PFBC Falmouth to PFBC Marietta

River Miles: 11 miles 

Estimated paddle time: 4-5 hours, depending on river levels 

Difficulty: Moderate 

Hazards: York Haven Dam on river right when launching at Falmouth. Begin paddling river left as soon as you launch to stay clear of the dam. Stronger riffles caused by partially submerged rocks are located on river right and river left near Ely and Pole Islands. Run the river center between Ely and Pole Islands to avoid the strongest riffles. 

Located just downstream of Three-Mile Island, your trip begins at the PFBC Falmouth access. The access area is also located near the trailhead for the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. This 14-mile multi-purpose trail spans five municipalities at the northwestern edge of Lancaster County and follows the route of the historic Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. 

After launching at Falmouth, you will see the York Haven Dam (Lake Frederick) on your right, as well as the Conewago Falls behind you. It won't be long before you encounter your first river island as Haldeman Island near Bainbridge approaches. Keep river left as you pass the island. A notable landmark to keep an eye out for are the White Cliffs of Conoy. These cliffs are the product of years of operation on a limestone quarry opened by John Haldeman in 1846. The cliffs are a stunning sight to see on the river and in-person. 

As you approach Ely Island and Pole Island, run the river center to avoid some stronger riffles (Haldeman Riffles) caused by partially submerged rocks. After passing under the Shocks Mills railroad bridge spanning the length of the river, continue onward to Marietta. The PFBC Marietta access is located by Chickies Rock County Park on river left. Enjoy the park after your paddle or even ride the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail back to Falmouth! 

Amenities: The PFBC Falmouth boat launch has a boat ramp, parking, restrooms, and picnic facilities. Please note that the use of this boat launch requires a PA state launch permit. The PFBC Marietta access has a boat ramp, and is located near parking and picnic facilities. A PA launch use permit is also required at this access. 

Put In:

River Mile 56.2: PFBC Falmouth Boat Access (boat launch)

Images provided by terrain360.com 

Take Out:

River Mile 45.2: PFBC Marietta Access (boat launch)

Images provided by terrain360.com 

Area Outfitters: Susquehanna Outfitters 

The White Cliffs of Conoy. Photo courtesy Ethan Myers at flickr.com 

Shock Mills Bridge towering over the Lower Susquehanna River. Photo courtesy Robert E. Dawson Jr. at flickr.com