Trenton has many impressive historic sites and structures, but one of the most unique and pleasing is the Delaware & Raritan Canal, running the length of the city as it connects the Delaware and Raritan rivers. Once a major 19th century industrial artery, the D&R Canal entered the National Register of Historic Places and was made a state park in the 1970s. Today it's towpath provides a bucolic setting for contemplative walks and bike rides. The canal's beauty belies its critical role in the industrial development of the region, and the hard labor needed to construct it. Starting in 1830, laborers dug the 60-plus-mile canal by hand. Construction took four years, and cost over $2.8 million.
For almost a century the D&R Canal was one of America's busiest, feeding the region's development during the industrial revolution. In the 1860s and 1870s, at it's peak, 80 percent of the canal's freight was Pennsylvania coal destined for New York to feed that city's industrial boom.
By the 20th century, railroads had supplanted the canal. Although the canal is now partly buried in north Trenton, in the western part of the city it ambles by Cadwalader Park and some of Trenton's most beautiful neighborhoods, providing a perfect setting for an urban outing.
For maps and trails go to www.dandrcanal.com/