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Canoeing & Kayaking

Delaware & Raritan Canal, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Ron at Paint Island Canoe & Kayak, Bordentown, NJ 08505 609-324-8200
  • Date Submitted: 7/2001
  • Location: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Class: typically flatwater canal
  • Distance Paddled: There are about 4 miles of canal between Alexander Road and Route 27
  • Water Level: typically not affected too much by low water drought conditions elsewhere
  • Water: fresh
  • Wildlife: heard a number of birds along the way
  • Special Regulations:

Entry/Exit - Alexander Road

  • Directions: From Route 1, take Alexander Road west about 0.7 mile to the park entrance on the south side between the Lake Carnegie bridge and the Delaware and Raritan Canal Bridge just north of Canal Road. A challenging put in to Lake Carnegie is on the northwest side of this park.
  • Fee: none
  • Description: small dock
  • Parking: unpaved nearby
  • Facilities: restroom, and picnic area, playground, trail along canal
  • Handicap Access: none

Entry/Exit - Route 27

  • Directions: on Rt. 27 just northeast of where it crosses the canal and Millstone River (north of Princeton) and enter the Delaware and Raritan Canal Park at the signs on the southeast side of the road.
  • Fee: none
  • Description: small dock
  • Parking: unpaved nearby
  • Facilities: restroom, historical markers, lock, trail along canal
  • Handicap Access: the path to the dock is somewhat steep

What We Saw

The Delaware and Raritan Canal runs along Lake Carnegie and intersects with the Millstone River at the Route 27 put in described above. It is part of an extensive linear state park that runs through Princeton and beyond. The trail along the canal is a popular walking and jogging recreational area in Princeton.

Paddling the canal itself is relaxing and easy. There aren't that many easy places to put in and take out along the canal other than those listed above because the banks, though not high, are rather steep and covered with bushes and brambles.


Visit the park at Route 27 to learn more about the history of the canal. You can still see a working lock there (see photo at right) as well as historical markers and the lock master's house. The canal is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hand dug by 3000 Irish immigrants between 1831 and 1834, the $3 million, 66 mile, 75 foot wide, 8 foot deep canal was used mainly to transport coal from Pennsylvania to New York between the Delaware and Raritan Rivers via mule drawn barges. 14 locks were used to raise and lower vessels across the changing elevation.

By 1843, steam vessels replaced the tow mules. Following the civil war, the canal had its busiest period for commercial transport.

Vessels no longer used the canal after 1932, though the canal continued to supply water to the area.