Rockport – Glen Onoko
Once in Rockport, you can follow this 12.6 mile trail down to Glen Onoko. Along the way, you will see abandoned ruins, and spectacular views of the Lehigh River. This trail is best-suited for walking and mountain biking. Railroad enthusiasts can check out the Rockport Tunnel; a 19th century railroad tunnel built through rock. This area is very popular, and parking may be hard to come by on the weekends. This trail is great for the social hiker, with plenty of opportunities for you and your dog to meet new people.
For the nautical enthusiast, the Glen Onoko trailhead also has a boat launch. You and your pooch can take a scenic river tour, and make a pit stop here for hiking, or just enjoy a quiet lunch or cup of coffee in town.
Glen Onoko – Jim Thorpe
This 2.1 mile section links downtown Jim Thorpe to the Lehigh Valley Gorge State Park. Enjoy even more magnificent views of the Lehigh River as you cross the Nesquehoning trestle. This area of railroad track was closed for 31 years, and was reopened in 2004. It allows bikers and hikers to pass safely down the trail, without having to use busy highways.
After your hike, why not spend an afternoon in the historic town of Jim Thorpe? Check out the celebrated Old Mauch Chunk Landing and the Jim Thorpe Visitor Center, built in 1888, for exhibits on coal mining, railroads, shipping, skiing and other outdoor recreation. You and your dog can enjoy an afternoon snack at one of this town’s plentiful cafes and bars.
Jim Thorpe – Weissport
This half-mile section of trail is still in the planning stages. Once completed, a new pedestrian bridge will connect downtown Jim Thorpe to the Weissport trail section; and could possibly be one of the most beautiful areas of the trail. Currently, there is no direct access between these two areas, so you may need to consult with a map to find the safest and best route.
This 3.6 mile section has been resurfaced recently, allowing for easy hiking and biking along its length. Beautiful views of the Lehigh River, along with access to a canal with stocked with trout, are a fisherman’s dream. Beautiful forests and mountain views are the perfect backdrop for hiking with your pets.
Before leaving Weissport, feel free to enjoy all its historical landmarks. Fort Allen, built by Benjamin Franklin in 1756, was demolished around 1780 but its well still exists today. Weissport also served as a boat-building and commercial center for this area during the late 1800’s and is filled with significant historical sites.
Weissport – Parryville – East Penn
The trail from Weissport to Parryville is about 2 miles in length. Follow the canal back to where it meets the Lehigh River while enjoying its scenic views, and ruins of old buildings. The trail ends at Parryville, and you will need to find a way to cross the river to the Lehighton-East Penn section on your own.
Once on the 4.5 mile Lehighton-East Penn section, use extreme caution, as several parts of the trail are “share the road” areas. Dog owners and families with young children may want to avoid this section. This trail follows a rail-trail along the route of the river and a steep mountainside.
East Penn – Lehigh Gap
Follow this 3.5 mile section along an old railroad bed from the East Penn Boat Launch to Lehigh Gap. This trail boasts excellent views of the Lehigh River and the slopes of the Kittatinny Ridge. This area’s bogs and ponds are filled with fish and waterfowl, and the forests contain a large variety of wildlife. The crushed stone surface of the trail make it excellent for walking and biking along with your dogs.
Lehigh Gap – Slatington
A must-see destination in Lehigh Gap; the Lehigh Gap Nature Center was once a Superfund site. It is currently undergoing restoration in order to return this area to a thriving ecosystem full of plants and animals. It conducts research projects and holds educational classes throughout the year. For the adventurous hiker, The Nature Center is located directly adjacent to a small network of trails that connect to the Appalachian Trail.
After spending time at the Nature Center, hop on the 1.9 mile trail down to Slatington. This trail has a cinder surface, and is perfect for hiking and biking.
Along the route to Slatington, you will pass through the Walnutport section. You can see remnants of locks and canals along the Lehigh River. A peninsula provides breathtaking views of the Lehigh Gap. Wildlife such as muskrat and plentiful fish make this an excellent place to take a short break from hiking. This section is mostly dirt, and is easy to pass on foot or bike.
Slatington – Laurys Station
Why not take in an event at the pavilion located at Slatington’s trailhead. Before leaving, don’t forget to visit the Fireman’s Drinking Fountain. This public drinking fountain was erected in 1909 to honor those that volunteer to keep people safe, and is in the form of a firefighter holding a baby over his shoulder. Then, grab some refreshments and snacks to take on your continued journey out of town.
If you would like to take a detour, the Slate Heritage Trail intersects the D&L Trail here. If not, continue on the 6.9 mile trail to Laurys Station. This isolated trail is located between a steep hillside and the riverbed.
Laurys Station – Northhampton
Travel almost 4 miles along this former railroad bed to enjoy views of the Lehigh River, ruins of mills and forgotten railroad tracks. Catch a glimpse of the plentiful wildlife, while walking or biking on the smooth cinder trail surface.