Once trod by mule teams pulling cargo-laden boats along the canal, the towpath is used today by walkers, joggers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, fishing enthusiasts, and bird watchers.
|The author, doing what she does wherever she goes in the mid-Atlantic region! Photo courtesy Lisa Schwartz.|
The Delaware Canal runs from the Lehigh River at Easton (home of The National Canal Museum and terminal end of the Lehigh Canal) south to Bristol. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania built the Delaware canal as part of its Main Line of Internal Improvements to carry anthracite coal, limestone, cement, and lumber from the northeastern reaches of Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.
Spurred by the early success of the Erie Canal in New York State, which had opened in 1825, the Delaware Canal opened in 1832.
What's cool about this canal, beyond its lovely scenery, is that it still has most of its original locks, aqueducts, and overflows. According to the National Park Service, it was the "longest-lived canal in the country."
|The workings of the lock seem remarkably intact and functional.|
We picked up the towpath in Lumberville, where a truss walking bridge spans the 800-foot wide river.
|A home in Lumberville adjacent the canal towpath.|
Lumberville, PA, just seven miles north of New Hope and the stretch of the canal we walked a couple years ago, was settled by Colonel George Wall, a Revolutionary War officer and Bucks County Sheriff.
Originally named Wall's Saw Mills and Walls Landing, its name changed when William Tinsman purchased the lumber mills in 1869; the mills are operated by his descendants to this day.
|Azaleas bloom along the canal in Lumberville.|
For most of our walk, we were in easy sight of the Delaware River. In fact, the canal runs parallel to the Delaware River from Easton, where over the years, it transported millions of tons of anthracite from the privately developed Lehigh Canal to the city and port of Philadelphia.
|The truss walking bridge. Originally a covered bridge spanned the river|
at this location but floods in the 20th century washed them away.
Know before you go: Across the Delaware River, the 70-mile long Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal State Park is one of central New Jersey’s most popular recreation corridors for canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding. The canal and park are part of the National Recreation Trail System. Together, the Delaware Canal State Park and the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park have formed a series of looping trails connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, using five bridges.
|Historic homes along the canal are lovely.|
By simply parking in one of several areas located along the loop trail, visitors have easy access to the canal towpaths in both states, and can ride, walk of jog a complete loop back to their car. Loop trail connection bridges are in the Pennsylvania towns of Uhlerstown, Lumberville, Center Bridge, Washington Crossing, and Morrisville.
|Several inns, such as 1740 House in Lumberville, pictured above, take advantage of their location along the canal.|