D & R Canal: Griggstown Causeway to Rocky Hill

D & R Canal State Park, Griggstown Causeway to Rocky Hill (1/26/2013)

It was a balmy 20 F this morning with a wind that made it feel like 10 F. So of course headed out for a nice walk along the D & R Canal after the freshly-fallen snow of last night. It was cold, so much so that the water in our backpack bladders started to freeze at the bite valve and along the exposed tube. But there were others jogging and bicycling along the way, and we were dressed well and kept moving. So we were comfortably warm the entire way. With the snow from last night, it appeared as if the entire towpath had been sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Today we parked at Griggstown Causeway and headed south, past Griggstown Lock, Little Valley and finally to Rocky Hill. There are two opportunities to leave the trail for something a bit more wild, and we took them both. Heading south, we turned right and headed west to the Millstone River on an unmarked, but clear, path at Little Valley. Then, heading back north, we took the Silver Maple Trail which extends from Griggstown Lock south for about a half mile. This trail also takes you right to the banks of the Millstone River. As is always the case, bird sightings were many. We had close encounters with a blue heron (very close), an adolescent red-winged hawk, woodpeckers, blue birds, cardinals, tufted titmouses (or is it titmice), vultures and lots of geese and ducks.

With today's segment we have walked 22 contiguous miles (twice) of the still remaining main canal from Landing Lane in New Brunswick to Kingston Lock. That leaves 12 miles that we haven't yet covered (from Kingston Lock to Mulberry Street in Trenton), not to mention the feeder canal, of which we've walked only 10 of its 31 miles. If that weren't enough, there's a segment at least two miles long north of Bordentown, New Jersey. So, unlike the Morris Canal (which has basically disappeared), the vast majority of the D & R Canal still remains.

Total distance covered was 7 miles in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Mule Tenders Barracks

Canada geese in canal (view north)

At Griggstown Causeway

Bridge to parking area


Partially frozen canal

Heading south

Reflections in Millstone River


Black ducks

Buttonwood Farm, Canal Road

Snowy towpath

Red-bellied woodpecker

Striking cardinal

Canada geese in river

24 miles to Bordentown

Griggstown Lock

Ice in canal

Griggstown Lock

Silver Maple trail

Laura at the lock

[Photo by Laura]

It's partially frozen

Snow-covered gears

Lock tender's house

Eastern bluebird

Critter tracks in canal

Wild flower



Informative sign

23 miles to Bordentown

Adolescent ...

... red-winged hawk

View north from Little Valley


Spur trail

Leads to ...

... Millstone River

Millstone River

Snowy path

Nest over frozen canal

Ruins near Rocky Hill

Great blue heron

Resting at river bank

Rocky Hill

Heading back from Rocky Hill

Sandy blow-down stacked

Bridge at Little Valley


Laura bundled up!

Striking red plant

Tufted titmouse

Tracks on icy canal

A rare, and unnecessary blaze

Slope down to ...

... Silver Maple trail


Millstone River

Canada geese in river

Snowy narrow path


Along river bank

Signs of beaver activity

Gorgeous evergreens across

Millstone River

Heading back to towpath

Griggstown Lock tender's house

Farm across from lock

View north from lock

Ice floes

Mallard trio

Canada goose

Ice cracks

Griggstown Causeway bridge

Back to the start

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh