The Delaware Canal State Park towpath spans the length of Bucks County and is part of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (AKA: the D&L Trail), a historical transportation trail that runs parallel to the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers and spans a total of 165 miles from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre.
I have always loved the Delaware Canal State Park towpath and it's scenic views throughout Bucks County. Each visit, I would tell myself that one day I would complete it in it's entirety and weekend of July 16, 2022, I decided to do just that.
I set a goal to bike the entire Bucks County length of the towpath from Riegelsville to Bristol in two days in partnership with Visit Bucks County and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Before embarking, I did some research on some stops and historical places along the way, consulted the D&L Trail Guidebook, and estimated that the trip along with my planned stops and side adventures would equal roughly a 60 mile adventure.
Section 1: Riegelsville to Upper Black Eddy (7 miles)
My journey began at the Riegelsville Trailhead around 9am on Saturday, July 16th. Before embarking on my journey, I stopped to check out two pieces of history located just outside of the trailhead.
- The Riegelsville Suspension Bridge is a 118 year old iconic bridge. The bridge was at one time a 3 span covered bridge and was restructured as a suspension bridge by the Roebling Company in 1904.
- The Riegelsville Inn was built by the town's founder - Benjamin Riegel - in 1838. Today, the inn is an American style restaurant and pub serving brunch, lunch and dinner.
After biking the trail for some time and stopping to check out a lock along the canal, I hopped off of the canal to visit Traugers Farm Market. Traugers Farm is family owned and operated and grows a selection of vegetables, fruits and peaches. Their farm market is located directly off of the canal that features their bakery, produce, milk, eggs and other necessities.
Also located on this stretch of the Delaware Canal are the marvelous Nockamixon Cliffs. This geological wonder is a 300ft cliff rise and towers above the canal. According to a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) information sign "was formed eons ago when molten magma from the earth’s crust transformed sandstone and shale into a harder rock."
Around mile 45 is a an exit for the Ringing Rocks Trailhead where you can pick up a trail that will take you over to Ringing Rocks County Park. Ringing Rocks is certainly a sight to see! The park is located on 123 acres in Upper Black Eddy and is named after it's unique boulder field. What's so special about this field? These boulders ring like a bell when struck with a hammer in the field. Remove the rock from the field and it is said that the rock will no longer chime. It is also rumored that no birds have been seen flying over the boulder field. Follow the hiking trail around ringing rocks to find Bucks County's largest waterfall - High Falls.
Before wrapping up this stretch, I stopped at Homestead General Store for a quick snack. This general store is a true Bucks County gem and once as you walk through the door, you feel as if you took a step back in time. Homestead opened in 1980 and has been family run for the past 40 years. The porch backs right up to the canal, which made it the perfect place to sit down, relax and cool off a bit.
Other Restaurants Along This Section of the Canal:
Section 2 : Upper Black Eddy to Tinicum (4 miles)
The second section of the Delaware Canal Towpath passed through a bunch of residential areas and open land, therefore I didn't have too much to cover during this section of my journey.
I did, however, make a quick stop at the Delaware Canal State Park Office to pick up a stamp for my Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation passport. The PA Parks & Forests passport is a fun guide that challenges you to visit all 121 state parks in Pennsylvania and collect passport stamps along the way. As you complete certain sections, you can claim "dog tags" to commemorate your adventures. Although I have been to the Delaware Canal State Park numerous times before, I had been saving picking up my stamp for this particular trip to make earning it even more memorable.
As I continued down the path, I couldn't resist stopping to marvel at the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge - my favorite covered bridge in Bucks County! The bridge was built in 1855 and is the only bridge in the county that crosses the canal.
Section 3 : Tinicum to Lumberville (4 miles)
The third and final section for day one of my Delaware Canal State Park challenge began at Tinicum Park. I have many memories here between playing the disc golf at the park's disc golf course and launching our kayaks onto the Delaware River.
While at Tinicum Park, I headed over to the Erwin-Stover House where I ended up getting a surprise tour! The Erwin-Stover House was constructed on land that once belonged to the Lenape Indians before the Walking Purchase in 1737. The colonial style house was built in the year 1810 and was used as a tenant farmstead.
