The Ride (one way):
- Short -> Can be shortened by parking at one of the three midway trailheads
- Long -> 14.3 miles
- Short ride -> Easy
- Long ride -> Moderate
Chesapeake City, Maryland, to Delaware City, Delaware, is a beautiful full-day (round-trip) ride along the historic C&D Canal, where huge cargo ships pass by on the way to the Atlantic Ocean. You ride mainly along the canal, but also through woods and marshes on a newly-paved, asphalt trail.
Downside: bring your own supplies because there’s no shops or stores along the way.
The C&D Canal Bike Trail trailhead on the Maryland end is across the canal from the historic town, in North Chesapeake City. You’ll find the trail head adjacent to the town Ferry Dock .
The city maintains a gravel public parking lot under the Chesapeake City Bridge in North Chesapeake City. It’ll look like overflow parking for the nearby crab house/tiki bar, but it’s a public lot. If you’re in South Chesapeake City, you can take the Chesapeake City Ferry over April through October.
Chesapeake City Bridge:
If you’re coming from South Chesapeake City (the side with the historic main street), we’d recommend that you do not cycle across the bridge. It’s busy and narrow. There is a bit of sidewalk to walk across. Here’s a video to give you an idea of what it’s like.
If you need supplies, a short distance from Chesapeake City’s trailhead is Schaefers Restaurant and Canal Bar. It’s also a marina with a little store for boating provisions. Schaefers has bike racks. You’ll also find some racks at the trailhead.
The C&D Canal Bike Trail follows the canal through a residential area on the edge of town and then into the wildlife area. The first rest area, Lums Pound South, is about five miles down the trail. It’s also called the Michael Castle Trail Parking Lot.
Lums Pound South Trailhead (about 5mi. from Chesapeake City, MD)
- South Lums Trailhead (GPS: 39 32′ 40.08″ N / 75 43′ 10.28″ W)
You must go uphill, along a couple switchbacks, to get to the rest area on top of the hill. It has toilets, picnic tables and parking. No running water as of our visit in 2017.
From there you follow the trail for about two miles through woods, past the Grain H2O brew pub — yes, the pub welcomes cyclists — then, around the Summit North Marina located in the creek that flows into the canal. Uphill just a bit, then back down the hill and returning to the canal view.
It’s fairly flat the rest of the way.
St. Georges Trail Head
St. Georges Trail Head (Address: St. Georges Trailhead, Mike Castle Trail, New Castle, DE 19720)
The trail continues for about 3.5 miles along the canal to the next rest stop, the St. Georges Trail Head, just outside St. Georges, Delaware, between the Highway 1 and Route 301 bridges.
Biddle Point Trail Head
- Biddle Point Trailhead (GPS: 39 33′ 16.14″ N / 75 37′ 3.90″ W).
Another two miles from St. Georges takes you to the Biddle Point Trail Head. It’s like Lums, with a toilets, picnic tables and parking lot, but Biddle Point overlooks the canal.
Branch Canal Trail
From there, you’re close to Delaware City. One mile until you make a turn up the local Branch Canal Trail for a two mile ride along tidal marshes to the African American Civil War Veterans graveyard. A total of about 2.5 miles to the Delaware City trail start.
Delaware City Trail
Another .75 miles takes you to the Delaware City waterfront. Delaware City is a port town on the entrance to the Delaware Bay, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There’s some street parking near the city park, across the street from the entrance to the Branch Canal Trail, but you’ll find parking lots in the city center.