D&L Trail: White Haven to Lehigh Tannery

This article was originally published on DiscoverNEPA as part of the monthly series, Get Your Tail on the Trail. Rachael Stark is PEC’s Northeastern Pennsylvania Program Coordinator.

Rachael Stark, Northeastern Pennsylvania Program Coordinator

Find something for every trail enthusiast on the D&L.

The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (DLNHC) is one of the most well-known rail-trails in our region. Known as “the spine,” the D&L Trail preserves, interprets and leverages the nationally significant history of the 165-mile transportation route between Wilkes-Barre and Bristol, Pennsylvania. The multi-use trail is popular among hikers, cyclists, kayakers, and anglers of all ages and abilities.

This month, we’re highlighting the section of the D&L Trail in Luzerne and Carbon County, from the new White Haven access in Lehigh Gorge State Park to Lehigh Tannery. For experienced cyclers, this 1.6-mile section of trail can be extended to 26 miles to include the trail town of Jim Thorpe. The access area has an improved road, new restroom facilities and a beautiful new boat launch, making it a perfect weekend spot for anyone interested in participating in multiple types of outdoor recreation.  The flat, crushed stone trail is well maintained and will make the whole family feel welcome, whether this is your first time exploring a trail or your 100th.

Route Overview

Just after you begin your trek, you will come across a sign for Lock 28. This brief detour will lead you to a historic lock used on the Lehigh Canal, which helped redirect the flow of water into the Canal for the safe passage of boats carrying tons of coal. Many of these locks can be found along the Lehigh River and D&L Trail.

The rest of the trail offers beautiful, shaded views of the Lehigh River, where many people can be seen enjoying the water on summer days. Keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey that may use this view of the river for their afternoon meal! There’s also a small waterfall down the trail that makes for a great spot to stop for your own snack! On a damp day, you might be able to spot salamanders and toads enjoying this area.

Nearby Attractions

White Haven Borough is full of history and fun things to do after your adventure.  Check out D&L Trail Friendly Businesses like Pocono Biking and The Victorian Connection to help round out your adventure, or visit some of the wonderful eateries in the area. The White Haven Family Diner has been a local staple for decades, offering family friendly grub that will make you feel like you’re at grandma’s house!

Or grab a drink and snack at Tavern on the Trail, which sits on Main street right next to the trailhead. Wrap up your warm, summer evening with a sweet treat from Wood’s Ice Cream, which even has a sundae special for your furry friend!

When planning your D&L Trail adventure, first visit the interactive trail map online, which is updated daily to alert trailgoers of closures, hazards and conditions. Gaps along the D&L Trail exist in all counties except Carbon, as DLNHC continues to work with landowners and community partners to develop and improve the trail.

A Little History

Established in 1988 by U.S. Congress, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is one of 55 National Heritage Areas in the nation. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the organization’s mission emphasizes industrial heritage education and preservation, health and wellness through outdoor recreation via Get Your Tail on the Trail (which they founded with St. Luke’s University Health Network), economic development of towns and cities along the D&L Trail and nature and environment via conservation efforts.

After merging with the National Canal Museum (NCM), DLNHC formed a staff of 13 full-time employees and several seasonal and part-time workers, serving under a volunteer board. DLNHC also has two equine team members—the working mules Hank and George, who pull visitors on canal boat rides along the towpath in the spring, summer and fall at DLNHC’s headquarters in Easton, PA. Visit during NCM’s operating hours (which change seasonally, so check online prior to arrival). You can also attend an event along the trail, such as pop-up snowshoeing and historical tours.

Get Involved

DLNHC volunteers are critical to NCM operations, trail restoration efforts and the D&L Heritage Half Marathon—the nonprofit’s signature fundraising event. To get involved, sign up online, email [email protected] or call (610) 923-3548.