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Newark Life

The Michael Castle Trail

Dec 30, 2020 11:36AM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Photos by Jim Coarse
Text by Richard L. Gaw

By our very nature, we are naturally drawn to large waters.

We are mesmerized by the soft yet mighty flow of a river, and captivated by the tributaries that join together to form a bay. From a passing car on a bridge, we admire a waterway’s energy, its volume and its never-ending promise that it will always lead us somewhere. In a world of constant change, the waters offer us a permanent accompaniment to our life’s journey – a companion who mostly listens.

For the thousands of Newark residents who travel just south to the Michael Castle Trail along the C & D Canal every year, they walk beside that companion. The trail, named after the former governor and U.S. representative whose efforts initiated its formation, forms a continuing stream of human activity and natural wonder.

Starting at the eastern end of the trail in Delaware City and ending at the Summit Bridge, trail users see ships passing by. They stop to admire the views at one of the dozens of park benches along the trail. In the early evening, they bike and run and rollerblade towards the sun setting over the Chesapeake Bay in the west, and at every stretch along the trail, they are surrounded by large grasses and native wildflowers.

The trail connects with the 5,000-acre C&D Canal Wildlife Area that lines the north and south shores of the Delaware portion of the canal, and to the Ben Cardin C & D Canal recreational Trail at the Delaware/Maryland state line.

For the residents of Newark who make the short drive to the Michael Castle Trail, this 12.4-mile stretch of Delaware is their gateway to the Chesapeake, and the promise of what happens when we stop to admire the beauty of large waters, and follow their currents.

To learn more about the Michael Castle Trail, visit or

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