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Bikepacking the D&L and D&R Canal Trails from Allentown, PA to New Brunswick, NJ

Recently, my mom and I attempted a bikepacking trip along the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Trail and the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail. Part of our route, from Trenton to New Brunswick, is also a part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000 mile walking and biking route from Maine to Florida. My mom and I both aspire to complete the entire Greenway one day.

For those who don't know, bikepacking is exactly what it sounds like - biking combined with backpacking. We had to purchase some specialty bike bags in order to carry everything we would need for a normal backpacking trip on the frames of our bikes. This included food, water, sleeping gear, clothes, emergency supplies, etc.

My bikepacking setup

We started our journey in Allentown, PA and headed towards New Brunswick, NJ along the Lehigh, Delaware, and Raritan rivers. Our planned route covered 106 miles (however, it's worth noting that the D&L Trail extends ~75 miles further north of Allentown to Wilkes Barre, in case anyone wants to plan a longer route). We planned for two days of biking and one night of camping. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many state parks and campsites along the trail were closed and the only open campsite we could find was in Point Pleasant, PA. This meant we would have bike 45 miles on Day 1 and 60 miles on Day 2. We would have preferred to split the mileage more evenly between the two days, but any campsite was better than none!

Day 1 was great, although we got poured on and then had to bike through a lot of puddles. The trail terrain varied between gravel, dirt, and paved sections but it was very easy to follow. We got to our campsite with plenty of time to wash off in the river and set up our tent. My favorite part of Day 1 was seeing the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers in Easton, PA. I also enjoyed biking along the towpath in Bethlehem which I spent many hours running on during my college days at Lehigh University.

Day 2 was more difficult. The weather was much nicer this day, which meant we became dehydrated much faster. The sunny weather also caused more people to be out & about on the trails, so we ended up slowing down and/or dismounting our bikes often. We were in Blackwell Mills, NJ with about 15 more miles remaining to our destination in New Brunswick (my apartment) but we were both feeling exhausted and decided to call it quits. My dad was already coming to pick us up in New Brunswick, so we just asked him to pick us up in Blackwell Mills instead and spent the rest of the day enjoying the river and the sunshine. My favorite part of Day 2 was crossing from Pennsylvania to New Jersey at Washington Crossing and biking through the city of Trenton.

If anyone is looking for a easy-to-follow trail for a multi-day bikepacking trip, definitely check out the D&L and D&R Canal trails. Just be prepared to get muddy and note that your pace will likely be a lot slower than normal due to the popularity of the trails!

Day 1 Video Summary

Day 2 Video Summary

GPS Route Map

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