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Bull's Island
Recreation Area

Mailing Address:
2185 Daniel Bray Highway
Stockton, NJ 08559
(609) 397-2949

GPS Coordinates
40 ° 24’ 37.62 ” N 75° 02' 05.27 " W

Size: 80 acres

Take I-287 or Route 22 to the intersection with Route 202 in Somerville. Follow Route 202 south for 26 miles to the exit for Route 29 north. Go north for about 6 miles. The entrance is on the left.

View Map for Bull's Island Office and D&R Canal office

Facilities & Activities:
  • Natural area
  • Boating
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Bird watching
  • Fishing
  • Hunting


Bull’s Island is part of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. It is bounded by the Delaware River to the east and the canal to the west. The main intake for the canal is located at the northern section of Bull’s Island. This 80-acre forested island provides numerous opportunities, including a day use area, playground, boat launch, and a section of the 70-mile D & R Canal Trail. The 42-acre natural area includes two unique forest habitats, the sycamore river birch type and American elm-silver maple type. A pedestrian bridge from the island crosses to the Pennsylvania side of the river and provides open views up and downstream of the middle Delaware River.

Keep Your Recreation Area Clean

Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program you can help us keep the parks clean and beautiful by carrying out the trash you carry in. Please bring a biodegradable bag with you when visiting to take your trash home. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.

Park Advisory

Project Updates
Information as of December 2020:

  • In-Canal dredging is complete as of December 5th. Removal of equipment from the Canal and the access areas along the Canal (“demobilization”) will continue for several weeks.
  • Processing of the dredged sediment at the dewatering site will continue through the winter and into 2021. Transport of dried material by truck will start on January 11 and continue for several months. The material will be transported to the American Cyanamid Site in Bridgewater, NJ for beneficial reuse.
  • A total of 233,000 tons of material was removed from the Canal over the three-year dredging program.

For More information please visit the NJ Water Supply Authority website at:

The New Jersey Water Supply Authority is doing a rehabilitation of the Canal Embankment adjacent to the Island Farm Weir.   This project will address ongoing and prevent future erosion on the Raritan River side of the embankment.  The project will begin in early November and last several weeks.  Final site restoration will take place in the Spring of 2021.

The project will mostly consist of installations of gabions and rip rap (stone) along the Canal embankment where it meets the Raritan River.

The project will require the closing of the multi use trail from the Manville Causeway to the footbridge at Weston Canal Road on weekdays during construction.  The area will be open on weekends, but users are required to walk their bicycles across the construction area. 

Paul Harenberg of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority can be reached for any questions at

Lambertville -Ash and Ailanthis Tree Removal

Project Work Dates: Nov 9, 2020 to Nov 20, 2020.

The Bulls Island Recreation Office is currently closed to the public, however the public restrooms are open for use.

Visit and follow for the most recent information on park operations — some amenities may not be available due to COVID-19.

Park Hours

Open daily sunrise to sunset.
Office Hours: Open daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Park Advisory

Public Notification:
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Contractor is in process of demolition of the I-95/I-295 bridge structure over the D&R Canal and Tow Path.  For safety reasons the tow path may be closed during  specified times particularly when overhead work is being done.  At that time, visitors will NOT be permitted access to the path between Bernards Drive and Upper Ferry Road in Ewing Township, Mercer County.

See below link for schedule of work.


Tubing Alert and Swimming Prohibited on the Delaware River

Please be advised that there are no river tubing businesses with a valid agreement with the State Park Service to launch from D & R Canal State Park.
Swimming in the Delaware River from D & R Canal State Park is always strictly prohibited.

Here are a few other nearby outdoor activities in our state parks to enjoy instead:


No Swimming in the D&R Canal
Swimming in the Delaware and Raritan Canal is a prohibited activity (N.J.A.C. 7:11-1.25). As per NJ State Park Service Rules and Regulations swimming may take place only in a designated swim area (N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.20).  There are no designated swim areas in the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park and Bulls Island Recreation Area.  Increased park police patrols have been instituted and violators may receive a summons.


Public Notification:
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Contractor is in process of demolition of the I-95/I-295 bridge structure over the D&R Canal and Tow Path.  For safety reasons they will be closing the tow path during  specified times.   

