Current status of Delaware and Raritan (D&R) canal?
Hoping to have a weekend trip in north/central Jersey visiting friends. When they come here to Philly, we take them my 13-year-old godson for a ride on the Schuylkill River Trail. Now my godson has learned to associate me with long flat bike rides without cars around.
I'm looking at the D&R canal near Bound Brook, headed either towards New Brunswick or Princeton, but I've heard the path surface can be a bit rough. Anyone in the area able to post the current conditions? Huge chunks of gravel would be bad, pea gravel or hardpack dirt would be great.
Never heard of huge chunks of gravel on that arm of the trail. Are you familiar with the feeder arm from the Trenton Area to just south of Milford, NJ? It goes along the Delaware River and is primarily crushed limetine. I rode the entire stretch between Lambertville and the end near Milford on Easter weekend. Totally fine. You could probably even do it with 23c tires. I have in the past. I don't recommend riding north of Frenchtown because the trail abruptly end in the middle of nowhere before you get to Milford. (There is a environmental clean up site between the trail's abrupt end and the town of Milford.)
On nice feature of the feeder arm is that it passes through Lambertville, Stockton and Frenchtown, where you can get food and drink. It also passes by Bull's Island Recreation Area, where you will find water, bathrooms, a large pinic area and a boat ramp where you can take a dip in the river. There is also a pedestrian bridge to PA there with a nice view of the river. At the PA side of that bridge is the Black Bass Hotel. It serves lunch and has outdoor seating overlooking the river. Depending on how far you want to ride, you could start at the NJ side of Washington's Crossing or in L'Ville, head north, then ride back. Shorter drive than Bound Brook.
I rode there last year with my 9 year old son, We park in Piscataway/New Brunswick - right across from Highpoint (Rutgers) Stadium and rode towards Bound Brook. The path was re-done a few years back for the most part its all hard packed dirt. Theres a few small spots that isn't. Right when you get on the path in Piscataway theres a dam separating the river from the canal thats all rock, its maybe 50 feet long - you'll most likely just walk the bike across there. Towards Bound Brook theres a section where they are building townhouses, part of the path was ripped up and it was gravel (Last fall when I rode it) - I'm not sure what it is now, I was able to ride it, my son walked, its not a big stretch at all maybe 300 feet if even that much.
me and my son did about 15 miles last year and the ride is excellent.
The section between Milford and Lambertville is doable with regular road tires. I was on it a month or two ago with 23c tires and never have had problems.
According to Delaware and Raritan Canal Park website, the section between Queens Bridge in South Bound Brook and 10 mile lock is closed for emergency repairs since May 1.
Also, I rode the section from Rocky Hill to Kingston last weekend. It was awful. Lots of area with big gravel. Lots of sections with no gravel, just mud. A tracked vehicle has been driven on the path and left a washboard effect. It also appears one or more motorcycles were driven on the path when it was wet, leaving deep tire tracks with raised edges. Of course, these are in the wettest part of the path. I almost wiped out when I went through a puddle (should have been more careful) when one of these edges started to take my front wheel out from under me.
I agree with others that recommend the feeder canal path along the Delaware.
I went from New Brunswick to Griggstown and back today. The first five miles or so out of NB were really rough, with deep, bumpy washout ruts and some baseball-sized gravel. After that, it smoothed out.