This article evaluates the recreational suitability for the 27 heritage sections along the Grand Canal by using methods of AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process). Considering fully on the new requirements of National Cultural Park, which is a major cultural projects promoted by China, an evaluation index system including 4 index layers (value of heritage element, background of ecological environment, socioeconomic conditions, and foundation of tourism development), 10 element layers (authenticity, integrity, river condition, environmental quality, etc) and 22 factor layers are constructed. The research shows that: 1) According to the evaluation results, it can be seen that the ranking of recreational suitability for 27 heritage sections is objective, and the index system used to evaluate recreational suitability for heritage sections along the Grand Canal is credible, which also provide plentiful experience to evaluate the recreational suitability for the large-scale linear cultural heritage. 2) From the perspective of recreational suitability: 27 sections of heritage sections can be divided into 3 groups as higher recreational suitability sections, intermediate recreational suitability sections and low recreational suitability sections. All the 11 heritage sections with higher recreational suitability are located in navigable sections along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and Zhedong Canal, included Jiaxing-Hangzhou section of Jiangnan Canal, Suzhou section of Jiangnan Canal, etc. The 4 sections with low recreational suitability are located in the break-flow area of the Grand Canal, including Nanwang complex section of Huitong Canal and Liuzi section of Tongji Canal. The suitability for recreational utilization of heritage river in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Tianjin, Beijing and Hebei are better than that in Anhui, Henan and Shandong. Based on the above results, 11 heritage sections with higher recreational suitability should be developed preferentially, while the 4 sections with low recreational suitability should be protected and restored. 3) According to the index layers that affect the recreational suitability: value of heritage elements is the determining factor for the suitability of recreational utilization, while background of ecological environment, socioeconomic conditions and foundation of tourism development are important variables. The higher degree of suitability for recreational utilization, the better quality of the ecological background. For those heritage rivers with low suitability for recreational utilization, it has poor performance in economical and social conditions and tourism development foundation. Under the premise of evaluating the suitability of recreational utilization in different sections of large-scale linear cultural heritage, a scientific and reasonable recreational utilization model should be constructed. For recreational development of the Grand Canal, authenticity and integrity protection of the heritage should be taken as the baseline, while environmental governance should be taken as the premise.