Hydrilla was discovered in the Washington Crossing section of the Canal in July 2016. Hydrilla is an extremely aggressive invasive aquatic plant that spreads very rapidly and forms dense mats that can choke the flow of water through the canal.  A lake management firm was hired in September, 2016 to survey, assess, and map the extent of hydrilla and other problem weeds in the high-priority segments of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The survey report indicates that, for the 18.31 miles surveyed, submerged aquatic vegetation was collected at 96 percent of the sites, confirming the spatial extent and diversity of vegetation in the Canal. Hydrilla was observed at 56 percent of the survey sites.

On May 31, 2017, the Authority began a low-dose (<4 ppb) herbicide injection of Sonar Genesis for up to 120 days targeting the hydrilla and other nuisance aquatic vegetation.  At these low rates, there are no restrictions on fish/fish consumption, human/animal water consumption or contact. There are some recommended water irrigation usage restrictions that have been posted along the tred areas of the canal.  All Canal water customers have been engaged in the management planning process and continue to be updated on the status of treatment.  The herbicide application is showing promising signs of effectively controlling the Hydrilla and other nuisance aquatic plants.  The Authority and consulting firm are monitoring the status of plants and the herbicide concentrations at several points along the Canal. For monitoring and project information, please visit

Emerald Ash Borer Tree removal project

UPDATE EMERALD ASH BORER TREE REMOVAL PROJECT: Be advised -Ash removal project currently shut down for timing restrictions.

The DEP conducted a tree assessment of the entire upper river campground as a result of a large sycamore falling in 2011.  The assessment provided evidence of hazardous trees due to root decay from silt buildup related to repeated floods.  Most of the trees in the area were found to have compromised root systems.

As a result, the DEP closed all camping areas to protect the public.   For the upper river campground which consists of a 5 acre parcel with more than 200 large trees, a management plan is in development to mitigate the public safety hazards with the goal of eventually reopening the area to the public for passive recreation.  The management plan will include the removal of trees in the upper river camping area and replanting of the area with smaller growing trees, shrubs and other native vegetation.  To adequately refine this management plan and to ensure that impacts of the tree removal to the natural resources, including migratory and nesting birds and other wildlife, are minimized, a coordinated team representing the various technical programs within the DEP are providing input to ensure concerns are addressed and any necessary reviews are conducted and appropriate permits obtained.   Plant material that will thrive in this type of environment and not create hazards for public access will be the focus of the plan, with attention to monitoring for, and controlling invasive species.  The area will ultimately reopen for passive recreational use.  The DEP will make a decision on the lower river camping section once the tree assessment is completed.

The Department will continue to update its website message on Bull’s Island Recreation Area as information becomes available.  Thank you.

Park Maps


Bull’s Island Natural Area (24 acres)

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



Special Use Permit Application

Special Use Permit Application Package

A Special Use Permit is utilized to accommodate a specific activity or event being conducted over a short duration. There are two types of special use permits: Non-Commercial and Commercial and fees are based on NJ residency and Non-residents.  A completed application must be submitted to the park/forest area where the activity or event is being held at least 90 days prior to the event. If the special use or event is extremely large or complex, at least one-year’s prior notice is recommended. 




D&R Canal Towpath Trail in Abbott Marshlands

Feeder Canal Near the Trenton Battle Monument


New Hunting Map Cooley Acquisition, D&R Canal SP - Hunting Zone 11

Hunterdon County Hunting Area Maps D & R Canal State Park ZONE 11

Hunting Area Map, Hunterdon County Frenchtown Preserve

Hunting Area Map, Hunterdon County Kingwood Twp

The New Jersey State Park Service supports the mission of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Both agencies endeavor to protect and manage the State's fish and wildlife to maximize their long-term biological, recreational and economic values for all New Jerseyans. Sportspersons must comply with all current NJ Fish and Wildlife regulations as noted in the hunting digest.
For information about fishing and hunting, please refer to the NJ Fish and Wildlife website or call the main information number in Trenton at (609) 292-2965.

Know Before You Go!

Hunting is one of the many activities offered at Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park. Hunters are responsible for knowing the hunting regulations within the state park, be sure to review maps, zone descriptions and timing restrictions prior to venturing to the site. The hunting areas may have trails open to the public during the hunting season~ be aware for hikers, bikers,  and horseback riders may be traveling through.

Be advised that there is NO HUNTING PERMITTED ON SUNDAYS within lands managed by the NJ State Park Service.

Click here for Tree Stands and Blinds Used by Licensed Hunters at NJ State Parks  


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.

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.

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.





Questions regarding our parks and forests can be directed to
Joy Eastmead of the State Park Service.


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Last Updated: December 9, 2020