Michael Castle Trail

AS of June 2016 you can now travel from Delaware City in Delaware to Chesapeake City in Maryland – 17 miles one way on a multi use trail – walking, biking, in certain areas horseback riding and in a 1-2 mile stretch near the MD – DE line you may even see a car or two.

I’ll provide links for more information about this trail throughout the post so read on.

This 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.

All of the trail in DE and MD are now paved including the roads leading to the two official trailheads.

Access points

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 – Park off Bank Street at the far end of the parking lot near or 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. I’ll have GPS coordinates soon. Also a bathroom and picnic area here with mo running water at either trailhead.

Don’t park at the Aqua Sol Restaurant parking lot. Instead try the bigger lot above the restaurant. Be aware this is for the Marina swimming pool members but rarely is full so park at the far end.

You can drive along the dirt roads off old summit road or off Chesapeake City Road. I wouldn’t leave my car parked here though because this is where locals hang out so not sure how safe your car will be, just saying.

And don’t be surprised to see cars driving along this section which is the DE/ Md line. Cars are not allowed on the Delaware side but I’ve seen them on the MD side. Not my favorite part of the trail.

Bridge over a small inlet

Bridge over a small inlet leading to the start of the Michael Castle Trail

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.

Here’s a link to the trail map

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.

Bench along the Michael Castle Trail

One o f many benches along the Michael Castle Trail

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.

Aqua Sol is located in the middle at the Summit North Marina. They make a mean Cuban sandwich, this is my pick of the three.

All 3 restaurants serve non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

Bridges along the Michael Castle Trail

Looking east at the DE – 1 C & D Canal Bridge and the Route 13 St George’s Bridge

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.

Lots of fun things to do in this wild area. I’m so lucky to live a few short miles away.

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!

Another awesome hike in Delaware and I feel great, how about you? Have you gotten outside lately? Let me know about it, would love to hear about your adventure.



    • That’s awesome, I most certainly will! Now that I know this we’ll be booking a curse this spring, thanks so much for the information Steven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *