The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal first opened for business in 1829, connecting the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay. It proved vital for the economies of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, and it has been expanded and updated over the last two centuries. Today, around 40% of cargo that enters the Port of Baltimore passes through the canal.
Unlike many of the canal trails the dog-loving hiker or biker will encounter, the C&D Canal Recreational Trails run along along an active waterway. Ships of all sizes can be seen from the paved path, providing extra excitement for visitors.
The trail consists of two connected portions. The Michael Castle Trail runs 12.4 miles from Delaware City, Delaware, to the Maryland state line. There, it meets the Ben Cardin Trail, which travels around two miles to Chesapeake City, Maryland.
While in Delaware, travelers will pass under three canal-spanning bridges and around a marina before moving along the edge of Lums Pond State Park. The park features additional trails. Lums Pond is open to boating and fishing (but not swimming).
Once travelers reach Chesapeake City, they will find a number of excellent restaurants. Free ferry service transports passengers to the other side of the canal from April to October. The canal’s south bank is home to a free museum detailing the waterway’s history. Visitors will find historic artifacts, such as a 19th century water wheel used in canal travel. A live map of ships currently passing through the canal is also displayed.
The C&D is a terrific place to take your dog, particularly when combined with a visit to Lums Pond State Park. While not all activities may be available to your pet (restaurants and the museum may balk at admitting your pooch), there are enough things to de and do with your furry friend that you won’t leave disappointed!