Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Lehigh Valley's Best Kept Secret

As bad as this pandemic has been, there are bright spots. I love to walk and cycle. I even love to "run," although I can only do that about once every four days. My walks are through Nazareth neighborhoods, where I am quite correctly viewed with suspicion. My bike rides have mostly been along local roads, where I have presented an inviting target to local motorists. But I've also been able to rediscover our local trails, which in my opinion sets the Lehigh Valley apart from most other communities. And now, I'm going to let you in on which trail is the best by far.

I've pretty much been on all of them. Canal Park to Sand Island, Nor-Bath trail, Tatamy, Sand Island to Easton, Palmer Bike Path, Trexler Park, the Delaware Canal from Easton To Riegelsville and a few others. They are all beautiful in their own way

I think you could spend a lifetime looking for the perfect trail and it would not be a wasted life. I've found my favorite. It's the D and L trail starting at Canal Street Park in Northampton. I've taken it to Slatington twice so far. It's wide, well-maintained, flat and just beautiful. After a few miles, I begin to see how pretty the Lehigh Valley still is. The ride to Slatington is ten miles, and at the trailhead, a food truck serves up delicious and healthy dishes like halupki soup, along with several other foods that look very appetizing.

I'm told this trail extends north all the way to White Haven, so this seems like the ultimate place for a long bike ride. Each mile is clearly marked, so you know exactly how far you've gone.

My goal this summer is to take it up north as far as I can go. 

23 comments:

LVCI said...

Another good one is from Green Lane, Pa. There are trails around the park down there and another going all the way into Philadelphia (along the Schuylkill River). All of the views are excellent with a few parks trail side along the way

LVCI said...

(20-mile Perkiomen Trail)

Anonymous said...

Make sure you in good shape before you go north of Tamaqua on the D&L - more uphill and softer gravel makes for a tougher ride going north. The stretch between Slatington and Lehighton is beautiful too.

Anonymous said...

Sorry not Tamaqua - Jim Thorpe.

Anonymous said...

White Haven to Jim Thorpe is the most beautiful hands down. That's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

This post is a breath of fresh air.

Thank you Bernie

Carl said...

https://www.traillink.com/
https://www.alltrails.com/
Don't be dorks, know the rules on the trails.

Carl said...

www.alltrails.com
www.traillink.com

Don't be dorks on the trails, know the rules

Anonymous said...

So it's true! O'hare pedals his ass!!!

pathfinder said...

Bernie, I have biked all of the trails you have named plus the entire Perkiomen Trail, Valley Forge, Chester County Trail, and many parts of the Schuylkill River Trail. As stated by others, the D&L north of Jim Thorpe is absolutely the most scenic and unspoiled views I have experienced on any trail. There are also historical markers along the trail to educate those who do not know the history of the canal and railroads that eventually evolved into the trail. With the completion last year of the Mansion House Bridge, one can ride rom White Haven to Cementon. I did yesterday. Another nice trail in the Jim Thorpe area is the Switchback Trail from Jim Thorpe to Summit Hill. You have to be an experienced rider and in shape for this ride. If you really want a challenge, ride from Jim Thorpe to Flagstaff.

When they are allowed to re-open, new riders can take the normal train tour out of Jim Thorpe to Penn Haven, disembark with you bike and bike the 8 miles back to Jim Thorpe. There is also monthly bike trains. You and your bike is transported to White Haven by train and you bike the 25 miles back to Jim Thorpe. Along the way you will have fantastic views of the river and view some waterfalls. On both rides the train does the hard part. When you get off the bike ride is all down slope.

Bernie O'Hare said...

How long is the ride from White Haven to Cementon? I ride a lot of roads and am actually used to hills. I am surprised by how easily I can do them. That arc trainer really helped me at the gym. The ride to Slatington and back was rather easy. But I need to build up to longer rides. My longest so far this season is just 22. But I've ridden that distance about 10 times and it is time to extend. I could probably do 35 without too much trouble, maybe more. I can't wait to ride up there. I heard the ride from Jim Thorpe to Summit Hill is tough. Now I wish the lockdown could be extended, lol.

pathfinder said...

Bernie, the ride from White Haven to Cementon is 48 miles. Other distances that you should easily cover is Cementon to PA 895 in Bowmanstown is 31.3 miles with no hills. Grade is similar to the Slatington rides you are doing. The only issue going north of Slatington is the narrow gate at the airport. This site gives you distances between trailheads & trail conditions: https://delawareandlehigh.org/map/

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think I can handle Cementon to Bowmanstown and back bc it is flat. Will give it a whirl. Thanks for the info. Love that food truck in Slatington, lol. Halupki soup is clutch.

