Sylvan Pennsylvania

Paddling in the Fall

Another fine way to view Pennsylvania's beautiful fall vistas is from the state's numerous waterways, where paddlers float between densely-forested river and creek banks while yellow, orange, and russet leaves waft down from the trees.

Along the borders of New York and New Jersey, the Delaware National Wild and Scenic River flows wide and mellow, attracting myriad canoeists from nearby metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia. Floaters on the Upper Delaware enjoy a surprising amount of solitude in the late fall, when the forests of northern Pennsylvania are at their most colorful. The Middle Delaware, between Narrowsburg, NY, and Port Jervis, NY, is characterized by mild rapids and gorgeous scenery. Then, the river flows through the spectacular Delaware Water Gap. A bit downstream, Wells Falls, also known as Lambertville Rapids, is a popular spot for kayakers, because of the prime "squirting" and "surfing" to be found.

Another fantastic spot for paddlers, Pine Creek, originally called Tiadaghton by the Iroquois, runs through exceptionally beautiful scenery in north-central Pennsylvania. The generally mild run takes paddlers through the state's spectacular Little Grand Canyon and a Class II drop at Owassee Rapid.

The western part of the state is not without draws for paddlers, however. The Lower Youghiogheny (YOCK-uh-ganey) River offers beautiful scenery and challenges suitable for whitewater lovers with intermediate-level skills. A ten-mile stretch between Confluence and Ohiopyle flows through a beautiful winding gorge, but more serious rapids are to be found downstream. The seven-mile, Class III, Ohiopyle to Stewarton run on the Yough is considered one of the premier spots for whitewater paddling in the eastern U.S.

North of the Yough run two more of the state's national treasures—the Allegheny National Wild and Scenic River and the Clarion National Wild and Scenic River. The Allegheny flows wide and mild through the Allegheny National Forest, passing by seven islands that are ideal for canoe camping. The Clarion meanders through mature hardwood forests that are at their rich, colorful peak in the middle of October, and the float also includes an section of virgin white pine and hemlock.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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