Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bull's Island Recreation Area, NJ with Delaware Canal Towpath, PA

Bull's Island Recreation Area, NJ - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, NJ - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
White Oak Trail - Delaware Township, NJ
Delaware Canal State Park, PA - PA DCNR

GPS Coordinates 40.41613, -75.01820
Parking at Zega-Lockatong Preserve on Raven Rock Road

Bull's Island Recreation Area, NJ - NJ Department of Environmental Protection (shows all of the trails for this hike)
White Oak Trail - Delaware Township, NJ
Delaware Canal State Park, PA - PA DCNR

My GPS went rogue on me - the two tracks at the top right should be one and the same, not far apart like they are.

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.7 miles

The hike starts off with a .3 mile road walk on Raven Rock Road.
We would be returning via the footpath straight ahead which is there the White Oak Trail comes out, but for the beginning of this hike, we turned left on Federal Twist Road.
It's .7 mile more of road walking, all downhill.
I had seen a connection on GoogleMaps straight across Route 29 at the end of Federal Twist Road and was concerned it might no longer be there since it wasn't easy to see.
But it is there, a very short path from Route 29 to the D&R Canal Towpath.
Looking from the D&R towpath back across Route 29 at Federal Twist Road.
Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath
After about .5 mile you can see the start of the White Oak Trail across Route 29.  That would be our return route later on.
For now, a short distance ahead to the entrance of Bull's Island Recreation Area where rescue vehicles with boats were entering almost nonstop.  There was no rescuing to be done, more like some sort of water rescue event which turned out to be quite loud and annoying.  I just picked the wrong day.
Heading into Bull's Island Recreation Area.
The canal from the bridge,
Just after the canal bridge, a trail on the left,
It starts out as a wide, smooth woods road along the canal.
It gets rocky after a while.
Between the canal on the left and the Delaware River on the right,
This keeps going between the canal and the river but it is a very steep descent to get there...
... which is not wheelchair-friendly.
Across the Delaware River, a bridge on the PA towpath side where we would be heading next.
Heading back and taking the left fork when the trail splits.
The trail comes out on a paved road which leads to ...
... the boat launch on the left.
A right turn leads to the park road then a left on the park road ...
... to the pedestrian bridge over the Delaware River.
Delaware River looking north.
Delaware River to the south.
After the bridge, a right on River Road for a short distance ...
... then a right over the canal at Lock 12.
We turned right on the path heading south.
Under the pedestrian bridge.
I don't know what kind of training those rescue boats were doing but all they did was go up the river and back, up and back and they were LOUD!
It looks so peaceful and quite but not on this day.
Coming up on that bridge we saw across the river from the natural area trail earlier.
Looking over to where we stood before.
Turning around and heading back north.
Instead of heading back to the pedestrian bridge ...
... we sat at one of the picnic tables and took a break ...
... the continued north for a bit.
That great blue heron apparently does not mind those LOUD and ANNOYING boats.
They are everywhere!
Duck siesta time.
I would think this white one is a domestic escapee given refuge by the wild mallards.  "Make like you are one of us."
Wing Dam
Heading back south.
Could not tell if her wheel was stuck or if she stopped to sniff.  Turned out to be both.
The heron ...
... shaking off water ...
... and taking off.
Back at Lock 12 and ...
... the short River Road road walk.
The pedestrian bridge is much more crowded now than it was earlier.
Crossing back over the canal on the park road.
At Route 29 we turned right to get to the White Oak Trail just a short distance ahead.
There is a wide grassy area so you don't need to walk on the road.
Directly across from the deer sign, the White Oak Trail.
There are a few numbered markers that are referenced on the map but most are missing or overgrown.
The trail is easy enough to follow but it hasn't had any maintenance in a while.
The White Oak Trail comes out on Quarry Road; turn left ...
... then right just after the guardrail.
The White Oak Trail ends at the intersection of Raven Rock Road and Federal Twist Road.  We continued straight on Raven Rock Road.
Back at the parking lot.


  1. Hi Daniela -- Excellent pix! Last year I did a couple of bike "jaunts" on the D&R Canal Trail (one from Washington Crossing State park to Scudder's Falls and another from Prallsville Mills to Bulls Island Recreation Area.) Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend much time at Bulls Island, but I was able to park the bike and walk about halfway over the nice bridge towards PA. I got many decent pix of the Delaware River, and a couple of the restaurant (seen as you are walking towards the PA side, on the left side of the bridge.) Fortunately, I didn't hear any of the boats that you witnessed yesterday! Heck, even Shawnee looked sort of annoyed in the one picture! :)

    Anyway, thanks to your pix, and your adventure in the area, I am *stoked* to revisit Bulls Island, and explore some of the areas that you & Shawnee did. I have yet to check out a little of the canal trail on the PA side as well, so I would definitely make it a point to include this!

    So glad Shawnee (aka "Hiker Dog") has adjusted to the "wheelchair", because your adventures are as excellent as ever! Happy hiking!

    -- Jim

    1. Thanks, Jim! I was speaking with a biker on the pedestrian bridge who lives in the area and bikes there frequently. He says the most scenic part is farther north all the way to Easton on the PA side so we will have to check that out.


  2. Beautiful photos and it looks like a beautiful area. Always glad to see Shawnee. God Bless her that she still gets out with you. Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

  3. Nice spot! (minus boats). Always enjoy the hikes you two post. Brings back fond memories of Jersey's outdoors :)

    1. Thanks, Eddie. Yes, it was nice minus the boats. At least you can't hear them in the pictures!