Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail In New Jersey

Here is everything you need to know about the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New Jersey
  • Length: 60 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail holds a significant place in the history of New Jersey. The canal itself was constructed in the early 1830s as a transportation route between the Delaware River and the Raritan River. The project aimed to provide a direct waterway for the transportation of goods and materials, particularly coal, from Pennsylvania to New York City. The canal was a major engineering feat of its time, stretching over 66 miles in length and featuring 14 locks to navigate the varying elevations along its route.

Construction of the Delaware & Raritan Canal began in 1830 and was completed in 1834. The canal played a crucial role in the economic development of the region, facilitating the transportation of coal, lumber, and agricultural products. It also served as a vital water source for the industries and communities along its banks. The canal’s success led to the growth of towns and villages, as well as the establishment of industries such as mills and factories that relied on the canal for transportation and water power.

However, with the advent of the railroad in the mid-19th century, the canal’s importance as a transportation route declined. By the early 20th century, the canal was no longer economically viable and fell into disuse. In 1932, the Delaware & Raritan Canal was officially abandoned, and its ownership was transferred to the State of New Jersey. Recognizing the historical and recreational value of the canal, the state transformed it into the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, opening it to the public in 1974.

Today, the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers. The trail follows the path of the former canal, offering visitors a chance to explore the rich history of the region. Along the trail, remnants of the canal’s infrastructure, such as locks, spillways, and stone bridges, can still be seen, providing a glimpse into the past. The trail also passes through picturesque landscapes, including forests, meadows, and wetlands, offering a serene and scenic experience for all who visit.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Trenton: The trail begins at the southernmost point in Trenton, New Jersey, near the intersection of South Warren Street and Hamilton Avenue.

2. Bordentown: Located approximately 7 miles north of Trenton, the trailhead in Bordentown is accessible from Park Street and Farnsworth Avenue.

3. Roebling: About 3 miles north of Bordentown, the Roebling trailhead is located near the intersection of Hornberger Avenue and 5th Avenue.

4. Florence: The Florence trailhead is situated near the intersection of Broad Street and 2nd Street, approximately 4 miles north of Roebling.

5. Burlington: Located about 5 miles north of Florence, the Burlington trailhead is accessible from High Street and East Broad Street.

6. Bordentown Township: Situated approximately 6 miles north of Burlington, the Bordentown Township trailhead is located near the intersection of Groveville Road and Crosswicks-Hamilton Square Road.

7. Lawrence Township: About 5 miles north of Bordentown Township, the Lawrence Township trailhead is accessible from Bakers Basin Road and Princeton Pike.

8. Princeton: The Princeton trailhead is located near the intersection of Alexander Road and Canal Pointe Boulevard, approximately 6 miles north of Lawrence Township.

9. Kingston: Situated about 3 miles north of Princeton, the Kingston trailhead is accessible from Route 27 and Mapleton Road.

10. Griggstown: Located approximately 5 miles north of Kingston, the Griggstown trailhead is situated near the intersection of Canal Road and River Road.

11. Blackwells Mills: About 4 miles north of Griggstown, the Blackwells Mills trailhead is accessible from Canal Road and Blackwells Mills Road.

12. East Millstone: Situated approximately 3 miles north of Blackwells Mills, the East Millstone trailhead is located near the intersection of Amwell Road and Market Street.

13. New Brunswick: The trail ends at the northernmost point in New Brunswick, near the intersection of Landing Lane and George Street.

Transportation Available

1. NJ Transit – Public transportation system serving the region.
2. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service.
3. Lyft – On-demand ride-hailing service.
4. Taxi – Traditional taxi service available for transportation.
5. Lime – Electric scooter and bike-sharing service.
6. Bird – Electric scooter-sharing service.
7. JUMP – Electric bike-sharing service.
8. Zipcar – Car-sharing service with vehicles available for rent.
9. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service.
10. Avis – Car rental service.


The amenities available at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various locations along the trail, including at trailheads and parking areas.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas available at multiple access points along the trail. These parking areas provide convenient access to the trail for visitors.

3. Camping Sites: The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where camping is permitted, such as the Bull’s Island Recreation Area.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack. These areas are equipped with picnic tables and sometimes grills for cooking.

5. Fishing: The canal offers excellent fishing opportunities, and there are designated fishing areas along the trail. Anglers can catch a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and sunfish.

6. Boat Launches: The trail features boat launches at various points, allowing visitors to launch canoes, kayaks, or other non-motorized watercraft onto the canal.

7. Interpretive Centers: There are interpretive centers along the trail that provide information about the history, ecology, and wildlife of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. These centers offer educational exhibits and programs for visitors.

8. Wildlife Viewing: The trail provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors can spot a variety of bird species, turtles, frogs, and other wildlife along the canal.

9. Biking and Hiking: The trail is primarily used for biking and hiking. It offers a scenic and peaceful environment for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.

10. Dog-Friendly: The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their leashed dogs along for a walk or bike ride.

Please note that amenities may vary at different sections of the trail, so it is advisable to check specific locations or the official website for more detailed information.

