river River Fun
Fifteen million people draw water from the Delaware River and its 216 tributaries.

River Activities

River Mile 330 in Hancock is named because it is located 330-miles north of the mouth of the Delaware, where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Upper Delaware is the longest free-flowing river in the Northeast, navigable by a wide variety of watercraft throughout its entire length. It includes riffles and Class I and II rapids between placid pools and eddies. Its average depth is 4 to 5 feet, but 12 to 18-foot holes are common, and many are even deeper, to 113 feet at Big Eddy, Narrowsburg, NY and boasts a total elevation differential of 460 feet, better than six feet per mile, although it is much steeper in some reaches. Canoes, kayaks and rafts are the most popular way of navigating the waters.

Boating experts have said that the combination of proximity to major metropolitan areas, high visual quality, and consistent flows due to upstream reservoir releases, makes the Upper Delaware one of the finest recreational canoeing rivers in the Northeast.The river can rise rapidly after heavy rains and after releases from dams on its tributaries. Obstructions include large boulders, bridge piers and eel weirs. Avoid boulders in rapids by steering into the downstream "V." Avoid getting trapped in an eel weir by steering outside the wingwalls. Don't paddle into the "V" in this case.

man with dog canoeing on the Delaware River photoThe Upper Delaware's boating season extends from mid-April through October. The water, even in summer, can be cold enough to cause hypothermia. Boaters and anglers should always be prepared for cold water. Of course, every boater should bring along a bag for trash and pack out what he or she carries in.

Types of Watercraft

Canoes, rafts, tubes, and kayaks are the most popular watercraft on the Upper Delaware. If you don’t have your own, vessels are available to rent from the many licensed commercial outfitters that operate on the river. Please note that Personal Watercraft or PWCs (i.e. jet skis) are prohibited. To ensure safety, National Park Service rangers and volunteers, as well as members of the National Canoe Safety Patrol, may be present to assist boaters in need.

Seasons and LimitsRiver Access

Winding through highlands scenery from Hancock, NY, to just north of Matamoras, PA, the Upper Delaware is a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Although the river is a unit of the National Park System, almost all land along the river is privately owned.

Public river accesses are located for your convenience on both Pennsylvania and New York shorelines. These accesses range from 3 to 20 miles apart along the river and are jointly managed by the National Park Service and the agencies which own the land.

Noted Rapids

Skinners Falls Rapids

River mile 295. Just South of the public access area on the eastern (NY) shore at the Milanville/Skinner's Falls Bridge are the Skinner's Falls Rapids. The most difficult rapids on this section of the Delaware River, featuring waves of up to two feet, or Class II rapids.

No. 9 Railroad Bridge Rapids

River mile 285. A series of small Class I rapids leads one downriver from Narrowsburg, these Class II rapids that are less instense than the Skinners Falls version but just as fun.

Seasons and LimitsMasthope Rapids

River mile 282. This is where NY's Ten Mile River and PA's Masthope Creek converge into the Delaware to add to the choppiness of these Class I to I+ rapids.

Colang Rapids

River mile 281. These Class II rapids are a nice charge before the River deepens and calms for a stretch.

Kunkeli Rapids

River mile 279. These Class II rapids lead into a series of smaller rapids.

Not far from these rapids is the Zane Grey Museum, (570) 685-4871, is located on the PA shore of the River just after the Lackawaxen River joins the Delaware. Here one can use the Zane Grey public access area to rest, visit the home of the legendary novelist or witness some of the best eagle viewing on the Delaware River.

Cedar Rapids

River mile 275. A quick Class II series of rapids that rounds a swift bend and features many rocks.

river actitivities photoShohola Rapids

River mile 273. Just past the Shohola/Barryville Bridge starts a series of rapids for a 12-mile stretch. The Shohola Rapids are a little more difficult to navigate as there is no straight shoot to find.

Staircase Rapids

River mile 267. Here starts a series of lighter rapids that continue for a distance.

Mongaup Rapids and Inlet

River mile 267. From the NY shore the Monguap River joins the Delaware. Rate a Class II, one can often see experienced kayakers playing in the whites as the entering from the public access area.

Butlers Rift

River mile 260.This rift offering Class I rapids is in the scenic section of the river called "Hawk's Nest." Beautiful cuts of rock are visible on the NY shore.

Mill Rift

River mile 259. Located on the western fork of Cherry Island, this rift offers a quiet drift trip, to the Southern Terminus Access Area, by No. 2 Railroad bridge, identifing the southern point of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway - Sections color chart Southern Gateway Section of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Lower Section of the Upper Delaware Scenic BywaysMid Section of the Upper Delaware Scenic BywayUpper Section of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Northern Gateway of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway