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The best time to paddle is within two hours of high tide. With a put in at the Burlington City ramp, follow the inward flow 1 to 2 hours before high tide. For the first half mile, the creek flows under several bridges in Burlington City. After the Route 130 bridge, the creek opens up into a wide marshland as it winds its way inland. There are many birds and signs of small animals such as muskrat along the way. With the tide behind you, it is not unusual to move along at 5 MPH while paddling easily. For a suburban area, the route is quiet and enjoyable.
At about three miles in, the marshland disappears and the characteristics of an inland creek take shape, although the flow of the tide still dominates. Once the creek narrows, blown down trees are common for the next 1.5 miles. Some paddling skill is needed to negotiate through this area, but progress is still fairly easy. Once the creek reaches the area of Old York Road, the tidal flow stops.
I have not paddled beyond this area, but a friend of mine did put in once about five miles upstream at Petticoat Bride Road, paddling all the way down to the Delaware. The trip was very difficult and took all day, with frequent take outs to negotiate blow downs. Unless you are prepared to bushwhack your way through this area, I would not recommend paddling above the tidal flow.
The return trip is easy if you manage to catch the tide change and run out with the current. If not, be prepared to work hard as paddling against a 3-4 MPH tide requires power all the way.
This trip is especially pleasant in the summer, when powerboats dominate the river. Because of low bridges and shallowness of the creek at low tide, the creek rarely sees many boaters.
URCHIN Portable Anchor
YakCatcher Rod Holder