Places to paddle near Lancaster, PA??

My wife and I are headed to Lancaster for this weekend and we’re wondering if anyone can suggest some places to paddle near there. Ideally, something on the order of a Marsh Creek would be ideal. In other words, a nice lake setting would be great. I know that the Susquehanna River is nearby but she doesn’t particularly care for moving rivers without a shuttle. The idea of paddling upstream against a current is not appealing to her. Thanks for any suggestions you may have for us.

Jeff and Elaine

where to paddle

If you go south of Lancaster and cross the Susquehanna on Rt. 372, there will be a number of launches above and below the Conowingo Dam. I paddled there for years. With the dams and the immense size of the river, there is no noticeable current that far south. There are plenty of islands and small creeks to explore and you can have a great time on the Susquehanna.


Mark Hagy

Two places come to mind
I live in Lancaster, so I can help with this.

I love to paddle Muddy Run lake. it is a 100 acre lake shaped like a Capitol “Y”. I see herons, turtles. and sometimes a loon or hawk. osprey like the lake too.

Take rte 272 south from lancaster, thru the town of Willow Street to a crosroads at the town named “Buck”. There is a blinking traffic light at the bottom a steep hill, and turn right on that road (Rte 372). Go a couple miles untill you see a campground on the left, the sign will say “Excelon” power company, Muddy Run Park. Go to the left into the park, and the boat ramp is straight ahead. There is a $3.00 launching fee, but it is a really nice lake. Using a GPS it is 3.5 miles around the perimiter, and if you circle around the big island too, it is about a 4 mile paddle. Decently clean water,and nice wooded shores. The snack bar there sells good food and ice cream too. Tell “Carol” I said “HI”! :slight_smile:

The susquehanna river is about at is lowest flow rate I have seen in a long time. If you head across the river at Columbia to Wrightsville, and head south along the river to “Long Level”, you will fine a free parking lot where we always launch. The river is at it’s widest there, so there is practically no current. That is why I go there. As you head south along “Long Level”. look for a kayak shop on the right named “Shanks Mare”, the put in is at the lower end of the shop.

If you look up the USGS web page, you can find river flows across the state of PA, I look at the flow for Marietta, PA. it is down to around 15,000 CFS, and I will paddle the river up as high as 95,000 CFS. So you can see it is almost a pond right now.

You are coming to my area, and I am heading to the bay area to paddle Saturday. I think we are headed to the Sassafras river, east of Georgetown. I am really looking forward to this trip, or I would love to join you at Muddy run, or the river.

Happy paddling,and if you have any questions, ask!

Someone say lower Susquehanna?
Hi Jeff, Like drev say’s, if you take 372 across the river you can turn left at a sign for lock #15. Down this little gravel road is a large parking lot and boat ramp. There are a few islands around this section, and downstream it gets very wide, there’s plenty of room for paddlers and powerboaters.:>)

BTW, keep an eye out for a few large rocks at the top of this section since I imagine the water level is low.

Cant help with the paddlin but…
Get dinner and beers at the Lancaster Malt Brewing Co. Get the sweet potato fries and the milk stout!

Put our Fannies in the Susquehannie
First off, I want to thank all of you for your excellent recommendations. It was a tough choice as to where to go for our first time paddling in that area.

We had stayed overnight at the E.J. Bowman B&B. Probably one of the nicest B&Bs that we have ever stayed in. We highly recommend them!

After a sumptuous breakfast Sunday morning at our B&B we headed West to the

Columbia/Wrightsville bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River. My wife surprised me by stating that she would go on the river rather than a nice lake area but I think it was the opportunity to shop at a kayak store that swayed her decision.

We headed South

along the river looking at the various put-ins and for the outfitter’s store

called Shank’s Mare. Asked at least 9 or 10 “boaters” (alright they

were actually POWER boaters) just where this Kayak Store was located. NONE of

them knew of it. The funniest part was after asking 6 of them at this one

particular boat ramp, we drove literally an eighth of a mile further South and

VOILA, there was the store. Just goes to show you what selective perception will

do for you.

It is a very comprehensive paddling store. We managed to buy several

accessories and chit chat with the store personnel to ask about the lay of the

land. Headed across the street to their suggested put-in but the river was way

too choppy what with all of the jet-skis and power boats zipping around. So we

headed back upstream to a Fish Commision boat ramp in the shadows of the 462

bridge that we had used to cross over the river into Wrightsville. Water there

is too shallow for the motor-heads to enjoy.

Started paddling downriver against the wind and headed up a small

tree-covered stream. Can you say SHADE? AHHHHH! Unfortunately, we couldn’t go up

this little creek too far b/c of how shallow it was but it was a nice little

reprieve from the heat. All you could hear or see was Mother Nature. We paddled

slowly up the creek as far as we could, turned around and slowly paddled back

out to the river, turned around again and this time, just drifted back up the

stream in the shade. Turned around one last time and headed back out to the

river. Headed slowly back to the boat ramp by just letting the wind push our

boats upstream and paddling only occasionally. I dropped off my wife and said that I would be back in a half

hour or so. I wanted/needed to do some “real paddling” meaning NOT

LillyDipping. I love being out on the water with my wife but we definitely have

different styles for enjoying being out in a kayak on the water. I headed

upstream under the 462 bridge, then past the famous bridge they burned down to

stop the Confederates from crossing during the Civil War which then forced them

to find another way to engage in battle against the Northern forces. As a result

of the bridge burning down, the major battle was held at Gettysburg. Virtually

EVERY single person we talked to that day told us the same history lesson about

the “burning of the bridge.” Talk about “civic pride!”


my time was limited I only paddled as far as the Route 30 bridge. I played along

the way through some rock gardens and then headed back downstream to my wife and

our put-in. Would have loved to have paddled several hours more but my wife had

had enough and it truly was stink’n HOT. Packed up, went upstream to the town’s

RiverFest Celebration to grab a quick bite to eat while listening to a band play

some pretty good music.

Life was good this weekend! Got to spend the whole

weekend with my wife enjoying a nice get-away weekend. We should always have it

this good!

Jeff and Elaine

Glad you had a nice time!
I am glad to see you had a nice time. I usually go on a Saturday morning REAL early to avoid the power boaters on the river. I didn’t think to mention them. Muddy Run Lake is electric or paddling only.

I like to be on the river just after sun up, tough to get up that early on a saturday, but it is worth it. The water is normally smooth, and no wild people on jet skis. I don’t know why they have to stay right around the put in area, and just churn up the water as they do. With the whole river available, they have to stay right at the put in area. (sorry for the “rant”)

Next time you are in the area, and want some company, let me know. My wife and I will join you.

Happy Paddling!

sorry I did not see this post sooner…
Jeff… I am still living in Lancaster but in southern DE a lot too.

The area below 372 (this is NOT the Conowingo Dam, by the way, that is much further south) is really a spectacular area for paddling , and you must check it out on your next visit up this way. Muddy Run Park (as suggested) is good too. I might also have suggested sections of the Conestoga River. I’ve never really liked the area you ended up in.

I hope we can get together sometime soon…Trap Pond is pretty impressive.

I can relate to your frustration…one of the few times you get to paddle with your Mrs. & it is less than desireable…

Hey paddlinunit!
We are going to be down in Lewes this weekend for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Plans have not been finalized but perhaps Sunday or Monday for gettin together? Are you going to be down there for the Fourth of July? Give me a call during the week or I’ll try to reach you, okay? Been way too long since we paddled together!