to Bristol and is a National Recreation Trail. Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the towpath is used today by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, cross-county skiers and bird watchers. Together, the Delaware Canal State Park and the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park have formed a series of looping trails connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, using five bridges. By simply parking in one of several areas located along the loop trail, visitors have easy access to the canal towpaths in both states, and can ride, walk of jog a complete loop back to their car. Loop trail connection bridges are in the Pennsylvania towns of Uhlerstown, Lumberville, Center Bridge, Washington Crossing and Morrisville. The 30-mile stretch of parallel trails with five connecting bridges allows visitors to choose among 11 different options of loop length and distance. Each loop will lead you through quaint towns, scenic river views, and wooded in-lands. A perfect extended weekend could be had in riding the loop trails by day and staying overnight at one of the many bed and breakfasts along the way.

  • Historic Sites

    Delaware Canal State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.

    The visitor center in the poplar destination of New Hope gives insight into the history of the canal, and serves as the headquarters for the Friends of Delaware Canal. While at the visitor center, take a mule drawn canal boat ride to learn about life in the canal in the 1860s.

    The visitor center under development near the fish passageway at Easton will focus on the stories of the Delaware River, including natural and cultural history. Staff will be available year-round to provide educational programming.

  • Horseback Riding

    The towpaths are popular with horseback riders.

  • Hunting

    There are two areas open to archery deer hunting only, the Giving Pond Recreation Area and 22 acres south of PA 532 in Taylorsville (Washington Crossing).

  • Picnicking

    Picnic facilities are located at most parking areas. Some particularly nice spots for a picnic are: Easton Dam, Riegelsville, Durham Furnace, Lumberville, Virginia Forrest Recreation Area, Black Rock Road (Yardley), Morrisville, and Bristol Lagoon.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Wildlife abounds, both in and around the canal and river, and sightings are frequent. A white-tailed deer might bound across the path at any moment, or a majestic blue heron glide past on its way to its favorite fishing grounds. Delaware Canal State Park is home to many animals, including: beavers, opossum, bats, otters, woodchucks, skunks, mice, voles, rats, deer, muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders, turtles, and many types of fish. There are also over 90 species of birds and many more that migrate through in the spring and fall.

    The Delaware River also serves as a major migration corridor for birds and the American shad. Shad are a migratory fish species that return to the places of their birth each spring. The annual shad migration begins in early spring, usually when the water temperature reaches 55 or 60° F. The migration finishes in May or early June.

  • Winter Sports

    In winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers use the towpaths.

Directions

Driving

There are numerous access points along the 60-mile length of Delaware Canal State Park. The park follows the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol, paralleled by Pennsylvania Routes 611 and 32.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(610) 982-5560

Links