Rafting in Pennsylvania
Whitewater rafting in Pennsylvania puts you in a wide land of mountains, plateaus and plains, watered by big rivers as well as some of the most exciting whitewater streams in the East. Along its eastern border flows the majestic Delaware, rivaled by the mid-state Susquehanna and the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in the west. Pennsylvania's backbone is the massive range of Appalachian ridges that divides the Allegheny Plateau in the northwest from the Atlantic coastal plain in the southeast. This topography defines a river system, which offers the rafter and canoeist everything from wilderness thrills to placid floating on streams lined with campgrounds and restaurants.
For sheer popularity for whitewater rafting in Pennsylvania, the Delaware River has few rivals. Surprisingly free of dams for a river flowing through such a thirsty conurbation, the Delaware brings clean water down from the Catskills of New York. Its 76-mile stretch from Hancock to Port Jervis has long been a favorite canoe trip. It takes three days and can be run in April-May and again in September-October. In the summer months, paddlers depend upon adequate releases from Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs. The scenery is superb but the upper Delaware on a crowded summer weekend has "hundreds of boaters, in all stages of ineptness. However, most Delaware canoeists have a first-class time.
The Most Popular Rivers for Whitewater Rafting in Pennsylvania
The West Branch of the Susquehanna drives through relatively empty, unspoiled countryside in the heart of Pennsylvania. It is flanked by mile upon mile of forest and the paddler can camp freely almost wherever he chooses. Pennsylvania whitewater rafting buffs head for the hills, and in Pennsylvania the best rapids lurk in the state's southwest corner adjoining Maryland and West Virginia. The Youghiogheny - pronounced Yokagaynee or simply "Yok" for short - is a Mecca for Pennsylvania whitewater rafters and also paddlers from. Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The river's most exciting whitewater is on the Upper Yough across the border of Maryland. Within Pennsylvania the Middle Yough still offers plenty of scope for novice and family floating on gentle Class I-II waters. The Yough flows through the Laurel Mountains, with rhododendron and mountain laurel adorning steep canyon walls. While other streams dry up in the summer, the dam-controlled Yough just keeps rolling along.
The Lower Yough ranks as an intermediate stream with Class III - IV rapids, good for novices and veterans alike. And the scenery, largely protected by the Ohiopyle State Park, is great. According to one recent count, 100,000 rafters enjoy the 7.5 miles of whitewater from Ohiopyle Falls through the park to Bruner Run every season.
Many New Yorkers head for the Poconos for Whitewater Rafting in Pennsylvania
Much beloved among Pennsylvania and New York paddlers is the Lehigh River in the Pocono Mountains. This popular Pennsylvania rafting stream is less than three hours drive from New York City and barely two hours from Philadelphia. Many floaters start at White Haven, right next to Interstate 80, and head 26 miles downstream to the town of Jim Thorpe. But the whole river provides interesting Pennsylvania rafting. In the summer, its rapids are tame, but until May and on subsequent weekends when water is released from the Francis E. Walters Dam (check with outfitters for dates) they are exciting. The trip through the Lehigh Gorge State Park combines grand scenery with plenty of thrills for novices. The Pocono Mountains are the playground for New Yorkers. Big name entertainers are brought in for the hotels where the original heart-shaped Jacuzzis are found. You can ski, fish and see a black bear also fishing for breakfast.
Pine Creek is another popular river for white water rafting in Pennsylvania, described by some as the crown jewel of Pennsylvania's scenic wilderness regions. Its chief attraction is the wooded gorge claimed to be Pennsylvania's "Grand Canyon" but bearing little resemblance to the original. Runnable usually from the "ice-out" in mid-March to mid-June and again from mid-September to mid-November, it has mostly gentle rapids and good scenery.
Outfitters can arrange the whole whitewater rafting in Pennsylvania for you. Many outfitters will often custom tailor a trip especially for your individual needs as well as for groups.
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