Susquehanna River Trail Association, Inc.
PO Box 62023
Harrisburg PA 17106-2023
The Susquehanna River Trail is Pennsylvania's first water trail. It was charted in 1998, and initially ran from Halifax south to Harrisburg. It was later extended north to Sunbury. There are more than 500 islands between Sunbury and Harrisburg. Most of these islands are property of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. SRTA volunteers have established and maintain 21 primitive campsites on public land along the river trail.
Numerous public access points along major roads that follow the east and west shores provide travelers with day or overnight parking and make it easy to arrange short or long trips with easy shuttle routes. The trail is suitable for canoes, kayaks and flat-bottomed fishing boats. Only a small stretch of the river above Harrisburg is usable by larger, motor-powered watercraft.
The North and West Branches of the river meet at Sunbury where they connect with this trail. At Harrisburg the trail connects with the Lower Section Trail, which extends to the state border, and a final section in Maryland which empties into the tidal water of the Chesapeake Bay.
The river corridor bisects the Appalachian Mountains in five spectacular water gaps. The wide, shallow river is the mother river to the Chesapeake Bay providing half of all the freshwater entering the estuary. By volume, it is the largest river on the east coast fully contained in the United States.
A flatwater river trail on the main stem of the Susquehanna River between Sunbury and Harrisburg, PA
Overview of paddling level required:
Class 1 with several Class 2 rapids
Put in locations:
26 locations on the east and west shores, some State Fish & Boat sites and some local municipal sites.
Suggested maps and where available:
Detailed trail guide available at local outfitters and online via link from web site. http://www.susquehannarivertrail.org/guides.htm
Best time to paddle for specific weather conditions?
April through October when river level is at 3-4 ft at Harrisburg river gage (see web site for current water level and weather conditions).
Best time to paddle for availability of campsites?
Heaviest use on weekends and at sites closest to Harrisburg. Some sites are clustered so nearby unoccupied site often available.
Types (primitive, outhouse, running water, etc):
Island sites consist of clearing, fire ring, post with log box and landings marked by signs on both sides of island. Map shows each island with illustration of best approach and GPS coordinates. The sites are primitive, "Leave no trace" with no potable water or latrine facilities. All sites are on flood plain.
Group size or number of campers accommodated if different groups:
One group per site. Most sites can accommodate a small group of tents.
First come, first served
Trip suggestions, include paddling level required for each Day:
Frequency and location of islands and launch areas convenient for short day trips or extended overnight paddling, float and/or fishing trips. (Excellent small mouth bass fishing.)
Extended (if applicable):
River frequently traveled by through-paddlers going 444 miles from source in Lake Otsego, NY to the Chesapeake Bay tidal water in Havre de Grace MD.
Closest city to fly into or drive from:
How can one get involved with using, maintaining or supporting the trail? Join the Susquehanna River Trail Assoc. (SRTA). See web site for further information and registration form.