After the tour, I hopped back on the trail and set off to bike the remaining stretch down to Lumberville. On the way down, I stopped briefly to take photos of the old Treasure Island entrance - one of the Nation’s oldest Boy Scout Camps - and Bucks County River Country which is a popular summer attraction that takes visitors along for a kayaking or tubing adventure down the Delaware River.
One fun thing that you will come across during this portion of the canal is one of the mules statues outside of the Golden Pheasant Inn. "Miles of Mules" was a community art project back in 2002 where 175 mules were painted and displayed throughout Bucks County and surrounding areas. In 2003, the mules were auctioned off and can still be spotted when adventuring through the area.
For lunch, I stopped in at Kolbe Cafe, which is located right off of the canal by Bucks County River Country. Kolbe Cafe is part of the FP Kolbe gift shop in Point Pleasant. I ordered their Cleveland Panini, which was made up of rye bread, pastrami, Swiss cheese, kraut and 1000 Island dressing
After FP Kolbe, there was only a short length of trail left until a trail closure that spans over a mile down to Black Bass Hotel, so when I reached as far as I could go my husband picked me up and we drove down to Black Bass Hotel where I would be concluding Day #1 of my Delaware Canal State Park challenge and would be spending the night.
The Black Bass was built in the 1740s and is one of the oldest inns in the country. Here, I got to unwind for a bit after a 20 mile ride, enjoyed dinner in their dining room overlooking the Delaware River and was treated to a tour of the inn. To read more about our evening at the Black Bass Hotel, visit my Let's Stay Series blog article.
DELAWARE CANAL TOWPATH CHALLENGE - DAY #1 RECAP:
DAY #1 RESULTS
Start Time: 8:45am in Riegelsville
End Time: 4:15pm in Lumberville
Total Time Biking: 3hrs 37min
Distance: 20.38 miles
Average Speed: 5.5mph
Section 4: Lumberville to New Hope (6 miles)
After a nice relaxing night at the Black Bass, it was time to get up, grab some breakfast and get my "Tail on the Trail."
Lumberville General Store was the perfect place to start my day as it is located just across the street from the hotel. Fun fact: this general store is the oldest general store in Pennsylvania and dates back to 1770 and was run by a revolutionary war hero. After. loading up on lots of delicious protein and carbs, it was time to get rolling.
Once again, there wasn't much to post about during the 7 mile trek down to New Hope, because a lot of this part of the trail goes through residential areas. However, on the way into town, I spotted the New Hope Railroad and a few stores from the Bridge Street bridge. I got off at the second exit in town and was pleasantly surprised to see they have bike racks right there at the exit of the canal and I was able to lock up my bike as I went into town to visit Ferry Market to rest a bit and cool off.
Of course my friends from the Salty Pineapple have the perfect options of refreshing snacks available and I enjoyed a shaved ice while giving my legs and hands a bit of a break.
Other Restaurants Along This Section of the Canal:
- and more!
Section 5: New Hope to Washington Crossing (7 miles)
New Hope has so much history and things to see and do in it.
Right off the canal in this segment, you can find:
- Logan Inn
- The Locktender’s House and Lock 11 he beautiful Delaware Canal State Park mural)
- The Boomer statue
- The Locktender’s House and Lock 11
- The beautiful Delaware Canal Park mural)
- plus so many more incredible restaurants, shops and other things to see and do!
Trail note: There is a small section right past the Locktender's House and the Boomer statue that you have to cross the street to get to in order to keep heading south towards Washington Crossing.
When you get to the Washington Crossing/ Thompson-Neely House Trailhead, you can begin to explore the upper part of Washington Crossing Historic Park. At this part of the park you can find the Thompson-Neely House and the Thompson-Neely Mill just off the trail and can also travel a short distance to Bowman's Hill Tower and the graves of the soldiers who lost their lives during the December 1776 encampment.
The Thompson-Neely House was once a temporary hospital for Washington's troops during the battles of 1776 and 1777.
Bowman's Hill Tower is well worth the trip to visit to see the 125 foot tall tower. Despite rumors that the tower served as a lookout during George Washington’s time in Bucks County, it was actually constructed in the 1930s as a memorial of where the troops MAY have been stationed to scope out enemies along the Delaware during the Revolution. Tours can be booked online that will allow you to climb the spiral staircase up to the observation deck that provides breathtaking views of Bucks County, Mercer County and the Delaware River!
