The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park is one of central New Jersey’s most popular recreational corridors for canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding. The canal and towpath are part of the National Recreational Trail System. The 70-mile linear park is a valuable wildlife corridor connecting fields and forests.
With its 19th-century bridges, bridgetender houses, past and present locks, cobblestone spillways and hand-built stone-arched culverts, the canal is a tremendous attraction for history lovers. The upper reach of the feeder canal wanders through quaint New Jersey towns along the Delaware River such as Stockton and Lambertville. The main canal passes the Port Mercer canal house, through the charming village of Griggstown to Blackwells Mills, ending up in New Brunswick. Canoes can be rented at Griggstown and Princeton from private concessionaires.
Most of the canal system remains intact today and is a reminder of the days when the delivery of freight depended upon a team of mules or steam tugboats. Nearly 36 miles of the main canal and 22 miles of the feeder canal still exist, with many historic structures along the canal.
Facilities & Activities:
Cook Natural Area
Six Mile Run Reservoir Site
The towpath and multi-use trails are great for all ages and physical abilities. Both the Main Canal Trail, which runs 34 miles in length, and the Feeder Canal Trail at 31.5 miles are ADA accessible.
Picnic table and grills are located at some of the access points and near a few of the historic sites. Informal picnicking is allowed along the canal. Open fires are not permitted. Charcoal fires are restricted to the grill in the picnic areas.
The historic towpath found along the feeder and main canal is suitable for hiking, jogging and biking. Horseback riding is permitted on the main canal only. Motorized vehicles or ATV's are not permitted on trails in the park. In addition to the canal trail, patrons can access trails at the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site, Kingston greenway and Cook Natural Area Trails from the park office located in Kingston as well as one trail found within the Bull's Island Natural Area.
Fishing is permitted the entire length of the canal. Anglers can find bass, sunfish, catfish, perch and pickerel within the canal as well as trout, which the Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks the canal with each spring. Fishing is also permitted in the Delaware River. All canal and river fishing is subject to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
The New Jersey State Park Service supports the mission of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Both agencies endeavor to protect and manage the State's fish and wildlife to maximize their long-term biological, recreational and economic values for all New Jerseyans. Sportspersons must comply with all current NJ Fish and Wildlife regulations as noted in the hunting digest.
The D&R Canal State Park offers five boat launches into the Delaware River. Launches are located at:
Kingwood Township, Hunterdon County
Byram, Hunterdon County
Bulls Island, Stockton, Hunterdon County
Fireman's Eddy, Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Boat Launches are available from sunrise to sunset year round.
There are no motor restrictions on the river, but all the New Jersey boating regulations apply.
There are restrictions on boating and canoeing on the canal. Only electric motors, car top launch, and canoes are permitted, which, can be rented from private concessionaires in Griggstown and Princeton.