The Delaware and Raritan Canal is one of two canal systems in NJ, the other being the Morris Canal, which was abandoned years ago. The D&R is now a linear State Park, and runs from the Delaware River to New Brunswick, although it is discontinuous in Trenton. A feeder canal also runs along a portion of the Delaware Canal. Information on the canal and its historical importance can be viewed at: http://www.dandrcanal.com.
The section of the canal that I am familiar with is the section from Griggstown to Manville, about an 8-mile stretch. There are no locks on this stretch, but there are several very low bridges (I have to duck down even in my kayak.) The canal seems to be about 60' wide.
There are several places to put in along the canal in this section since county roads often run alongside or cross the canal. Most areas are wooded to either side, sometimes residences, generally older ones, border the canal. A tow path on the west side is used by fishermen, bikers, hikers, and horse riders. I paddled this area more than once with my young children. The sheltered, placid conditions were a good setting for getting them used to our kayak. Flora and fauna noted were consistent with still waters, including many turtles, ducks, various birds, as well a lily pad and other standing aquatic vegetation in some spots along the sides of the canal. Reportedly, cat fishing is good here.
Paddle this if you are looking for serene sheltered water and a quiet escape. In the past I have launched from the park adjacent to the ambulance building in East Millstone, as well as from the dock in Colonial Park in Somerset, and some folks launch from access points at the bridge crossings, where there is often limited parking.
Undeveloped shoreline or park-setting put-ins. If you put in at or paddle by Colonial Park, rest rooms and drinking water are available 100 yards from the dock. A convenience store is located near the put in East Millstone.
Interstate Route 287 to Weston Canal Road southbound. At about 3 miles, the road swings to the right and around a parking area, crossing the Canal. A put in is available here. Otherwise, make a left prior to the bridge, then left on Weston Road, then right on Mettlars Lane - the first right into Colonial Park has a parking area - walk 100 yards down the dirt road behind the barns to the dock. If you ask a ranger, they'll probably let you shuttle your boat down to the water, otherwise, carry the boat.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)