Anonymous said...

Those monthly bike trains sound great. I have to check that out.

pathfinder said...

I also like the food truck at the Slatington trailhead. On Thursday-Sunday there is another food truck at the East Penn Boat Launch trailhead. That is 1 mile south of Bowmanstown. Good Luck and enjoy biking.

Anonymous said...

great post, been doing the D&L for a few years. I love running cementon to walnutport since it's shaded most of the way. Take your fishing rod if you like to trout fish. The Lehigh River Stocking Assoc stocks from Glen Onoko to the Coplay bridge. Nice trout, too. Not like the puny ditch trout the state puts in the local ditches. Oh, a practice catch & release!
Thanks Bernie

Anonymous said...

Slatington to Cementon is my favorite local bike ride as well. You can hopscotch through the river communities on the street and get back on the trail at Canal Park, but I totally agree with you about the tranquility and beauty of the Slatington to Cementon trail segment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"great post, been doing the D&L for a few years. I love running cementon to walnutport since it's shaded most of the way. Take your fishing rod if you like to trout fish. The Lehigh River Stocking Assoc stocks from Glen Onoko to the Coplay bridge. Nice trout, too. Not like the puny ditch trout the state puts in the local ditches. Oh, a practice catch & release!
Thanks Bernie"


OMG My grandson and I want to do some fishing and you have given us a great tip. Thanks! Time to get a license.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Take a bucket of minnows to the old Treichlers Damn (just north of the RT 145 bridge) You can walk out on the concrete and fish from there. Smallmouth bass and trout all day long. They stock under the 145 bridge too, which is a good spot, no obstacles or tree branches to get snagged on. Stop by Willie's Bait Shop in Cementon, he'll get you hooked up with bait and spinners!

Michael Drabenstott said...

Bernie, I'm not sure if you're aware but I'm the current chair of the D&L board. I'm so thankful for your post in addition to the comments. I, too, love the section of trail you mention. I can't tell you how many miles I've biked and run between Cementon and Slatington. (Not to mention many other sections of the trail many times over.) The D&L currently goes about 11 miles north of White Haven to what is called the Black Diamond Trailhead. The D&L Trail is a treasure. We're working hard to connect the D&L from Northampton to Allentown on both sides of the river as well as a final 15 miles into Wilkes-Barre. You can check out delawareandlehigh.org for trail maps and info or reach out to me directly. Thanks to all readers because it's local, county, state and federal tax money (as well as memberships and private donations) that make the trail possible. It's a fraction of a fraction of the money that goes toward roads. Thanks to all.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, I knew you were into cardio and cycling but had no idea you chaired the D and L Board. My compliments. The stretch between Cementon and Slatington is just gorgeous. I love the mile markers at every half mile (very important if you like long distance running), the width of the path, its obvious high maintenance and the beauty that surrounds you. It's just stunning. I've gone along the D and L from Canal Park to Easton, and from Easton to Riegelsville. They all have their good points, But Cementon to Slatington is by far my favorite. I have a trail map for the LV region, and plan to get maps for the northern section. My grandson, a college basketball player, loved riding the course. He will be returning to hoops soon but I will be spending a lot more time on that stretch. Thanks for what you do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, Take a bucket of minnows to the old Treichlers Damn (just north of the RT 145 bridge) You can walk out on the concrete and fish from there. Smallmouth bass and trout all day long. They stock under the 145 bridge too, which is a good spot, no obstacles or tree branches to get snagged on. Stop by Willie's Bait Shop in Cementon, he'll get you hooked up with bait and spinners!"

I will be there!

pathfinder said...

Bernie, you will find the entire D&L from Cementon to White Haven as you have experienced. The trail between Cementon & Jim Thorpe is along the former LVRR main line. From Jim Thorpe north it is on the former Central of New Jersey RR right of way. The railroads were built trying not to exceed a 1% grade. While the grade does increase a little north of Penn Haven it still is not hard. The Saucon Rail Trail has a steeper grade. I understand The Black Diamond Trail has a more pronounced grade. I have not ridden it yet but intend to in the near future. The entire trail is a hidden diamond that many are just discovering because of the coronavirus.