Delaware and Raritan Canal

Princeton, New Jersey 8541

Delaware and Raritan Canal

Delaware & Raritan Canal Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Transportation from an earlier time is the theme of this ride. NJ TRANSIT'S Northeast Corridor Rail Line serves as a shuttle to the start point. In recent years bike transportation advocates have been able to regain access on buses and trains. If you want to experience the freedom of intermodal transport then this is the ride to try. (To find out about taking your bike on the train, call NJ TRANSIT or visit their website).

It is smooth and easy riding for much of your trip, however there are sections of the towpath that can get muddy during wet periods, and tree roots might temporarily disturb your bliss. Also look out for heavy pedestrian traffic in the Lake Carnegie section on the ride. Terrain: Dirt canal towpath, paved multi-use trail and on road segments."

Delaware & Raritan Canal Trip Reports

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Being I was 71 at the start of this adventure I gave the ride a 4 star rating because I really don't know what a 4 star one is but it makes it look good. I have done the whole canal and feeder canal completing it out and back which means I did the distance twice.
I just uploaded 29 photos of the first section Lock 1 to Demott Lane parking lot and access bridge. I uploaded them start to finish. The site shows them last to first backwards. The site doesn't allow to rearrange photos to proper order. Maybe some on the trail site can do it as all photos are numbered in text. it would also be have them attached here to this opening message.
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Started trail in New Brunswick and rode down and back for a total of 17.6 miles at an average speed of 8mph. If I was riding on a dirt surface I estimate that I would have covered 2.5X the distance, given the energy expended. The portion of the trail we rode was all gravel except for the bridge underpasses which appeared to be stone. It was my first experience with that kind of surface and it was taxing on my arms and upper back. A bike with a wide tire +2.5 probably works best because of the shifting surface. The trail in a test of mental and physical endurance. There is no coasting on this trail surface. I was happy when I came to a bridge because they offered a different grade of surface as well as few dips and upgrades. The scenery is well worth this adventure. The canal view is breathtaking. I was able to catch glimpses of snapper turtles, fish, birds and other creatures as I rode by. I came across hikers, dog walkers and folks fishing in the canal. The ride totally took away my everyday stress and I plan to complete the trail from New Brunswick to Princeton 31 mi. by the end of summer. This is not a trail for those looking for steep grades or hills to climb. Don't be fooled by how plain it looks, especially the low altitude. I never noticed the increase in altitude until the return ride which seemed to be easier.
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We rode trail from Frenchtown to Bull Island on a sunny day in late August (2007). About 10 miles each way. Trail surface was ground stone, in good condition. Enjoyed a trip over the Delaware River at Bull Island via a suspension bridge to the Lumberville store for lunch, sandwiches. At the time of this writing the trail on the PA side of the river was under a lot of repair.
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This is a very easy and very scenic ride. The trail is mostly hard packed dirt and there are only a few street crossing. Parts of the trail are absolutely breath taking. The trail is not very wide and sometimes it gets a bit congested. The best time to go is during the fall when the foilage is at its peak. A good place to start is Alexander Road in Princeton, just off of Route 1, where there is plenty of parking.

Trail Information

Nearby City
400 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Technical Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
Physical Difficulty
6 hours
40 feet
Trailhead Elevation
110 feet
Top Elevation
D & R Canal State Park, 908-873-3050
Local Contacts
Park Map - available at the Blackwells Mills park office.
Local Maps

Trail Log