Susquehanna question

I am a FL boy working in central PA near Harrisburg. I regularly paddle surfski, outrigger and SUP. I’m planning to bring my OC1 from home to paddle while I am here for the next few months. As you probably know the OC1 has a fixed rudder and she’s a very lightweight all one piece carbon craft. Super light but not made for high impact play. I wouldn’t use it for exploration but more to stay in shape and keep my technique fresh. I’m used to paddling in unobstructed deep saltwater and while I know that there are lots of different conditions on the river I’m wondering if there are decent stretches of deep water? I have to assume from all the pontoon boats that I see in the marinas around H’burg that there must be plenty of water. But the lower unit of an outboard would take more abuse than my carbon fiber baby. Am I just worrying to much? What about some you local guys that paddle these waters often…what do you think? I asked a series of similar questions when I was headed to TN for work and found the locals input very helpful. Thanks!

I am a lot farther up on the river-Tunnkanock area. Most of the boats I see are plastic. The visiblity in the river is generally not the best. It is not uncommon to bash into a rock and never see it coming.

Maybe it would be better to rent for the time you are there. I think there are some outfitters North of H-burg.

susq paddling
South of Harrisburg are many miles of long stretches of deep, flat water behind several power generation dams.

Susquehanna River near Hbg.
The river is often quoted at this time of year as being a mile wide and an inch deep. There are places you can hop from rock to rock across the river; and other places were there are long deep pools. There will plenty of places to paddle an outrigger canoe. You will find spots where the hull will float, but you won’t be able to bury your whole paddle blade. Its more of a pool and riffle river. Below Harrisburg as stated above you have long pools backed up by three power dams. Upriver are good stretches and lots of islands to paddle around and enjoy. There is a major highway along both sides of the river plus a railroad track on one side and you can be in the middle of the river and not see a sign of either. Not far north of Harrisburg at Duncannon the Juniata River joins the Susquehanna and it is a great paddling river. Long pools and easy riffles with plenty of room to pass thru the rocks. Good access at Fish Commission access sites about every 5 miles or so. You just need to get a launch permit from the Fish Commission or the Parks Dept. Easiest to get a permits at any State Park Office and there are several within 30 minutes of Harrisburg and the State Offices of the Parks Dept and Fish Commission are both in Hbg.

Enjoy it, Its where I learned to paddle.


just about 6-7 miles out of Harrisburg

– Last Updated: Jul-15-13 11:21 PM EST –

...... heading north up 11/15 on the western shore is BMO (Blue Mountain Outfitters) , at Marysville .

Why don't you check in with them , maybe do a day rental for a solo ($50. or so) and get a feel for the river before making the discision to bring your carbon boat up from Fl. .

The river is rocky (on bottom) , but not every patch of water in it is going to have exposed rocks . Certainly you can see many of them from shore ... and the lower the water level the more you'll see .

A canoe doesn't draw that much , but there's plenty of ledges from Harrisburg on up well past the Juniata . We (nephew's boat) run around all that stretch in a Jon w/jet and are able most of the time to miss the rocks and not scrap the ledges ... but then again it's all about gage level . I can tell you this (USGS Harrisburg gage) , at 8' the river is pushy even for the Jon , at 3.5' it's scratchy enough for us to start weaving for the best spot through a ledge , we draw about 6" of water .

I think BMO is a good bet for your concerns about your canoe , if I were you I'd go check them out .

Thanks for the BMO idea. I actually had found them on the web yesterday and was thinking the same thing regarding making contact. Looks like I need to start scheming a RM boat based on these responses and some local paddlers I talked to today. Hmmm, I’ve always been curious about a P&H Delphin. Thanks for the responses.