Paddling the Tidal Delaware River

Produced by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Tidal Delaware Water Trail maps are a great read and they can be downloaded and studied for free. The overall quality of this web based resource for both paddlers and power boaters is excellent.

Paddling the tidal river is not for all tastes. For one thing the tidal Delaware is one of the nation's busiest commercial waterways with a never-ending procession of large vessels plying the river between the bay and Trenton. Wakes from large boats, waves, wind and frequent choppy conditions pose serious threats to paddlers. Open kayaks and canoes without flotation are a liability on the tidal river. Summer tidal paddling can also mean putting up with sandflies and mosquitoes, but there are some interesting places to explore along that stretch of the 135 mile long tidal river between Trenton and Marcus Hook, which is the area covered by the maps. Natural areas like Burlington Island offer opportunities to explore, and there are a few notable towns that can be visited along the way, such as Bristol PA, Burlington NJ, and Philadelphia. At the lower end of the Tidal Water Trail one can see and smell why the Delaware River is second largest petro-chemical complex.

As the adage "think globally - paddle locally" becomes more meaningful those who live near or in the coastal plain of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have a great resource a short distance away.

The Tidal Water Trail website provides a wealth of information about river accesses, trip planning, safety and more. Check it out.