Back on the trail, be sure keep an eye out on the trail a few miles south of the Upper Washington Crossing Trailhead to catch a glimpse of another Miles of Mules statue!
Other Restaurants Along This Section of the Canal:
- and more!
Section 6: Washington Crossing to Yardley (7 miles)
One of the things I love the most about Bucks County is all of the history that took place here, and Washington Crossing Historic Park and visitor center is a must piece of history located just off of the canal. A stone located in the park states “Near this spot, Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas night 1776. The eve of the Battle of Trenton." Visitors to the visitors center can explore historic exhibits, and learn about this important part of our nation's history through educational programs.
Also located in the lower part of the park is the Historic Village where you can find the following historical buildings:
- Mcconkey's Ferry Inn
- Mahlon K. Taylor House
- Taylorsville Houses
- Hibbs House
- Frye House
- The Blacksmith House
- Durham Boat Barn
Washington Crossing Historic park is considered one of the 121 state parks in Pennsylvania, which means you can pick up one of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Passport stamps here! In fact, the Washington Crossing visitor center is where I purchased my passport and began my state park exploring adventures!
Section 7: Yardley to Morrisville (4 miles)
Yardley is another town along the Delaware Canal Towpath that has so much to offer. With a plethora of restaurants, shops and things to do, it is the perfect way to break up your travel.
Things to do in town include:
- Vault Brewing
- and so much more!
For lunch, I met up with my husband and friend for lunch at the Canal Street Grille located just off of the path. This grill is a BYOB serving spectacular Greek American food and was the perfect choice for a quick mid-day pick me up. Our table ordered the Spanakopita, Athena Pear Salad and a Lamb Gyro.
Section 8: Morrisville to Bristol (10 miles)
Before beginning this portion of the trail, I got off the trail in Morrisville for a quick drink at Bitchin Kitten Brewery, which is only about a block off of the canal. I absolutely LOVE their Boujee Cat Raspberry Wheat beer. After a quick round, I got back on the canal.
My goodness this stretch was a CHALLENGE! Not only was it the longest stretch I’ve done this weekend, but I had to cross over many roads, went up and down hilly areas and even had to figure out where the trail stopped and started a few times.
There was a bunch of residential areas along this stretch and I even passed through Levittown Town Center and past St. Mike’s Fair - which brought back memories going there from my childhood.
After crossing a few more streets and even my old neighborhood, I FINALLY made it to Bristol!!!
DAY #2 RESULTS
Start Time: 9:35am in Lumberville
End Time: 6:30pm in Bristol
Total Time Biking: 5hrs 21min
Distance: 33.40 miles
Average Speed: 6.2mph
I can’t believe I just completed my challenge to bike the entire Bucks County portion of the D&L Trail…the Delaware Canal State Park…in TWO DAYS! I have been dreaming of doing this for 2 years, and it FINALLY HAPPENED! The length may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is HUGE! Other than two recent short bike rides, I haven’t ridden a bike in almost 10 years. I didn’t practice for this. I didn’t train for this. I just set the goal and got myself out on the trail. (I’m pretty sure that I have Barre3 Doylestown to thank for helping me get my legs in shape) I honestly didn’t think I was actually going to finish…but I did…and I could cry!
Challenge Wrap Up:
🚴 Biked from Rieglesville to Bristol in 2 days…by myself. (Shoutout to my friend and my hubby for following me in the area and meeting me at certain check points throughout the two days to make sure I was okay.)
🚴 Total Miles: 53.78 (Some of the trail closures and not taking some of the side journeys I originally planned on lessened it from my estimated 60)
🚴 Total calories burned: 2,393
🚴 Total biking hours: 8hours 58min
🚴 Total challenge hours: 16.02 hours
A HUGE THANK YOU again to Visit Bucks County and the D&L Trail for helping to make this happen…and to the Black Bass for our accommodations last night as well as Body Language in Peddler's Village for some gear to make the trip more comfortable.
I cannot believe I just biked the entire length of my beautiful home…our beautiful Bucks County.