This trip along the Middle Section of the Susquehanna River offers the opportunity to see the particularly notable river islands, as well as several other landmarks. This is a great trip for those looking for a longer day out on the river, and those who wish to experience other recreational activities around Fort Hunter after their paddle.
Begin by putting in at the Halifax Borough Access boat ramp. Please note that a PA state launch permit is required to paddle this route. Upon entering the river, you will immediately see several river islands, including the famous Clemson Island, which contains State Game Lands #254, and is open for public access. Clemson Island also contains a historic archeological site and national historic district. The island previously featured an ancient burial mound for prehistoric people who lived more than a thousand years ago, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Continue paddling as you approach several other islands, including Site 89, a small primitive island campsite maintained by the Susquehanna River Trail Association (SRTA). They maintain several island campsites along this section of the river, and are great places to rest if you need a break during your trip. These sites are first come first served and free to the public. For more information of SRTA campsites please visit their website.
Stay river left as you paddle past Haldeman Island, one of the largest islands on the Dauphin County stretch of the river. Haldeman Island is owned by the PA Game Commission and contains State Game Lands #290. The Game Commission uses the island’s northern half as a wildlife propagation area. Continue paddling as you pass under the US-22 bridge to Duncannon. You will encounter several other SRTA campsite islands along this stretch. Stay river left as you approach Dauphin around RM 79.
Be careful as you navigate this section of the river known as the Dauphin Narrows. Stay close to the shore and be mindful of waves. Stay far river-left throughout this entire stretch to the Fort Hunter access to avoid the numerous rocks and waves. Be on the lookout for the Dauphin Narrows Statue of Liberty as you paddle by.
Stay river-left and prepare your approach to the PFBC Fort Hunter Access. After take-out, you have the option to explore several notable points of interest, including the Fort Hunter Historical District, Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, or the Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area (a few miles east of Fort Hunter). Another iconic landmark that can be seen from Fort Hunter Park is the Rockville Bridge–the longest stone masonry arch railroad viaduct in the world.
The Halifax Borough Access has a boat ramp and parking. The PFBC Fort Hunter access has a boat ramp, parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and is near restaurants.
River Mile 92: Halifax Borough Access (boat ramp)
River Mile 77: PFBC Fort Hunter Access (boat ramp)