Rail-trails can help make a community more vibrant and give individuals an opportunity to meet their neighbors and appreciate a greater sense of pride and quality of life... it helps define what's Made Possible in Lehigh Valley. Hiking, biking, walking, rolling, strolling, fishing, floating, dining, wining, shopping, camping, and touring. Welcome to the Lehigh Valley Region of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, also commonly referred to as the D&L Trail, where two rivers, miles and miles of trails, great parks, preserved farmland, historic boroughs, and access to three vibrant downtowns meet. And, all less than a day’s drive from cities of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and more.
The D&L Trail, one of the longest rail trails in the Mid-Atlantic, spanning 165 miles from Wilkes-Barre to the port of Bristol, cuts through Lehigh Valley connecting the three cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, as well as the boroughs in between. The path follows the picturesque Lehigh Canal towpath until it reaches Easton where it turns and follows the Delaware Canal. This trail portion is known as the Central region of the D&L Trail.
The D&L Trail consists of sections of asphalt, crushed stone, and dirt, with newer sections being wheelchair accessible. The D&L Trail welcomes cyclists of all ages, walkers, joggers, environmentalists, bird watchers, and photographers. Running through area parks, such as Hanover Township Canal Park, Lehigh Canal Park, Sand Island, and Hugh Moore Park and National Canal Museum, and along waterways and through historic sites, the trail makes a perfect day trip. There are many points where individuals may picnic, with many of the parks having playgrounds and restroom facilities.
The D&L Trail is also the spine of the Lehigh Valley trail system, the main connector to other offshoot trails such as the Ironton Rail Trail, the Saucon Township Rail Trail, Palmer Rail Trail, and the Nor-Bath Trail. The Ironton Rail Trail was once the home of the Ironton Railroad and follows a beautiful route through parks and historic points of interest on its six-mile loop and three-mile spur. The loop section is paved and passes through a wooded area and along the Coplay Creek, making for great autumnal scenes. The Ironton Rail Trail’s spur portion is a crushed stone surface and passes by sites featuring the area’s cement manufacturing heritage, sure to interest history buffs.
Perfect Picnic Spots
Sometimes, you just need to spread a blanket in a beautiful spot and eat lunch. Here are some Valley options for picnics along the trail:
Monocacy Park | 259 Illlick's Mill Rd., Bethlehem
Two picnic pavilions straddle the Monocacy Creek in this cute park, with plenty of happy ducks willing to share your leftovers. Enjoy your picnic at tables or benches scattered throughout the park, which is framed with an attractive stone wall. Grills and stone fireplaces available. Other activities include fishing, walking, jogging, or biking on a scenic trail along Monocacy Creek. Nearby are a golf course, ice rink, and pool that are part of the Monocacy Complex. Dogs are permitted off leash in a fenced-in dog park.
Hugh Moore Park | along Lehigh River, Easton
There’s a lot of history here between the Lehigh River and Lehigh Canal, including the Josiah White II canal boat and National Canal Museum. The 520-acre park is home to the Josiah White II, a re-created canal boat pulled by two mules (currently not operating due to COVID-19). Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children. That includes admission to the park's National Canal Museum, which has hands-on exhibits. Historic structures along the canal include three operating locks, a locktender's house, ruins from 19th century industrial areas and the Change Bridge, one of the first iron cable suspension bridges. Large playground near the picnic areas. A small store that sells canal-related items as well as drinks and ice cream treats. Children also see the mules in their stalls when they are not pulling the boat. The park features nature and walking trails.
Sand Island | Off Lehigh St., Bethlehem, along the Lehigh River
Sand Island is the midpoint of the trail, which follows the canal and passes by several canal locks, a restored lock tender's house and other historic attractions. There also is canal access for canoes under the railroad trestle west of the Ice House. Picnic areas include tables and open grass areas. Lighted tennis courts are open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Hourly court fees. Season passes are available, as are tennis lessons for ages 6 and up. Basketball courts and a large playground with swings and jungle gyms next to the Ice House, which hosts performing arts programs. Families can ride bikes or walk along the Lehigh Canal Towpath Trail.
3 Cycling Adventures Worth Riding
- Park in Easton at the National Canal Museum. Cycle heading east along the Lehigh River for about three miles until you reach the Delaware River. The D&L trail heads south along the Delaware for 50 miles to Bristol. You can adjust the out and back ride as you wish. The first three miles will be paved. After that it the trail is hard packed dirt in fair shape. If you feel like riding really far, you can cross the river over to New Jersey at Frenchtown and head south on the D&R trail. There are several bridges to cross back over to PA so that you could make a loop of the ride. You have to walk your bike across the bridges.
- Park at the Cementon trailhead or Cove Road trailhead (about another four miles north of Cementon) and ride north on the D&L. The trail is in really good shape and a road bike with 700x28 tires can easily navigate it. The north section from Cementon to Mountain Top is about 57 miles. Plenty to keep you occupied! Heading north you will go through Slatington, past the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, Lehighton, Weisport, Jim Thorpe, Lehigh Gorge, Rockport, White Haven, and eventually reach Mountain Top.
- If you are looking for some quiet country roads, park at the Moore Township Recreation fields (located off of Route 987 about two miles north of Bath). From Moore Township, you'll head north towards Blue Mountain (Kittatinny Ridge). It can get a bit hilly but if you stay along the base of the mountain between Danielsville and Wind Gap it's not too bad. The back roads are lightly traveled and are popular with cyclists.
Looking to explore the entire 165 miles of the D&L trail? Check out connecting sections of the trail in our neighboring regions to extend your trip with the Pocono Mountains, Visit Luzerne County, and Visit Bucks County.