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bulls island state park

Bulls Island State Park – Delaware River Trail

This hike from Stockton, NJ to Bulls Island State Park takes you on a loop through NJ and PA along the Delaware River Trail, with great river views. Although it's a little long, it's very flat and a great hike for beginners.

4.5 / 5
7.5 miles (12.1 km)
3 hours
175 ft (53 m)
Trail Condition:
Wide Paths
Known For:
River Views
Best Time:
Any Time

Bulls Island State Park - Delaware River Trail Hike Trail Maps

Use this address in Google Maps to get to the trailhead:
2 North Railroad Avenue, Stockton, NJ, 08559, USA

Bulls Island State Park – Delaware River Trail location

Bulls Island State Park is about an hour north of Philadelphia and an hour west of New York City.

Bulls Island State Park – Delaware River Trail 3d map

This hike does a loop on the PA and NJ sides of the Delaware River trail.

deleware river trail elevation

The graph is deceiving, the hike is pretty much dead flat.

Interactive Map

Bulls Island State Park - Delaware River Trail Hike Map Downloads

hiking map on garmin fenix 3

If you have GPS device (I use this one by Garmin and I love it) for your hike, load the GPX file below into your device to navigate the hike. For help on loading the GPX file, read this article on converting and transferring to a Garmin GPS.

Also, don’t rely on electronics as your sole means of navigation. There’s a basic printable PDF map below, and I strongly picking up a good topo map too.

View a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

Bulls Island State Park - Delaware River Trail Hike Video

Bulls Island State Park - Delaware River Trail Hike Directions

bulls island state park

What to Expect

Turn By Turn Directions

Delaware River Trail parking
The trailhead is next to the Delaware River Trail in Stockton, NJ. Street parking here is free but fills up quick. You can really park anywhere (legally) in town and walk to the trailhead, it’s all close. Once you park, walk north on the well marked trail.
Delaware River Trail
As you can see, the Delaware River Trail is wide and easy to follow. Make your way through the gate and cross the road, continuing to hike straight.
Delaware River Trail
The Delaware River Trail continues through the back of residential Stockton. Keep hiking straight.
Prallsville Mills
Shortly you’ll reach Prallsville Mills. Some of the buildings date back to 1720.

I’d recommend checking out the Prallsville Mills website to see if there are any tours or events happening when you pass through. The website also has a ton of interesting information on the history of the mill.

Delaware River views
Across the trail from Prallsville Mill you get some great Delaware River views.
Delaware River Trail
After the mill, you continue straight on the well-defined Delaware River Trail, eventually reaching a bridge over a creek.
Delaware River Trail
If you want to explore the creek and river, there’s a side trail before the bridge that fisherman use.
bulls island state park sign
Shortly after the last bridge, your’ll reach Bulls Island State Park. Actually it’s a State Recreation area but most people call it a park.
bulls island state park
Turn left into the park and follow the road to the main parking area.
bulls island state park
The bridge crosses some swift water. You can see people here fishing for bass, trout, and perch.
bulls island state park
Continue through the main lot at Bulls Island. If the office is open, you can go in and check out the historical exhibition on the building of the canal.
trails at bulls island state park
Avoid any side trails to the left.
walking bridge at bulls island state park
Head across the parking lot and cross the walking bridge.
bulls island state park walking bridge
Crossing the walking bridge is a highlight of this hike. Soak in the views.

The Bulls Island walking bridge was originally built in 1856 and was a covered bridge. The Delaware River often floods in winter and spring, and parts of the bridge were destroyed in 1903. In 1947 the bridge was rebuilt as the pedestrian bridge you see now. The stone pillars supporting the bridge still date back to 1855.

flag on bulls island bridge
There’s often a huge flag flying from the bridge. A good spot for a selfie or photo.
bulls island bridge
After the bridge, you (counterintuitively) make the right.
River Road
Follow the side of River Road for a short stretch and watch out for traffic.
historic markers
Keep your eyes open for the historic markers along the road.
locks on delaware canal
When you reach the lock, cross over to the Delaware River Trail, and make the right to head back down the river, back toward Stockton.
locks on delaware canal
The lock is an interesting place to look around too.

This part of the hike goes down through Delaware Canal State Park. The Delaware Canal runs from Easton down to Bristol (across from Trenton), and was first opened in 1832. The locks you see allowed the canal to handle changes in elevation.

Delaware River Trail
After the lock, head back south on the Delaware River Trail. You’ll get unobstructed views of the bridge here.
Delaware River Trail
Similar to the NJ side, the PA Delaware River Trail is straight and easy to follow.
Virginia Forrest Recreation Area
Eventually you reach Virginia Forrest
Recreation Area, where there are bathrooms and water fountains.
stockton bridge
At around 7 miles you’ll see the Stockton Bridge coming back into view. Almost done.
stockton bridge
Climb the stairs under the bridge, head back to NJ, and finish the hike.

A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.

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