Any P-netter's ever paddle the

Schuylkill River Sojourn in Pa.? I have never done anything like this but it seems like a well organised trip. I don’t think I will be able to go for the whole week but maybe for a couple of days. I usually go kayaking on PA lakes and the bays at the Jersey Shore but never been on a river. One of my questions is to anyone that has been on this Is worth the money and would you ever do it again? I have other questions but don’t want to made this to long.



I used to scull on the Schuylkill, but
I never went farther upriver than the ancient Philadelphia Canoe Club.

That’s where the trip ends
In front of Boat House Row in Philadelphia. I think lunch is served at the canoe club.


– Last Updated: Feb-17-14 7:57 PM EST –

I live pretty close to where the sojourn starts in Schuylkill Haven. While I have never done the sojourn I paddle quite often on the upper sections. Infact, I had a beautiful paddle yesterday putting on in Landingville and attaining 4 miles. Hard to find open water around here this year.

I know lots of people that have done the Sojourn, and they all said they enjoyed it. It's a bit pricey and slow moving for my taste. But I have seen the entire river. Last summer I did my own sojourn. I put on at Island Park, where the sojourn starts, with low but adequate water levels at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning and camped that night near Pottstown, 63 river miles later. My wife picked me up in Phila along boathouse row 2pm Sunday. Not bad for a 107 mile paddle.

While I can't say much about the Sojourn, I will say that I think the river itself is pretty cool. I enjoyed the paddle. There is no real WW but there were enough surprises to keep things interesting. Lots of canal history. Lots of wildlife. And sections that I expected to be slow moving and boring were interesting.

The programs and such they have scheduled each day always seemed like they would be interesting to me.

If you enjoy the social interaction of paddling with lots of people, feel the cost is justifiable, I would say do it. I doubt you will regret it. River time is peace time. Most of the paddlers I know that have done an organized sojourn, have gone back and done others on other rivers.

Oh yeah, it is the Pa. River of the Year for 2014, so they may have something special planned?


Thanks Mike
It sounds like you would know the river. I am thinking of joining them in Pottstown and paddling the lower part. I found a map of the upper part and it looks like there are a few dams to portage around. Is it about the same for the lower part?

Thanks again


Rick, you can scout the run from space
on google earth. Sometimes one can pre-scout the portage options. If there are others in that event, you may be able to double carry, with one person between the bows, and one person between the sterns. It’s a decent way to single carry some urban portages.

I have been on another PA
Sojourn and they are fun. Seems pricey but the food is usually excellent ( on the one I have been on four times) and the shuttle service excellent in saving gas and headache. As there usually is a flotilla its a social event so there isn’t much worry about help on portages.

The dams on the upper part of the river are no big deal to portage around. Our informal paddling group consists of all retirees, one of whom is 90, and we prefer the portions of the river above Reading, with the favorite section being Auburn to Port Clinton.

Sojourns in SE PA
You also have the Lehigh and Delware Sojourns in June as well. I have done the Lehigh, had a great time and came home 10 lbs heavier after 3 days of paddling – food was good and I am sure it was all new muscle weight.

Sojourns are probably a good choice for a beginner kayaker and/or camper as you have a lot of support with shuttles, river safety, and the pace is on the slow side. There is downtime as you wait for stragglers. There are also breaks for educational talks so don’t expect a fast pace. They are very social and you probably spend as much time chatting as you do paddling. You can learn a lot about the river and the areas you are traveling through, if that interests you.

The downside is there are a ton of people on the river. You get bumped by others. You have to deal with people in front of you suddenly cutting you off or going to slow because they can’t stop chatting. Sometimes you feel like you are in rush hour traffic on 76 instead of the river.

If you go to Paddlesport in Jersey this March, I know the Delware and Lehigh Sojourn people usually show up and would be a good source of information to get a feel for them.

River Trips
Besides the Sojourns there are some good river trips in the area even for beginners.

The D&R Canal park, while not a river, is a nice mellow paddle that gives you plenty of areas to launch from and paddle back to without setting up shuttle.

Tyler State Park you can paddle up the Neshaminy and float back to the start.

You can rent and launch from Fitzwater Station (or the near by dog park on the Schuylkill Canal. Paddle up to the Lock House, do a short portage to the Schuylkill and then paddle back to the canal portage – long carry but then you can stop at the Fitz for many beers. Nice river intro but a slight step up in difficultly from the two above. You can also do a longer paddle down to Pawlings Rd or an even longer trip to 422/old Betzwood Bridge. There are a couple of place that are barely class 1 but the river can be pretty scratchy when low and a bit too hard for you after a heavy rain.

The Pine Barrens in Jersey there are many fun mellow river paddles on the Wading, Oswego, Batso and Mullica.

Still not sure why I haven’t done the Delware – just convinced I will get surrounded by tubers.

You usually can explore Three Mile Run and Haycock at Nockamixon a bit before it gets to low.

skook sojourn
I worked the land side of this a few years back. Very well run. Generally good food, and excellent programs in the evening, great campsites. As folks have said, its a relaxed pace. The on-water guides are very good and very safety conscious, so it takes a while to get folks through any rapids. Unlike some sojourns, this one stays on the river the whole time, which is nice IMO. The first weekend typically sells out quickly. The longest dam portage is in Norristown; when I worked it was ungodly hot and we used the shuttle trailers to help move the boats. If I were to do it (and I was thinking of a couple of days this year)I would end at Conshohocken, although you would miss a nice run of rapids going in to Manayunk. Philly gets a bit hectic, but if you haven’t done it its worth doing once.

Thanks Everyone
Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. I was thinking of paddling the Schuylkill at lock 60 to get a feel for the river before going on this trip. I will be sure to stop at the Fitz for a few beers. Speaking of beers, I know from the Sojourn’s web site they frown upon any alcohol on this trip, which I can understand but does that mean you can’t bring a couple of cold ones for after a day on the river.

Thanks again


At least from my experience, they are serious about safety on the river and drinking would be extremely frowned upon during the day. These aren’t giant coolers of beers on the river type trips.

Camping on the sojourns seems to be a mix of state/county land and private land. Most camp sites are probably not going to allow alcohol but anyone who camps knows that people can easily enjoy a few quiet drinks without having a problem.

I doubt anyone would stop you from having a few discreet cans of beers covered by cozy or sipping from a flask.

I like to have a few swigs of whisky from my flask after a long day paddle while relaxing around the fire myself. Help takes the pain away…

in PA from my experience be discreet
and please don’t drink on the river and put the Safety Committee in the nasty quandry of having to ask you to leave.

I’m not a resident of PA but have run safety on the Connie Alli Kiski Sojourn and camped in PA and alcohol is a no no.

If you conduct yourself in camp well no one, in my experience, will question you. If you act out of the norm…there are grounds for ejection.