Lakes, streams, and of course the river afford kayakers, canoeists, and recreational boaters an abundance of publicly accessible facilities in all parts of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. In this section you’ll find information about where you can paddle legally and safely, important safety and access information for river paddlers, water level and quality in the river, resources for further information, and clubs and organizations you can join.
We recently published a brand new comprehensive Schuylkill River Water Trail Guide that is a must-have for anyone who is planning to paddle on the river. It includes pull out maps and extensive up-to-date information on landings, rapids, cautions and much more. Click here to learn more or purchase a copy.
Please note: Because our online water trail maps are outdated, we have removed them. We are working on creating new online maps.
In addition to the Schuylkill River, there are numerous facilities across the Heritage Area that provide access to lakes. French Creek, Tuscarora, and Locust Lake State Parks have lakes of varying sizes for flatwater paddling. Canoes, rowboats, and pedalboats can be rented at these facilities. Blue Marsh Recreation Area is a favorite flat water boating facility in the Western Berks region.
For those seeking a little more movement, several of the river’s tributaries are navigable seasonally. Please note that the tributaries can be narrow, fast moving and more challenging than the river itself. These sections are recommended for experienced paddlers only. Many of the tributaries lack public access points. Please do no trespass on private property while putting in or taking out. SRHA advises you to access the river and its tributaries only at marked locations.
The Little Schuylkill and the West Branch in Schuylkill County are navigable during the spring. Both feature public access points and are part of the Schuylkill River Water Trail. Tulpehocken Creek below Blue Marsh Dam is navigable with public access areas. Take out locations are under development in the City of Reading.
Paddling the Schuylkill River can be a fun way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Public access points to the Schuylkill are marked as stops on the Schuylkill River Water Trail. These locations are publicly owned and maintained and meet Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission standards. Look for the oval medallion at these launch points. The river can be shallow and rocky at spots, so please be sure to check the water levels in the area you wish to paddle before putting in. Also, please note that there are several dams on the Schuylkill, and paddlers are required by law to portage around these dams. Portages can be lengthy in unimproved locations.
To gauge how much time it takes to paddle from one landing to the other, consult the water trail map to calculate the river miles from point A to B. Typically 4 river miles will take a little more than an hour under normal flow conditions. Or, visually gauge the speed of the river. The average person walks at 3 miles per hour. Is the river moving slower or faster than you can walk?
Rivers, streams, and lakes can present unexpected challenges to recreationalists. For a safe and enjoyable experience, it is important that you remember these basic rules and guidelines;
There are a variety of canoes and kayaks available at major outfitters and sports centers. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you. Consult with the sales staff at these locations about your options.
When on the water, proper accessories and clothing are important . Again, outfitters are the best source for your equipment needs, as it varies according to the type of craft you buy.
Located at the confluence of the Wissahickon Creek and Schuylkill River, the Philadelphia Canoe Club’s headquarter is a former mill that was built around 1686-1689. The Philadelphia Canoe Club...Learn More
he Keystone Canoe Club (KCC) of Berks County is a non-profit organization that was organized in 1973 in an effort to promote the sports of canoeing and kayaking, as...Learn More
The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is located near the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers about 1 mile from the Philadelphia International Airport. Over the...Learn More
Destination Schuylkill River celebrates life along the River and seeks to connect our communities to the river through planning, programming and projects. What is there to do? How can...Learn More
Take it Outdoors Adventure Group organizes group Kayaking, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping & Bike Rides, and many other outdoor adventures. Their mission is to help people meet new people, learn...Learn More
Green Lane Park offers fishing, boating, picnicking, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, family/organized group camping, equestrian camping, tennis, playgrounds, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice fishing....Learn More
French Creek State Park is one of 6 State Parks in the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, and one of the best places for outdoor recreation, rest, and relaxation in...Learn More
When viewed from the lake or the day use area, Locust Mountain seems to drop right into the southern side of Tuscarora Lake. The scenic picnic area plays host...Learn More
Known for its popular camping area, Locust Lake State Park nestles on the side of Locust Mountain. The 52-acre Locust Lake is located between two campgrounds and is surrounded...Learn More
It all starts on Schuylkill Banks, an eight mile stretch of distinctly urban riverfront in Philadelphia. As Philadelphia’s riverfront destination, Schuylkill Banks is home to greenways, parks, docks, the...Learn More
Blue Marsh Lake is a man-made lake along the Tulpehocken Creek that features numerous boating, hiking, biking, and birdwatching opportunities. It is maintained by the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army...Learn More