Enjoy a leisurely paddle along the beautiful waters of Lake Clarke. Located between Lancaster and York Counties, Lake Clarke offers a host of recreation opportunities and historic sites to visit along its shores. The route begins at the Columbia River Park Access in Columbia, PA. This access hosts a variety of attractions including the Columbia Wrightsville Bridge, the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail trial-head, and the Columbia Crossing River Trail Center. Along the way, keep an eye out for Klines Run Park and the stone building of the Zimmerman Center for Heritage on river right. Just across the river from the Zimmerman Center are the Conejohela Flats. This series of mudflats is renowned as a viewing location for migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, and other birds including bald eagles and osprey. Another zigzag back to the western shore brings you to the takeout at the Lock 2 boat ramp.

Photo courtesy of Shank’s Mare Outfitters

Points of Interest

The Columbia Crossing River Trails Center is managed by Susquehanna Heritage for the Borough of Columbia as a gateway visitor education center and trailhead for land and water trails in the Susquehanna Riverlands. Visitors will find maps, guides, and brochures related to river recreation, trails and nearby historic sites and family attractions, along with exhibits and rest rooms.

The Zimmerman Center is the headquarters of Susquehanna Heritage and serves as Pennsylvania’s Official Visitor Contact and Passport Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Whether you visit the center by land or sea, the Zimmerman Center hosts a variety of historic exhibits including the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection; a variety of Susquehannock Indian artifacts; and presentations of the river’s history.

The Conejohela Flats are a renowned series of mudflats that serve as vital habitat for a variety of migrating shorebirds, waterfowl, and other birds including bald eagles and ospreys. Designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society. The birding coverage of this site is amazing, especially from July – October during fall shorebird migration.

Put In

River Mile ~ 43: Columbia River Park Access; 41 Walnut Street Columbia, PA 17512

Take Out

River Mile ~ 38: Lock 2 Boat Ramp

Captured with Terrain 360

More Day Trips in the Lower Section

Lake Aldred Loop

8.25 miles (can elect to make it shorter)


Muddy Creek Loop

8.7 miles


Marietta to Wrightsville

10 miles (4.17 miles for the alt. route)


Falmouth to Marietta

11 miles


New Market to Middletown

7.25 miles


Conowingo Reservoir Loop

7.5 miles