Scenic, easy biking and a covered bridge on the Delaware & Lehigh Canal towpath from Frenchtown, N.J. to Riegelsville, P.A.
This route is just a fraction of the 168 miles available on the D&L in Pennsylvania.
- Shorter – Simply turn back sooner.
- Longer – The trail continues north but check the park site for current closures in that direction. The trail also goes south all the way to Bristol.
- Other D&L biking: Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Our two cents: Mostly easy, level bike ride (or easy hiking) that includes a pretty covered bridge near the beginning with the bonus of food options at the start and right ON the trail.
Can be a nice day out for the whole family. The majority of this route is shady, with some sunny open fields in the beginning, but generally, the trail looks like this:
Frenchtown, NJ is normally our turnaround point, whether on an out-and-back on the D&R or a loop with the D&L. We’d never gone further north so we wanted to check it out.
The D&R does continue past Frenchtown for a bit, but with no bridges over to the P.A. side to create a loop there was no reason to do that short section.
We decided to start in Frenchtown, New Jersey (which is actually on the D&R) and bike over the bridge to the D&L instead of parking at one of the P.A. parking lots since:
1) it’s a little less driving to stay on the NJ side and 2) we wanted to end with lunch in Frenchtown, NJ.
0.0 – From the parking lot, walk the bike on the pedestrian walkway on the bridge over the Delaware River.
Finding the D&L is not obvious, there are no signs, which we discovered two years ago when doing a different loop. (Biking: D&R Canal – Lambertville to Frenchtown)
After crossing the bridge, cross Rt 32, turn LEFT, and ride a little bit on the shoulder of 32.
Turn RIGHT on Ulherstown Hill Rd (we didn’t spot a street sign).
Ride past farmland before arriving at the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge.
Turn LEFT before the bridge to access the towpath (there is a sign). Turn RIGHT onto the towpath and go under the bridge to head north on the D&L.
2.6 miles – Parking and restroom at the small Park Office and parking lot at Lock 19.
Keep on riding along the canal.
4.1 miles – I hadn’t thought to research what was ON the trail so I nearly skidded to a halt in surprised delight when a coffee roaster / general store came into view… mere steps away from the trail. BONUS!
We’d already eaten breakfast so this spurred a lively discussion of what to get on the way back – “coffee and snack, or lunch there instead of in Frenchtown?”
5.1 miles – Update: 7/2019, this is repaired. The D&L trail suffers from flood damage
and we came upon a “closed” collapsed section but there was a narrow path that we were able to walk the bikes on.
7.6 miles – Took a break at the Nockamixon Cliff picnic tables.
12.5 miles – Decided to turn around after another short break sitting on a stone wall overlooking the Delaware.
We saw a group of people floating the Delaware on tubes glide by.
This is an out-and-back ride, so just retrace the route back.
Parking: N40.52478° W75.06298°
River Rd, Frenchtown, NJ 08825 – could not locate a street # for the lot. It depends on approach, but if you’re taking Rt 12 W follow into Frenchtown, L on Race St., continue on to Bridge St., L on River Rd. right before the bridge.
Space for ~50 cars or so but get there early to snag a spot. It was more than half-full at 9:30 am.
There are multiple parking areas along the D&L to start on the Pennsylvania side right on the trail, check the map. This would remove crossing the bridge and locating the D&L, for those who would rather do that.
Gas station on the approach via Rt. 12. Nothing in the Frenchtown lot, though there was another gas station in town that might have had something. The Bridge Café one is customers only.
Along the trail is a restroom at the Park Office/Lock 19 Lodi at 2.6 miles.
Did not spot any other public ones, but there are some stores/restaurants on the road that parallels the trail in addition to the coffee place along the trail.
Check the D&L section on our Delaware Canal Towpath page.
Ranges from nicely crushed red gravel to narrow single-file dirt path; some mostly avoidable roots. The closed section where the trail had collapsed is marked in the GPX; it will likely be some time before it’s fixed.
Homestead General Store and Coffee Roasters – We got ice coffees (they give you a cup with frozen cubes of coffee so it doesn’t get diluted – nice) and split a tasty chocolate brownie while sitting at a table along the trail.
Also bought a bag of their whole bean – a whiskey conditioned roast – and yes it is as delicious as it sounds.
The Bridge Café – It was nice to sit at an open-air table and relax after our ride.
The lentil & spinach veggie burger was tasty (the description had me at the 3 magic words: “slathered with hummus”) and Tom got a burger special that he stated was decent.
They have an ice cream counter too if you are just looking for a treat.