AS of June 2016 you can now travel from Delaware City in Delaware to Chesapeake City in Maryland – about 15 miles one way and part of this multi use trail is called the Michael Castle Trail.
I’ll provide links for more information about this trail throughout the post so read on.
The Michael Castle trail has been a long time coming, years in the making and could of easily had been scraped but a few stuck with this project so that all of us, whether you live here or are visiting the area, you can now enjoy the scenic beauty of the C & D canal by walking, hiking, biking, running or horseback riding in certain areas and I could see this trail as a cross country ski trail, if we ever get any deep snow around here.
All of the trail in DE and MD are now paved including the roads leading to the 2 official trailheads in Delaware.
Access points for the Michael Castle Trail
Delaware City – Park at the Paul Morrill Community Center, 250 Fifth Street which is Route 9. Go around to the back of the building to park. It’s across from Kathy’s Crab House, a great place to stop for lunch or dinner.
Chesapeake City – Follow the C & D Canal parking signs off Bank Street that point you to parking under the bridge. You can use Schaefer Canal House address if using a GPS – 208 Bank Street.
St George’s Trailhead – This is off Kirkwood St. George’s Road just before the stop sign under the St. George’s Bridge. Bathrooms and picnic area here. GPS coordinates 39 33′ 12.9″ N
75 39′ 10.71″ W
Bridle Point Trailhead – This is off Cox Neck Road in between Delaware City and Route 13. Look for the brown sign that says Delaware C & D Canal Wildlife Area. Also a bathroom and picnic area here. Be aware no running water at either trailhead.
Don’t park at the Grainh2o Restaurant parking lot. Instead try the bigger lot above the restaurant.This is parking for the Marina swimming pool members but rarely is full so park at the far end closest to the trail away from the pool.
Thankfully you can no longer drive along the trail on the Maryland side which locals had been doing but now signs are posted No vehicles allowed, YAY!!!!
Different Trail Names
Branch Canal Trail – This is where the trail begins if starting in Delaware City.
Ben Cardin Recreational Trail – If starting in Chesapeake City this is the name of the trail.
Michael Castle Trail – This is the trail name in between the two mentioned above.
You may also hear it referred to as the C & D Canal Trail.
Things to see and do
The trail doesn’t just follow the canal, you will go through woods, past a marina, see all 5 bridges that cross the canal, go uphill, downhill, make 90 degree turns, pass a historic centenary, and through wetlands.
You can also sit along the many benches provided and watch the boats and birds go by. I wish my Dad lived closer, he would love doing this.
Another fun thing to do is listen for the train coming. You’ll want to be just east of the North Summit Marina to watch the elevated railroad bridge come down at the exact time it needs to for the train to cross the canal. And than it goes back up when the train has passed. I have photos and a short video on this post when I snowshoe here this past winter.
Where to eat along the trail
Kathy’s Crab House in Delaware City has a good take out menu or eat in at the family style restaurant.
Schaefer”s Canal House in Chesapeake City also has a take out menu but a cool place to sit outside and dine on delicious seafood.
If you’re into cruising up and down the C & D Canal check out M/V Bay Breeze Boat Cruises. They do sightseeing cruises, steamed Blue Crab cruises, and special events ranging from a day out with the family to corporate outings, sunset & booze cruises, wedding rehearsals, and much more. Cruises leaves from the docks at Schaefer’s Canal House.
Check out M/V Bay Breeze Boat Cruises website here and book your next cruise, I know I’m putting this on my Fun things to do list this year.
Grain h2o formerly Aqua Sol is located in the middle at the Summit North Marina. Friendly stratosphere, good food, outside seating and they allow your pets to dine with you out on the deck. This is my pick of the three.
All 3 restaurants serve non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
For more adventure, do check out both Delaware and Chesapeake Cities, as there is more dining, shopping and exploring to do in these off the beaten path places. I’ll write more about these areas in future posts.
Places to stay
Chesapeake City offers Bed and Breakfast or Inns to stay at. Here’s a link to Chesapeake City website.
Delaware City offers guest homes to rent. They don’t have a website about where to stay but here’s a link from Trip Advisor on 2 guest homes available for rent.
If Camping is for you than do stay at Lums Pond – This state park offers hiking, boating on the pond (rentals available) or get out of your comfort zone and try zip lining at Go Ape Tree Top Adventures.
The Michael Castle Trail and surrounding area offers lots of fun things to do especially with the kids. The Michael Castle Trail is a great trail for them to ride their bikes without worrying about traffic. Although you will have to look out for foot traffic and some horse traffic but that’s the kind of traffic I don’t mind.
The only thing missing is a bike rental shop. This would be great for those of us who don’t have bikes. Great business for someone to start in Delaware City or Chesapeake City, but maybe there is such a place. If so please let me know, would love to come rent a bike from you.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you found this information useful, if so please share with your friends!