Delaware River Water Trail: Pennsylvania River of the Year 2011

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Major Public Lands

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park — Lower Delaware

The "D and R" had its origins in the 19th century canal system that transported coal and household goods from towns near the Delaware and Raritan rivers in central New Jersey. Along the Delaware the canal and towpath began at Bulls Island, continuing south through Trenton, the state capital, and ending at Bordentown. Next to the Delaware, the park continues for over 22 miles, but its towpath and canal are disrupted in and around Trenton. The park is a National Historic District and the towpath is a National Recreational Trail.

Today the canal is a source of drinking water for central New Jersey, and the towpath is maintained with a stone-dust surface, making it suitable for bicycles, walking, and wheelchairs. The park also includes several islands in the Delaware River and Bulls Island Recreation Area which includes a natural area, river access, camping, and foot bridge over the Delaware River to Lumberville, PA and Delaware Canal State Park. There are several access sites to the Delaware River along its length.

Park Uses: hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, camping, nature education, canoeing, kayaking

Bulls Island Recreation Area
2185 Daniel Bray Highway, Stockton, NJ 08559
Telephone: 609-397-2949
Web page:

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Delaware Canal State Park — Lower Delaware

The 60 mile long park in the Lower Delaware River segment follows the towpath and canal from Easton to Bristol; for the most part, it is as wide as the right-of-way of the canal, but also includes natural areas such as The Giving Pond and several islands in the Delaware River.

When completed in 1832, the Delaware Canal connected with the Lehigh Navigation System at Easton and helped to develop the anthracite coal industry in the Upper Lehigh Valley. The canal provided a convenient and economical means of transporting coal to Philadelphia, New York, and the eastern seaboard. Recognized for its importance to the country's economic development, the park is part of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. The canal is a Registered National Historic Landmark and its towpath is a National Recreation Trail.

Today, it serves as a connector for Pennsylvania River Towns and its towpath is a recreational trail. There are several access sites to the Delaware River along its length. The towpath has suffered much destruction in some areas due to flooding and reconstruction is on-going. Check with the park to determine which sections are open.

Park uses: nature education, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, bicycling.

Delaware Canal State Park
11 Lodi Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972-9540
Telephone: 610-982-5560

Web page:

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Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area — Middle Delaware

Located in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the park preserves over 70,000 acres of land along the Middle Delaware River. The park was originally conceived as part of a plan to build a dam on the River at Tocks Island and create a 37 mile lake in the center of the present park for use as a reservoir. Because of environmental opposition, dwindling funds, and an unacceptable geological assessment, the property was transferred to the National Park Service, and the section of the Delaware River running through it designated to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Today, the park is one of the most popular facilities of the National Park System, with visitors coming to see the mountains, waterfalls, natural resources and historic villages. A segment of the Appalachian Trail crosses from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. There are several viewing areas where visitors can see the actual water gap, with the Delaware between Mount Minsi in Pennsylvania and Mount Tammany in New Jersey.

Park uses: canoe/kayaking, swimming, hiking, bicycling, camping, picnicking, cross-country sking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
HQ River Rd off Route 209, Bushkill, PA 18324
Telephone: Visitor Centers in season 570-828-2253 or 908-496-4458;
other times of the year: 570-426-2451
Web site:

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Washington Crossing Historic Park — Lower Delaware

Most people are familiar with the picture of Washington crossing the icy Delaware River on Christmas Day in 1776. From this location in Pennsylvania, Washington was able to make his famous attack on the Hessions camped on the New Jersey side in Trenton and went on to further victories in New Jersey.

Today, Washington Crossing Historic Park preserves and interprets the site at which Washington planned and executed his crossing of the Delaware River. Many structures of that era are open to the public. A visitor's center is under renovation. The park is noted for sponsoring an annual reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware on December 25. Also located in the park boundaries are Bowman's Hill Tower and Wildflower Preserve. There is no official access to the Delaware River.

Park uses: historic and nature education, walking, picnicking

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Box 103,
Washington Crossing, PA 18977
Phone: 215-493-4076
Web site:

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Washington Crossing State Park — Lower Delaware

After crossing the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776, General Washington and the Continental Army landed at Johnson's Ferry, at the site now known as Washington Crossing State Park. From there they continued to Trenton where they defeated the Hessian troops in an unexpected attack. This battle was successfully followed by the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777.

The Visitor Center Museum has exhibit galleries exploring the military campaign known as "The Ten Crucial Days." There are other period structures open to the public. The park is also well known for its trails, wildlife habitat, nature center, and observatory. There is access from the Delaware River in the park.

Park uses: historic and nature study, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, group camping, and picnicking.

Washington Crossing State Park
355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, NJ 08560-1517
Telephone: 609-737-0623
Web page:

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Worthington State Forest — Middle Delaware

Worthington State Forest sits at the tip of Mount Tammany and the Appalachian Mountains. It is dominated by hemlock and mixed hardwood forests, jagged outcrops, waterfalls, and scenic vistas. The Appalachian Trail picks up after crossing the Delaware River from Pennsylvania. The park is noted for Dunnfield Creek Natural Area and Sunfish Pond, a glacial lake formed by melting ice at the top of Kittatinny Ridge. There is access to the Delaware River in the park.

Park uses: canoeing/kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, picnicking, camping, hunting, and fishing.

Worthington State Forest
HC 62, Box 2
Columbia, NJ 07832
Telephone: 908-841-9575
Web site:

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