Located on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Delaware Water Gap cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains and includes nearly 40 miles of the free-flowing Delaware River. One of the most popular activities enjoyed by visitors each year is paddling–in a canoe, kayak, raft or tube.
If you’re visiting from out of state and prefer not to lug around your gear, many outfitters that operate within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area can deliver a canoe for you to the put-in location and pick it up at the take-out location. Outfitters also provide paddles and life vests and rent canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area keeps an updated list of companies that can quickly help get you out on the water.
Beyond the Delaware Water Gap, there are plenty of options for water activities throughout the state:
Blue Mountain Outfitters, located inside Old Marysville Train Station just a few miles north of Harrisburg, sells canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and hosts paddling trips on the Susquehanna River. Paddle to various islands for fishing, swimming, camping and picnicking or just relax by the riverside. The Susquehanna River was recently designated a historic connecting trail for its part in John Smith's 17th-century exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; it's known locally as the CAJO trail.
Paddling a canoe along the curves of the Susquehanna River, which forms the farm-rich valleys of the Endless Mountains, is the perfect way to embrace nature and surrender to the serenity of life in Pennsylvania's northern region. Susquehanna Kayak and Canoe and Endless Mountain Outfitters supply kayaks and canoes for individuals or groups looking to enjoy a day on the river. Both companies offer activity orientation, trip planning and shuttle service and can provide lunch during your day on the water.
The Youghiogheny River through Ohiopyle State Park beckons adventuresome whitewater rafters from near and far. The Lower Youghiogheny bustles with Class III and IV rapids, while the “Middle Yough” is better suited for those seeking a slower-paced ride. Hook up with Laurel Highlands River Tours for an expertly guided introduction to the river.
There are plenty of ways to paddle your way through the Pocono Mountains. With 150 lakes and two rivers, visitors can go whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding. Many Pocono outfitters offer river excursions along the Lehigh and Delaware rivers.
Take pleasure in a beautiful relaxing float down the Upper Shenango River, a designated PA Water Trail, with a variety of access points and boat launches. Rent a kayak, canoe or inner tube from Carried Away Recreation to tour local waterways and lakes on your own, or take their introduction to kayaking class, offered Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The Schulkill River Water Trail weaves through Valley Forge National Historic Park, the site of the famous Revolutionary War encampment, on its way to Philadelphia. In your vessel, you’ll paddle by scenic forested areas, farms and even small cities.
Upper Delaware River
The Upper Delaware possesses Class I and II rapids and excellent views of rock formations, cliffs and historic sights like the Delaware Aqueduct. Offering quicker rapid areas for serious whitewater rafters and deeper, gentler-moving river areas for those seeking a more tranquil float, the Upper Delaware has waters for every paddler.
For more information on the locations mentioned in the article above, please visit the following websites: