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Lehigh River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Jim Thorpe, PA
Difficulty: Moderate

Description:

The town of Jim Thorpe - it's incredible! It's a quaint little town with a lot of history, and has been attracting many artists and adventurers. The biking trails are great, but the river is the best thrill.

This 4hr day trip stretch of river has a few class 3 rapids to keep excitement, but mainly class 1 & 2. We had a few novices on this trip, and they did excellent! The secret for safety is to keep left; but keep right for adventure. The first rapid is a classic example: class 3 on the right with turns, or rapid but straightway on the left.

This is a popular spot for whitewater rafting, so there are often dam release dates in the summer. You can search and find a schedule, but it's best to call and confirm. BikeJimThorpe.com is Blue Mountain Sports, who can provide that info.

Accommodations:

Before and after, but nothing during the trip except enjoyment. There are, naturally, several river banks and a couple islands you can rest on.
Along Rt 209, before town but after 248, there is a Dunkin Donuts. In town, there are a number of restaurants. A local restaurant attraction is the Inn of Jim Thorpe in downtown, and then just outside town to the east is "The Flagstaff" restaurant, atop a hill overlooking Jim Thorpe.

Fees:

They are not state run launches, so nothing is required, but I always recommend having a permit.

Directions:

We started from the Norristown exit of the PA turnpike. Take Rt 476 (PA turnpike notheast extension - north from where we started) to 'Mahoning Valley' Rt 209. Bear to left and follow 209W towards Jim Thorpe. Continue on 209 until you hit downtown Jim Thorpe (you'll probably know when you're there, but there is a 'dog leg' in the downtown section to keep on 209; with an outfitter and bar in front of you, and a visitor center / train station on your right).

Launches:

The put in is behind the train. There is a pay parking lot (was $3 on Saturday 8/06), and a few spots to drop your kayak over and slip in the river.
From the river, the take out is the bridge AFTER turnpike bridge. The bridges are not labeled, but the turnpike bridge is quite high. I believe the turnpike bridge is the 3rd car bridge.
For the takeout, from the turnpike, take 209W to 248S/SE. Follow 248 and make right on Rt 895. You should be able to find street parking around the bridge.

Contact:

www.BikeJimThorpe.com, which is Blue Mountain Sports: phone 1-800-599-4421.
They also rent sit-on-tops for the trip ($45), or can offer a shuttle to pick up ($20).

Resources:

I always recommend looking at Google maps so you don't go on the river blind.


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