Upper Bucks County Sites
Durham Furnace / Durham Mill
Durham Township, Bucks County, PA
The Durham Mill is typical of early 19th-century gristmills in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The three-story stone building was built in 1820 on the foundation walls of the historic Durham Furnace. The furnace, dating from 1727, had produced pig and bar iron as well as cast iron pans, utensils and stove plates for nearly 70 years. The mill was in continuous operation until 1967, producing primarily livestock feed in its later years. Note: The building is not open to the public.
This 1800 Federal-style home in Tinicum Park has additions from 1840 and 1860 and was nominated as a National Historic Place. Features of the Federal and Victorian eras are preserved in both the interior and exterior architectural style. Now operated as a house museum by the Bucks County Parks and Recreation Department, the site contains an array of artifacts and furnishings representative of the times in habitation. The restored historic barn and outbuildings on the grounds provide a special setting for many park events. Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – April 1 through October 31 and by appointment.
The American shad is a migratory fish that makes its way each spring from the ocean up the Delaware River and into its tributaries to spawn. At the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers in Easton, two dams vital to the Delaware & Lehigh canal systems block the shads’ access to the Lehigh River. To help the shad reach their native spawning grounds, two fish passageways maintained by Delaware Canal State Park staff allow the fish to navigate upstream through a series of chambers, around the dams, and up the Lehigh River.
These “ladders” allow the fish to navigate upstream, through a series of chambers, around the dams, and on to spawning grounds in the Lehigh River as far north as the Frances Walter Dam. The passageways effectively counterbalance the negative environmental effect of the man-made structures while maintaining the historic nature of the canal corridor.
Visitors to the Easton fish passageway can view the chambers within the structure from walkways above water level. Migrating fish can be seen through windows built into the ladder below water level. “Crowder” structures direct shad and other fish closer to the windows where they can be seen and counted by monitor cameras. Twelve hundred American shad were counted at this ladder in 1996.
Tinicum Township, PA
One of the newest additions to Delaware Canal State Park, the Giving Pond Recreation Area provides opportunities for hiking, fishing, bow hunting, boating, and bird watching. Formerly the site of a quarry and sand mine, the 90-acre Giving Pond was created in 2002 when mining operations ceased and the sand pit filled with water. Giving Pond offers a unique opportunity to watch the forces of nature at work as this impacted site slowly returns to the wild.
The Park staff conducts canoe paddles, teaches canoe basics, and discusses the Pond wildlife around the Giving Pond.
National Canal Museum
America’s canal heritage is displayed at the National Canal Museum with interactive, audio and video exhibits to help visitors experience transportation in the early 1800s before railroads, highways and airplanes. Opportunities are available to explore the water exhibits, learn about canal life, and enjoy model trains. Explanations are also given regarding how canals are still relevant today.
These sheer cliffs tower 300 feet above the Delaware River and dominate the landscape. Because the cliffs face north, they receive little direct sunlight. This cool habitat supports analpine-arctic plant community unusual this far south. Made of tough, weather-resistant rock called hornfel, Nockamixon Cliffs resisted erosion, allowing them to “rise” above the surrounding landscape. Nockamixon Cliffs also provides scenic beauty as ice flows from its deep ravines, creating an ice palace spectacle in winter. More than 90 species of birds inhabit the cliffs, which historically have been used by the peregrine falcon and osprey, creating an excellent location for bird watching from either the top or bottom of this sheer ledge.
Nockamixon Cliffs attract ice climbers when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Climbing is not allowed when the cliffs are not ice-covered since the rock face is home to endangered species of alpine plants.
Point Pleasant, PA
The island is undeveloped county parkland located one mile north of Point Pleasant on the Delaware River. Access is by boat or canoe only.
Ralph Stover State Park / High Rocks
Tohickon Creek flows through the 45-acre Ralph Stover State Park, making it a scenic picnic area. The High Rocks section of the park features an outstanding view of a horseshoe bend in Tohickon Creek and the surrounding forest. This area is popular for its spectacular views and geological features and is used extensively as a rock-climbing site. The 200-foot sheer rock face of this cliff offers a unique challenge to the experienced climber.
Fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and other recreational activities can be enjoyed at the park.
Ringing Rocks Park
Upper Black Eddy, PA
Ringing Rocks Park is a 120+ acre park but within the park is an eight-acre field of huge reddish boulders that have an unusual property. When the rocks are struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound as if they are metal and hollow. The boulders have a high content of iron and aluminum and were formed by the slow process of weathering and erosion. The park also has Bucks County’s largest waterfall and woodland trails for hiking making it a powerful draw for geologists as well as hikers, walkers, bikers, backpackers and picnickers.
Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area
Near Raubsville, Northampton County, PA
This is a Delaware River boat access site for canoes or very small boats. The Delaware River contains many species of game fish including American shad, stripped bass, smallmouth bass and walleye. The area includes restrooms, parking, picnic areas, boat access, Locks 22-23, Locktender’s House, wicket shanty, and powerhouse that produced electricity until 1954.
This 126-acre park and historic site offers day activities including hiking, boating, biking, ball fields, ice skating, fishing, playgrounds, picnicking and a disk golf course, as well as group and family camping. Framed by the river on one side and a steep hillside on the other, visitors are offered a splendid long range vista of this beautiful park.
The park is also rich in Bucks County history. Previously, this area was owned by William Penn as part of his land grant from the King of England.
Tinicum Park Polo Club
In cooperation with the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation, polo matches are held every Saturday at 2 p.m. in Tinicum Park from mid May through mid October. Parking fee is $5.00 per car. For further information, call the Tinicum Park Polo Club Hotline (908) 996-3321.
Tohickon Valley Park
North of Point Pleasant, PA
The Tohickon Creek is reputed to be one of the cleanest in the state. High water quality is evidenced by several rare species including riverweed (a higher plant able to attach itself to rocks through fast-moving water), a river sponge and several species of freshwater mussels (not the harmful kind).
The park is a favorite for picnicking, hiking, swimming and fishing and has twenty-two family or individual campsites and two group camping areas. Nearest to the Tohickon Creek are rustic cabins (1 & 2) and modern cabins (3 & 4). Campers have ample room and are a very short walk to the creek side. Uphill from the cabins and nearby to the campground is Tohickon Valley Pool, which is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The cabins and campgrounds are a favorite during the well-known water releases in late March and early November. For two days, water flows from Lake Nockamixon at a rate of 500 cubic feet/second, turning the quiet Tohickon Creek into a raging class 3 & 4 whitewater playground.
Williams Township, Northampton County
A 23-acre community park located along the Delaware Canal with picnic pavilion, playground, organized group camping (by permit only), and hiking trails.
Ball fields, canoeing, camping, picnicking, playground and walking trails are some activities and attractions to be enjoyed at the park.