Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Kingston to Rocky Hill

Kingston, New Jersey 08528

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Kingston to Rocky Hill

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park: Kingston to Rocky Hill Professional Review and Guide

"The red shale, sandstone, and argillite formations of the Piedmont, stretching between Trenton and New Brunswick, rise to a mere 57 feet above sea level. This so-called “narrow waist” of New Jersey— just 44 miles wide— long tempted entrepreneurs as a potential canal shortcut between Philadelphia and New York City. While William Penn may have dreamed of a water crossing of the narrow waist, it wasn’t until 1830 that the project got launched. By then, the Erie Canal had shown the way, and canal building was all the rage in America. Railroad competition finally killed the D&R in 1932.

Today the “big ditch,” once the pride of American industrialists, is a fifty-eight-mile-long greenway and state park where Piedmont flora and 200 bird species flourish. The park includes a thirty-six-mile stretch beginning near Bordentown and ending at New Brunswick, plus a twenty-two-mile feeder canal on the Delaware River. This 4.0-mile circuit hike passes along both sides of the tree-shaded D&R Canal between the sleepy towns of Kingston and Rocky Hill, and explores the flood plain of the Millstone River."

More Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park: Kingston to Rocky Hill Professional Reviews and Guides

"This loop is a good level hike for a spring warm-up or a Sunday afternoon stroll. While sauntering under a canopy of trees, enjoy the rushing river on one side and the placid canal on the other. The hike affords numerous interpretive kiosks and side trips to the historical sites. Easy to add more miles!

This hike begins at the Crossroads of New Jersey. During the Late Woodland Period, the Lenape’s Assunpink Trail took advantage of the Millstone Valley floodplain running between the Delaware and Raritan Rivers. In the mid-1600s the Dutch used it to travel between New Amsterdam and the Dutch settlements along the Delaware Bay. Later, the Old Dutch Trail became the British Kings Highway, connecting New York City with Philadelphia. In 1913 the Kings Highway was designated as the Lincoln Highway, patching together other roads to create the first transcontinental route, thus promoting the use of the automobile."

"For more than 150 years the Delaware and Raritan Canal has been a tribute to the hundreds of laborers who created it. Armed with only picks and shovels, the crews spent countless grueling hours digging the long, deep trench. Today the canal is a major source of drinking water for residences and businesses in twenty-two towns, and since becoming a state park in 1974, it has been used by hikers, canoeists, fishermen, and bicyclists.

Largemouth bass, pickerel, rainbow trout, and catfish can be hooked in this murky water. A fishing license is required. Although you won’t see many houses along this stretch today, stories abound about the old houses with their tall picket fences that prevented children from falling into the water. One owner placed empty whiskey bottles on the pickets as a decoration and much to his surprise found that passing coal barge crews would take aim at the bottles with pieces of coal. It didn’t take him too long to collect a free supply of coal for the winter!"

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park: Kingston to Rocky Hill Reviews

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7/17/2018
Love this trail for its length you could walk for hours. Not very challenging but it’s great for a light trAil walk.
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11/16/2008
was cold, windy, cloudy. walked from Giggstown causeway to Blackwells Mills Bridge, had lunch and then hiked back. nice level hike, good for getting into shape for next hike
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Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park: Kingston to Rocky Hill Photos

Trail Information

Kingston
Nearby City
4
Distance
Minimal
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
3 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Fishing
Additional Use

Activity Feed

Nov 2018