Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Trail type
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hikers looking for an easy, but interesting historical trail should plan a visit to the Walnutport Canal Spur. Located in the town of Walnutport in eastern Pennsylvania, about 15 miles north of Allentown, this trail is sure to intrigue any adventurer fascinated by history.

The canal spur offers an easy walk alongside what was once a busy transportation route, the Lehigh Canal. Coal-laden canal boats traveled 46 miles from the present-day town of Jim Thorpe to Easton utilizing the Lehigh Navigation System’s forty-nine locks. The locks allowed the boats to be raised or lowered to a different water level. Continuous flood damage and competition from the emerging railroads led to the abandonment of the Lehigh Canal in 1942.

Yet, here along the Walnutport Canal Spur, hikers can learn about the canal and imagine what life was like when a blow on a conch shell alerted the locktender that a boat was approaching. The locktender had to hurry to operate the gates that controlled the lock and allow the boats to continue on their journey. The locktenders, or their family members, worked the gates 18 hours a day. During the 19th century, they lived in the locktender house for free and received about $8.00 a month as a salary.

Adventurers visiting this trail will see an original 1828 stone locktender’s house that has been beautifully restored. Walnutport Canal Association volunteers open the house whenever possible. The home contains period furnishings from 1840-1880 along with historic photographs and canal artifacts. Alongside the house is a well-maintained lock and picnic area. There are no restrooms.

The canal spur trail is a wide path leading between the tranquil water-filled canal and the quick-flowing Lehigh River. The mostly grass trail has some gravel areas and short, narrow wooden bridges. Watch for geese, ducks, fish and turtles enjoying the canal. The trail is good for bicycling, dog walking and snowshoeing or cross-country skiing when the snowfall cooperates. Adventurers will discover a second picnic area with a lock and locktender’s property in ruins. When the trail reaches a bridge in ruins, the end of the trail becomes evident. Turn around and enjoy the return trip along the canal, just as the canal boats once traveled back and forth along this route.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Interesting historical elements. Restored lock and house. Second lock and house in ruins.


Trail ends at washed out bridge. No restrooms.

Trailhead Elevation

360.00 ft (109.73 m)

Highest point

360.00 ft (109.73 m)


Near lake or river
Historically significant
Family friendly
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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