Nearby Services

1. Lambertville Station Inn – Historic inn offering comfortable lodging and dining options near the trail.
2. Stockton Inn – Charming inn with a restaurant, providing lodging and meals close to the trail.
3. Princeton Marriott at Forrestal – Upscale hotel offering accommodations and dining options within a short distance from the trail.
4. Rocky Hill Inn – Cozy inn with a restaurant, providing lodging and meals near the trail.
5. Nassau Inn – Historic hotel offering comfortable accommodations and dining options in proximity to the trail.
6. Hyatt Regency Princeton – Modern hotel providing lodging and dining options conveniently located near the trail.
7. Princeton University Emergency Services – Emergency services available on the Princeton University campus, close to the trail.
8. Capital Health Medical Center – Emergency medical services available at a hospital near the trail.
9. Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad – Emergency medical services provided by a local rescue squad near the trail.
10. Hopewell Township Police Department – Local police department offering emergency services near the trail.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail Difficulty Notes

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning approximately 70 miles, this multi-use trail provides a diverse terrain that caters to both hikers and cyclists. While the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, there are occasional inclines and uneven surfaces that add a touch of challenge. Additionally, the length of the trail may require some endurance, especially for those attempting to complete the entire route. Overall, the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail offers a rewarding experience for individuals seeking a moderately challenging outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

1. Scenic views:
– Delaware River: The trail runs parallel to the Delaware River, offering beautiful views of the water and surrounding landscapes.
– Canal Locks: There are several historic canal locks along the trail, providing scenic spots to observe the water flow and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
– Mercer County Park: Located along the trail, this park offers stunning views of Mercer Lake, with walking paths and picnic areas.

2. Historical sites:
– Prallsville Mills: This historic complex includes a grist mill, sawmill, and other buildings that date back to the 18th century. It offers a glimpse into the area’s industrial past.
– Johnson Ferry House: Situated near the trail, this 18th-century house served as a ferry crossing point during the Revolutionary War and is now a museum.
– Kingston Locktender’s House: This restored locktender’s house provides insight into the daily life of those who operated the canal locks.

3. Natural landmarks:
– Washington Crossing State Park: Located near the trail, this park is famous for its association with George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. It offers beautiful natural landscapes and hiking trails.
– Baldpate Mountain: Situated adjacent to the trail, this mountain offers scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife.
– Delaware and Raritan Canal: The canal itself is a natural landmark, with its serene waters, tree-lined banks, and abundant wildlife.

4. Other attractions:
– Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve: This preserve, located near the trail, is home to various bird species and offers opportunities for birdwatching and nature walks.
– Princeton University: The trail passes through Princeton, where you can explore the historic campus, visit museums, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this renowned university town.
– Grounds for Sculpture: Although not directly on the trail, this nearby sculpture park in Hamilton Township features over 270 contemporary sculptures set within beautifully landscaped gardens.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but riders must yield to pedestrians.
3. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail.
4. Hunting and fishing are allowed in designated areas only and require appropriate permits.
5. Camping is not permitted along the trail.
6. Fires and fireworks are strictly prohibited.
7. Littering is prohibited; please dispose of trash in designated bins.
8. Swimming or wading in the canal is not allowed.
9. Horseback riding is permitted on designated sections of the trail.
10. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions due to maintenance or weather conditions.

Seasonal Information

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Located in New Jersey, this 70-mile trail follows the historic Delaware & Raritan Canal, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and a variety of recreational activities. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the spring and fall seasons.

In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom along the canal banks. The weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll. The trail is also less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

During the fall, the trail transforms into a picturesque landscape as the leaves change into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it perfect for outdoor activities like jogging or horseback riding. Fall is also a great time to spot migratory birds as they make their way south, adding to the park’s natural beauty.

It’s important to note that the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail has seasonal closures in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the trail may be closed due to snow or ice. It’s advisable to check the park’s website or contact the park office for up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions.

Overall, the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail offers a year-round outdoor experience, with spring and fall being the best times to visit. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful walk, a challenging bike ride, or a chance to connect with nature, this trail provides a scenic and enjoyable escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, allowing wheelchair users to navigate smoothly.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are provided along the trail, equipped with features like grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options are available for visitors.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Piers: Fishing piers with wheelchair ramps and accessible features are provided for anglers.
6. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Informational signs along the trail are designed to be accessible, featuring large fonts and braille.
7. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: Trailhead facilities, including visitor centers and information kiosks, are designed to be wheelchair accessible.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair accessible water fountains are available at various points along the trail.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints and overlooks are designed to be accessible, providing everyone with the opportunity to enjoy the views.
10. Accessible Trail Experiences: The trail offers various accessible experiences, such as adaptive biking programs or guided tours for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or damaging the surrounding environment.
2. Be aware of wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding or approaching them.
3. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes by applying insect repellent before your visit.
4. Carry water and snacks: Stay hydrated and energized during your hike by bringing enough water and snacks.
5. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose sturdy and comfortable shoes to navigate the trail’s terrain safely.
6. Check weather conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.
7. Share the trail: Be courteous to other trail users, including cyclists, joggers, and equestrians.
8. Stay alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious of any potential hazards or obstacles.
9. Carry a map or use a GPS: Familiarize yourself with the trail route and have a navigation tool to avoid getting lost.
10. Practice Leave No Trace principles: Respect the environment by packing out your trash and leaving nature undisturbed.

Conservation Notes

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail is a significant conservation area in New Jersey, known for its rich biodiversity and ecological importance. The conservation status of this trail is of utmost importance to ensure the preservation and protection of its natural resources.

The trail is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including several rare and endangered ones. Efforts have been made to maintain and restore the natural habitats along the trail, including wetlands, forests, and meadows. These habitats provide crucial breeding grounds and shelter for various wildlife species, contributing to the overall ecological health of the area.

Conservation initiatives have been implemented to mitigate the impact of human activities on the trail. Measures such as erosion control, invasive species management, and water quality monitoring are regularly undertaken to safeguard the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Additionally, educational programs and public awareness campaigns are conducted to promote responsible use of the trail and raise awareness about the importance of conservation.

The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail is recognized as a valuable conservation area, and its conservation status is closely monitored by environmental agencies and organizations. Through ongoing efforts, the trail continues to serve as a vital habitat for numerous species, ensuring their survival and contributing to the overall ecological integrity of the region.

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