The Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail on Two Wheels

I had the most amazing experience on my e-bike. I rode 33km from Rocky Hill to Port Mercer, all along the scenic Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail. It was a blast!

I had planned to take my e-bike out for a spin once the weather improved. Cold weather and uncomfortable mornings in early May had made me hesitant to go cycling. However, when I woke up on the weekend and checked the weather, I was relieved to find a wonderful forecast of warmer weather and clear skies. I couldn’t miss this opportunity, so after enjoying a hearty breakfast, I ensured my helmet and trusty Xpremium bicycle were in good condition. Then, I set off towards Rocky Hill.

Years ago, Bhavna and I embarked on a winter walk along the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail from Griggstown Lock to Kingston Lock with a group organised by the Montgomery Friends of Open Space. It was an invigorating walk in freezing weather. On a few other occasions, we also walked from Kingston Lock to Millstone Aqueduct and once from the Millstone Aqueduct to the Harrison Street Bridge. Simple pleasures.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

My previous rides on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail were shorter, so this time I aimed to go a little further. My plan was simple; ride from Rocky Hill to Kingston Lock, take a breather, capture some photographs, and then continue to the Millstone Aqueduct and footbridge. However, upon reaching the footbridge, I wanted to push on. I told myself I would go as far as Lower Harrison Street. Crossing the footbridge, I carried on.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

When I arrived at Lower Harrison Street, I questioned myself, “How far can you go?” I worried about going too far, becoming too tired, or experiencing low blood glucose that would require Bhavna to come to my rescue. I checked my camera bag to ensure I had enough jelly beans to manage potential hypoglycemiahypoglycemia1. Feeling confident, I continued my journey.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I crossed the Washington Road Bridge, then the Alexander Road Bridge near Turning Basin Park in Princeton. Each time I reached a bridge, I wondered, “How much further can I go?” By crossing the Alexander Road Bridge, I had mentally committed to continuing to Port Mercer.

Port Mercer, a hamlet in Lawrence Township, owes its development to the opening of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in 1834. Before the canal’s construction, the area mainly consisted of agricultural land, primarily located further east and centred around Clarksville along the Trenton-New Brunswick Turnpike, known today as US Route 1. Prominent families like Clark, Gordon, Applegate, Phillips, Arrowsmith, and Forman owned extensive estates and farms close to Brunswick Pike.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

The canal’s inauguration brought the residents a new avenue of transportation and economic opportunity. Alfred Applegate, an enterprising individual, seized this chance and established a store near the present-day bridge crossing, adjacent to the newly constructed canal bridge house. Over time, the store changed hands, with notable figures like John A. Crater and Charles Mather taking charge. By the 1850s, the canal hamlet thrived, featuring a cluster of homes, a post office, an inn, a steam-powered sawmill, a coal yard, and a turning and delivery basin.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

The name “Port Mercer” emerged from the basin’s significance. It served as a loading and delivery area, facilitating direct transportation and the exchange of goods with larger markets in Trenton and New Brunswick. Additionally, it established connections to major cities like Philadelphia and New York City.

The ride to Port Mercer was a simple yet invigorating experience. The air smelled crisp and clean. I enjoyed witnessing everything that makes the Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail so fascinating - birds, turtles, humans walking dogs, paddle boats, and wildflowers. I even caught a glimpse of a snake. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride there and back again, with paddle boats gracefully gliding through the canal.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

A sense of contentment washed over me as I made my way back. The ride offered a blend of adventure and tranquillity, for which I felt grateful.

I documented the ride on Strava. The round trip covered a distance of 33.98 km and lasted a little over two hours. Perhaps next time, I’ll venture all the way down to the Brearley House.

Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail at Port Mercer · Monday 8 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

  1. I have Type 1 diabetes and manage my blood glucose with insulin. Hypoglycemia is always a concern. ?

Author: Khürt Williams

a human, an application security architect, avid photographer, nature lover, and formula 1 fan who drinks beer.

8 thoughts on “The Delaware and Raritan Canal Park Trail on Two Wheels”

  1. We visited someone the other day who showed us his electronic bike. I had no idea such things exist. My impression was that it was half-way between a bicycle and a motorcycle.

    1. It’s a bicycle with an electric motor. So … that technically makes it a motorcycle. In the Netherlands, e-bikes accounted for approximately half of all bicycle sales in 2020.

  2. A beautiful post Khurt. People used to make fun of me when I lived in NJ as we called ourselves the Garden State but most people only see the TPK or the PKWY as they pass through on the way to somewhere else! I traveled much of the same territory you do and know how beautiful much of the state is. Back then there were no such things as e-bikes (although I did have a motorbike for a very short time) but it's the perfect way to cover so much more of this beautiful place. terrific post!

    1. Tina, thank you for your kind words! It's a shame that the beauty of New Jersey often goes unnoticed. The e-bike has been a game-changer, allowing me to venture to areas not accessible by car. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the post!

  3. A beautiful ride through the park, Khurt. I loved that you told a story as you took us along. I especially love the turtle, the herring and the dirt trail. Such a pretty place. Time well spent.

    1. Thanks, Donna! It's funny you brought up storytelling. I used to do that a lot more when my blog was in its "younger" days. I hope I can get back to writing in that style again soon.

I want to hear from you. Leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Feel free to comment on this story directly above, but you can also go to links/summaries posted to social media, and reply to or comment on them there.

IndieWebCamp: To respond on your own website, enter the URL of your response which should contain a link to this post's permalink URL. Your response will then appear (possibly after moderation) on this page. Want to update or remove your response? Update or delete your post and re-enter your post's URL again. (Learn More)