Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey State Park Service

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Bulls Island Recreation Area Overview

This 80-acre forested island provides excellent opportunities for many outdoor recreational activities including biking, hiking and boating and is well known as a hot spot for birding during spring migration.

Bulls Island includes a park office, large picnic area, playground, a Roebling-designed pedestrian bridge crossing to Pennsylvania, access to the Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal Towpath Trail and boat access to the Delaware River and D&R Canal. Visitors can choose from a scenic short walk over the pedestrian bridge or a bike ride along the more than 60 miles of multi-use trail.

Click for a brief history of Bulls Island.

Hiking and Biking
Bulls Island is a part of the D&R Canal State Park. The state park’s multi-use trail of crushed and packed stone provides more than 70 continuous miles of wide, flat pathway along the historic route of the D&R Canal and former rail lines. Numerous access points make it ideal for a day hike or bike trip in central New Jersey. The park’s trail system was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1992 and is a part of the East Coast Greenway, the longest hiking and biking route which connects Maine to Florida. Today, it is used by millions as a much-loved and needed recreation corridor in Central New Jersey.

Loop Trails
A 30-mile-long stretch of parallel paths connected by six bridges over the Delaware River creates multiple loop trails linking New Jersey’s Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park with Pennsylvania’s Delaware Canal State Park. Along these routes, there are numerous recreational opportunities as well as river towns with rich histories, eateries and shops. The loop trails offers beautiful scenic views and the natural landscapes of the Delaware River Valley.

PA/NJ Delaware Rever LOOP Trails

This park’s location along the federally-designated Lower Wild and Scenic Delaware River and the D&R Canal makes it an ideal location for boating. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and nonmotorized boats are allowed along the entire length of the D&R Canal. This gently flowing waterway is perfect for beginners or those looking to enjoy a leisurely paddle. The canal flows under many bridges and paddlers will have to portage their boats over the concrete locks along the canal.

Delaware River Boating and Paddling
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, to access the Delaware River all boaters and paddlers must purchase a boat launch permit at the Bulls Island office. (Exception: Lambertville Boat Launch)

Required daily or annual permits can be purchased at the Bulls Island Recreation Area main office at 2185 Daniel Bray Highway, Stockton, NJ 08859.  For further information, call 609-397-2949.  

All New Jersey boating regulations apply.

Delaware River Stream Gages and Stream Flow Information

The following is information on Delaware River flow and storage data, real-time stream gage data and high flood potential.  This information is provided by the U.S. Geologic Survey and the National Office of the Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Water levels for the Delaware River are regularly updated on their websites.  Check the stream flow levels to assist you in making your decision.

Click here to monitor the current river water levels

This U.S. Geological Survey Water Watch site provides detailed information on the streamflow of waterways in New Jersey.  Refer to the Reigelsville gaging station for water level information for the Delaware River along the  D & R Canal State Park.   

A map of New Jersey will appear. Proceed to the western edge of New Jersey to locate the RIEGELSVILLE dot.  This dot is approximately 1/3rd of the way down the western side of the state.

Once the dot is “clicked” additional information will appear at the bottom of the page identifying “low” (red) “below normal” (orange), “normal” (green), “above average” (blue) and “high” (black) water conditions.

Click here for the U.S. Geological Survey Water Watch

The NOAA Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service for RIEGELSVILLE site provides a graph of the current and predicted water levels for the Delaware River in the vicinity of Frenchtown, Stockton and Lambertville, NJ.  The real time water levels is sampled approximately every two hours.


Fishing is permitted along the entire length of the D&R Canal and Delaware River. While trout are stocked at various locations in the canal during spring months, anglers will find warmwater fish year-round. The Delaware River provides habitat for many game species including migratory American shad and striped bass. Fishing is subject to NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife regulations.

Bulls Island offers visitors the opportunity to view the spring migration. Various warblers, flycatchers, vireos and swallows may be spotted. The river may provide sightings of Bonaparte's gull, ring-billed and herring gulls. The pedestrian bridge provides visitors with the opportunity to observe waterfowl such as American black duck and common merganser. Many aquatic turtles, including map turtles and painted turtles, can be seen warming in the sun in the D&R Canal and the Delaware River. Beaver and muskrat can be spotted swimming the waterways, while deer, squirrels and foxes are at home on land.

This natural area comprises a portion of a small forested island surrounded by the Delaware River and the Delaware and Raritan Canal. A trail along the towpath of the canal reveals a lowland floodplain forest dominated by sycamore, silver maple and tulip poplar. Large stands of ostrich ferns and several rare plant species are found in this natural area.

A NJ State Park Service Special Use Permit is required for various types of short-duration, organized activities and/or events within a state park, forest and/or historic site. Examples of organized activities and/or special events include, but are not limited to press events, commercial photography and/or filming, corporate events, fundraisers, festivals, demonstrations, walkathons and races, concerts, Televised events and/or commercial use of or on State Park Service lands and/or waters. 

To learn more about Special use Permits click here.

Access for Persons with Disabilities
The Bulls Island Recreation Area recreational facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 609-397-2949 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]

State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]

Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!

No swimming.

Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.

Tick Protection
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.

Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at for additional information on bear safety.

Photo Gallery


Related Links

D&R Canal State Park
Six Mile Run Reservoir Site

Park Map

Area Map


Phone Number

2185 Daniel Bray Highway
Stockton, NJ 08559

Email Address

Park Hours

Gate Open daily 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Park Office Vary with the season - please call the park office for additional information.

Park Fees

Entrance Fee None

Other Related Fees
Map / Directions

GPS Coordinates
40.409813, -75.035463