The Pennsylvania & New Jersey Canal Loop Trails

Cycle Philadelphia, Sightseeing & Kids Ride, The Pennsylvania & New Jersey Canal Loop Trails

With 30 miles each in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the canal trails bike ride runs parallel alongside the Delaware River. There are five bridges that connect the trails, granting you the freedom to choose ride lengths between six and 60 miles (the Pennsylvania path runs from Uhlerstown to Morrisville and the New Jersey path from Frenchtown to Trenton).

Terrain

The trails run parallel to the Delaware River and are therefore generally flat. You’ll ride through dirt, gravel, pebbles, and even some grass.

Traffic

The sections around New Hope and Lambertville are probably the busiest in terms of bike/ped traffic. You will hop on-road for a couple of blocks to cross the Delaware River.

Access

Drive. I know, I’m sorry. There is metered street parking all over New Hope.

Food and Drink

There are only a million excellent places to stop for a bite along this ride – there are options at the trail junctions in Lumberville, Stockton, Lambertville, and of course in New Hope. Zoubi’s, just a block away from the start point on the corner of Mechanic and New streets, has awesome snacks and strong coffee.

Side Trip

Take a stroll through lovely New Hope! You’ll be treated to some terrific people-watching on the main streets and in the shops and cafés sprinkled all over town.

 

More Details

The entrance to the towpath in New Hope is so easy to find; it is situated underneath the tiny Ferry Street Bridge on the corner of Ferry and Stockton. The directions from here are easy – head north. When you tire, cross the Delaware, and head south in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania side is known as the Delaware Canal State Park, and the New Jersey side is referred to as the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. On the Pennsylvania side, you’ll pedal along the geese laden Delaware Canal. From the 1830s to the 1930s, the canal was a busy passage for anthracite coal and lumber.

The path is quite narrow in the first section, and mostly covered with dirt and small pebbles. The Centre Bridge is your first option to reach New Jersey, bringing you back to New Hope in a short six mile loop. If you cross this bridge, you’ll find yourself in quaint Stockton, N.J. There are plenty of places to stop for a rest or have a snack in Stockton before making a right to head back south on the trail. Your next option to cross into New Jersey is the pedestrian bridge, known to some as the Raven Rock Bridge, in Lumberville. But remember, after the Centre Bridge, the gravel gets bigger! You will enjoy this 14 mile loop, if you have proper tires to handle the gravel.

The seven miles home on the New Jersey side (if you cross the Raven Rock) is fast and fun, again with smaller pebbles. When you reach Lambertville, the trail ends in a parking lot as new development creeps up to the very edge of the park. Stay straight until you see the bridge that takes you back over the river and into New Hope. You’ll have a few blocks of on-road riding here to get back to the start, but if uncomfortable, there’s no shame in walking your bikes right to the doorstep of Zoubi’s!

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start out on the New Hope Towpath just behind Mechanic St and Stockton Ave. There’s really only one way to go here – so head north!
  • 0.8 The path narrows as you ride under one of many bridges to come. Enjoy your long stay on the towpath.
  • 3.1 Arrive at Dilly’s Corner and the Centre Bridge Inn, again to the left of the canal. If you only want to ride six miles today, then cross the Delaware using the Centre Bridge (just ahead) to pick up the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park trail in New Jersey. From here, follow directions at mile 10.3. If you want to ride on, keep straight on the towpath.
  • 3.2 After Center Bridge, the path is much wider and far quieter. It also changes from dirt to gravel.
  • 6.3 You’ll see the Raven Rock pedestrian bridge across the river, and voila! Lumberville!
  • 6.4 Pedal just a hair beyond the pedestrian bridge and make a hairpin left onto River Rd to track back to the entrance. You’ll see the Lumberville General Store ahead. Take the bridge over the river to New Jersey.
  • 6.7 Continue straight after the bridge. You’ll pass by the Bulls Island State Park parking area.
  • 6.9 Make a right to pick up the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park path and head back south. Noisy but beautiful birds are in residence here during the summer, keeping you company as you pedal along this straightaway for quite a bit.
  • 10.3 Stockton junction. There’s a small deli on the corner to grab a snack or cold drink. Ready to go? Keep heading south (if you’ve just come off the Centre Bridge, south is to the right).
  • 12.5 The path turns into a humorously overgrown dirt and grass trail.
  • 13.4 Exit the path and ride through the parking lot, then keep straight on the street all the way to Bridge St in Lambertville.
  • 13.6 Make a right to cross the bridge (there’s a walkway for bikes).
  • 14.0 Left on Main St, and then another right on Ferry St to take you back to the start point. Or, bike one block farther to visit the dessert case at Zoubi’s on Mechanic St!
  • Trail map

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    22.379 km / 13.906 mi

    Total Distance

    429 m / 1,409 ft

    Total Ascent

    430 m / 1,412 ft

    Total Descent

    50 m / 165 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 14.0
    Elevation Gain: 128
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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