lambertville wing dam hike

Lambertville Wing Dam Hike

In This Guide
  • How to Get to the Lambertville Wing Dam Hike
  • Lambertville Wing Dam Hike Trail Maps
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions & Video
Distance1.6 miles (2.6 km)
Hike Time1 Hour (Total)
DifficultyEasy
Total Ascent (?)20 feet (6m)
Highest Elevation70 feet (21m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactDelaware and Raritan Canal State Park
Park Phone609-924-5705

This unique hike to the Lambertville wing dam brings you to a stone wing dam that extends into the middle of the Delaware River, offering great views of the river, New Hope, and Lambertville. The hike follows the historic Delaware and Raritan Canal, a converted Rails to Trails area. The hike is an easy walk from Lambertville or New Hope, and highly recommended. It’s a local’s favorite.

The Delaware and Raritan Canal, which the wing dam hike follows, was built in the 1830s to help transport coal and other commodities from eastern PA (with the hub in Easton) to New York and Philadelphia. Eventually trains ran along the canal banks, and this section was used by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1977 the trains stopped running and shortly after that the area was declared a state park. Today the canal is stocked with trout and is a hotspot for fisherman.

The actual wing dam was built in the 1830s, and was used to feed water into the canal system and power paper mills that lined the banks of the river in Lambertville. The other half of the wing dam is on the Pennsylvania side, and is not easily accessible. The rapids between the two sides of the Lambertville wing dam are considered the some of the most dangerous on the Delaware River, attracting kayakers who brave the rapids. It is not safe to swim in any of the water around the wing dam. People die here every year.

Getting to the Lambertville Wing Dam Hike

Use this address as the start of the hike: 15 Bridge St, Lambertville, NJ, 08530, USA.

Park anywhere in Lambertville. There’s street parking and lots. There are no public bathrooms here but there are restaurants and bars in the area with facilities.

Gear for the Hike

You don’t need any special gear to do this hike, it’s more of a walk. The trails are cinders but there is a short dirt section from the towpath down to the wing dam. It could be muddy and is a little steep, just a heads up.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Rei Flash 22

REI Flash 22 Pack

This is a super-light and comfortable backpack that can hold everything you need on a hike, including a hydration bladder. It also works great as a general backpack or carry-on.

See Colors & Prices

Joby On Triee

Joby Smartphone Tripod

Make your photos stand out by using this lightweight, do-anything tripod. The Joby attaches your smartphone to trees, rocks, whatever you can find on the trail. Folds down compactly too.

See the Joby Options

Don’t waster your money on hiking gear that’s no good, I’ve done that for you already! Full HikingGuy Gear List

* No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

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Lambertville Wing Dam Hike Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Lambertville Wing Dam Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

lambertville wing dam hike 3d map
The hike takes you on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail through Lambertville, and then turns onto the wing dam.

Lambertville Wing Dam Hike Directions

Video Directions

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Turn by Turn Hike Directions

lambertville wing dam hike trailhead
The trailhead is in the middle of Lambertville, close to Lambertville Station. Just put the trailhead address into Google Maps and you should be fine.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
The actual Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail that you take to the wing dam is well marked and easy to follow
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail sign
When you start on the trail in Lambertville, there are some interesting informational signs detailing the history of the canal.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail winds it’s way behind houses in Lambertville, and eventually crosses a creek.
lambertville wing dam hike
The canal builders had to bridge the canals over creeks and streams. The bridge also serves as a spillway to prevent the canal from overflowing.
lambertville wing dam hike
About halfway on the hike, you approach a lock. Cross the walkway over the lock to your right.
lambertville wing dam hike
You’ll continue to hike down the canal trail, on the right in this picture. These locks helped overcome elevation changes as the canals made their way upriver.
lambertville wing dam hike
These waters are stocked with trout, and also are home to bass, perch, carp, and catfish. The wing dam is a popular place for bass fisherman.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
The hike down the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail is straight and pleasant.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
The turn-off to the dam is small and easy to miss. Look for this mile marker and bench, and hike right down to the river.
lambertville wing dam hike
The trail down to the wing dam is not an official trail, but is well worn from locals.
lambertville wing dam hike
Head down the trail to the concrete wing dam, avoiding any spurs down the river bank.
lambertville wing dam hike
And here you are, the Lambertville wing dam! Walk to the end of the dam and enjoy the river. Again, it’s not safe to swim in any of the water here. After you’re done exploring the wing dam, turn around and head back the way you came.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.