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Tuscarora Creek - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Port Royal, PA
Difficulty: Moderate

Description:

I have done the Tuscarora Creek about 3 times in the last few years (I am new to kayaking) from the covered bridge just below Academia to it's end into the Juniata River in Port Royal.

The start point at the covered bridge is on road 3013 in Juniata Co. Not much parking here on either side of the creek, but it's possible (not an official boat launch here). Cars cannot cross the bridge, but I have put in on both sides of the creek.

Take out is possible at Walker access site on the Juniata river (about a 4.25 hour trip at a 3.3 ft water level). Another take out spot is before going into the town of Port Royal under the 75/333 bridge. There is an empty lot here to spot vehicles and a somewhat easy take out spot (but it is not an official boat launch; about a 3.5 hour trip).

Creek has a nice constant flow without too many dead spots. Great scenery. Good wildlife views: deer, turtles, fish, lots of different birds; I even got to see a bald eagle. Some shade cover, some sun. One section is along steep rock cliffs, another has thick creek grass where large fish can be seen. Not a crowded creek, no motor boats, light car traffic when creek is next to roads.

At 3.25': it was a bit low and I had to do some walking, but it made the small "rapids" fun. Over 4.5': was a nice level. At over 8': after a heavy rain it looked dangerous so I waited another few days before going. A good level is 4.5' to 5.5 feet.

There are only 2 spots of concern from the covered bridge to the Juniata. One is soon after starting, there is a drop on the left side which can be avoided; just stay right after leaving the covered bridge. The second is a concrete drop that extends across the entire creek. It is not very dangerous and can be seen/heard as you approach (a high water level will make it a small drop; a low level and you can paddle right up to it and take out (I don't remember it's exact location, maybe halfway).

There are some sections where the creek splits, and taking either way is good, but boaters need to keep an eye out for downed trees and other hazards; especially after recent storms.

Accommodations:

None on this short section till you get to Port Royal/Juniata River. No facilities at the covered bridge either. Only a port-a-potty at the Walker access site on the river.

Fees:

None I know of except PA boat sticker if you take out on the Juinata River boat launch sites.

Directions:

322 exit for Port Royal/75. West into port Royal (across bridge for Juniata River). Go through town, then road curves to left and goes over the Tuscarora Creek. Just after this bridge turn left in parking lot (this is the take out/end spot).

To get to the start/covered bridge:
Take a left out of the lot onto 75. Stay to right at Y on 75(not 333) The next road (I don't have the name but the sign will have the #) is 3008. Take this road (maybe 5 miles) then left on 3013 (before Academia) to covered bridge. Park on side of road near the bridge info sign (this is the north side of the creek).

An easier put in may be on the south side, but different directions will be needed since cars cannot drive over the bridge; you can carry kayaks over the bridge.

Resources:

The Juniata River Water Trail: Lower Section map has this section of the creek on it, but no detail or info. A Juniata County map would be good.

Check USGS website for water level: gauge is at Port Royal, PA.


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