How to Handle Crowds on the Lehigh

Although the Lehigh goes through a remote senic gorge, it cannot be considered a wilderness experience. The area was considered the 'Switzerland of Pennsylvania' in the 1800s, has several strip mines tucked away in the hills, had 4 railway lines along the river, and before the railroads were built was completely dammed from White Haven down to Easton.

The area has recovered a lot of its natural beauty, but is still very heavily trafficed. The state park and rafting outfitters do a great job of minimizing the impact on the environment, regulating the amount, timing, and locations of rest stops of the rafting trips, and keeping garbage picked up

If you paddle the river alone during the week, you can still see a lot of wildlife and believe you are in the middle of nowhere. But on weekends the river more resembles a whitewater circus. It is 2 hours from 2 major metropolitan centers, and draws a lot of people for whom this is their first outdoors experience, and first whitewater adventure other than Dorney Park or Great Adventure.

Some tips on enjoying yourself in spite of (or perhaps because of) the crowds:

So to summarize, if you don't like crowds do the Lehigh during the week. Otherwise enjoy the camaraderie of many, many fellow boaters. The alternative is a private boater quota system like Pennsylvania's other whitewater state park - the lower Yough.


This information is my opinion only
and may not reflect actual conditions.
It is based on my usually hazy memory,
and should not be used to decide whether
you or your guides are qualified to run the river.


Back to the  Lehigh River page.