(Above photo: Sommer’s Bridge at Delaware Canal State Park taken by Susan Taylor)
The Delaware Canal State Park Towpath was recently named Pennsylvania’s 2022 Trail of the Year. But that comes as no surprise to any of us who spent time on this incredible path stretching nearly 59 miles or if you read my previous blog post, “Why You Should Check Out PA’s 2022 Trail of the Year”!
Paralleling the Delaware River between Easton and Bristol, this diverse park provides visitors the opportunity to explore the outdoors in whatever way you see fit. No matter if it’s a quick jog or a day-long bike ride, any time spent on the towpath is time well spent.
The state park’s proximity to so many incredible restaurants, shops and accommodation makes a weekend trip to enjoy the towpath a must. Here’s a little help planning the perfect weekend along the Delaware Canal State Park Towpath.
The historic canal and towpath offers as many options as you can imagine. While several portions are closed for improvements and renovations (as of March 15, 2022), the towpath provides miles of uninterrupted trails.
For those looking for a challenge, you can run, bike, walk, cross-country ski or hike sections of the trail that are open. For those looking to relax, you can boat, fish and watch wildlife. For those looking to learn, the state park hosts hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs.
During my brief 2021 trip to the park, I spotted a family of turtles sunbathing on a log and a giant-winged heron taking off. Keep your eyes peeled for stunning wildlife.
“The towpath has much to offer with a rich history and has seen an increase in visitors the past couple of years as more and more individuals spend time outdoors,” Michael Ginder, Executive Director of the Friends of Delaware Canal told DCNR as a result of the Trail of the Year award.
New Hope – one of Pennsylvania’s best small towns – is located minutes off of the towpath. Bombarded by leaf-peepers in the fall, New Hope is a quaint town that’s developed into a weekend getaway for many in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
A stroll along Main Street provides visitors with plenty of window shopping – from candles and soaps to art and antiques.
A quick search online provides dozens of places to stay – whether it be nearby hotels, beds and breakfasts or Airbnbs. Book a room downtown and have access to all the fun shops, bars and restaurants. Or stay at a nearby community, giving you the option to travel the area exploring all the small towns along the river.
There are plenty of hidden gems, so don’t hesitate booking a weekend anywhere along the Delaware Canal State Park Towpath. No matter what, you’ll be surrounded by charming communities that have a lot to offer out-of-town visitors.
History and learning
Keeping busy along the Delaware Canal State Park Towpath is not going to be a problem, as there are so many opportunities to learn and explore. Washington Crossing Historic Park is located around Mile 22 of the towpath. There, you can learn about Gen. George Washington’s historic Delaware River crossing to surprise the British army during the Revolutionary War.
There are historic buildings to explore and signs to read, along with great views and a paved walking path along the river.
In New Hope between Mile 24 and 25 is the Locktender’s House. This popular destination gives insight into the history of the canal.
Perfect weekend trip
The nearly 59-mile Delaware Canal State Park Towpath has so much to offer that planning a weekend there can feel daunting. So much to see and so little time. So here’s a couple suggestions to take advantage of a long weekend.
Day one, start your morning off with a fresh cup of joe and a light snack at a local coffee shop. Then take a leisurely bike ride from New Hope north. If you didn’t bring a bike, you could always rent one at New Hope Cyclery. Over the course of 15 miles you’d be able to see a great selection of what the scenic towpath has to offer. When you get back in the afternoon, stop for lunch at The Burgerly.
Day two, head down to Washington Crossing State Park. Take a stroll along the river while learning about our nation’s early history. From there, walk a few blocks to the towpath and head south to check out some of the area’s historic bridges and aqueducts.
Grab some lunch at Yardley Inn – located a few miles from Washington Crossing. Spend a couple hours walking around Yardley, taking time to learn about the area. If you’re in the mood for a beer, grab a beer at the Vault Taproom. If it’s wine you’re searching for, drive north to the Crossing Vineyards and Winery.
Luckily there’s a lot you can do over the nearly 59-mile stretch of the Delaware Canal State Park Towpath, many of which I couldn’t fit in this blog. If it rains, there is plenty to keep you busy and entertained. If the weather is gorgeous, you can spend hours outside soaking up the sun.
It’s all out there waiting for you. All you have to do is make it happen. I hope to see you out there.
Christian Alexandersen ran one mile in each of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks in 2021 and has been sharing with us stories and tips from his journey! To read more blog posts from Christian and other PPFF guest bloggers, visit our News page.
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