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Pennsylvania Trail of the Year

Pennsylvania is a leader in trail development, providing its citizens and visitors with more than 11,000 miles of trails across the commonwealth to enjoy, from gentle pathways threading through miles of preserved greenways, to remote, rugged trails scaling the state’s magnificent mountains. 

Each year, the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee designates a Trail of the Year to help build enthusiasm and support for both large and small trails, and raise public awareness about the value of Pennsylvania’s trail network.

In honor of the achievement, the committee and DCNR produce a poster for statewide distribution and plan a public celebration for the recognized trail.

2022 Trail of the Year: Delaware Canal State Park Towpath

The 58.9-mile Delaware Canal Towpath passes through 18 municipalities in Bucks and Northampton counties.

The towpath, where the mules once trod pulling the canal boats along the Delaware Canal, provides a level trail for walking, jogging, biking, and horseback riding.

Boat accesses allow for canoeing and kayaking. In winter, ice skating and cross-country skiing are also popular along the towpath and canal.

The Friends of the Delaware Canal, the award recipient, works in partnership with Delaware Canal State Park, which manages the canal and towpath.

The friends group assists with development and maintenance along the towpath, as well as helping to raise funds and awareness for the canal and towpath.

They utilize the Canal Tenders volunteer program to watch over and care for sections of the towpath, and they also initiated a Canal Action Team to work on larger maintenance projects along the trail.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Friends of the Delaware Canal.

The Towpath is part of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, which is 165 miles long and traverses five counties in eastern Pennsylvania. The Towpath also is in the Lehigh Valley Greenways and Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscapes.

Additional information is available in the 2022 Trail of the Year Press Release.  

2023 Trail of the Year

The Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee is no longer accepting nominations for the 2023 Trail of the Year. The Trail of the Year will be announced in early 2023 and will be recognized by:

  • A news release by DCNR and the Trails Advisory Committee
  • Commemorative poster for statewide distribution
  • Trailhead marker
  • Promotion on DCNR websites
  • Grant for educational projects -- specifically, those promoting safety and environmental protection on the trail.