The Susquehanna River makes a “Great Bend” in Susquehanna County on its way from New York to the Chesapeake Bay. This bend, while brief, is full of stunning landscapes with a hint of history. Begin your paddle at the PFBC Oakland access on the west side of the River. Here you will find gravel parking with a paved ramp access. To utilize this access, please note that all boats must be registered in PA including non-motorized boats that would not otherwise need registration. Enjoy the calm waters of the river as you paddle for a few miles until it’s time to navigate around the Susquehanna Depot Dam. To do so, paddle to River Left side of dam (avoid center breach for fear of entanglement hazards & re-circulating currents). Look for blue Portage sign. Carry gear & boat around wing wall on portage trail, 50 yards and re-enter River Mile 350.5 (Front Street Private Access). To avoid the portage altogether you may alternatively begin your paddle at the Front Street Private Access, which shortens the voyage to 8 miles.
A few points of interest along and nearby this route include:
*RM 355.4 – Pennsylvania Scenic Byway
RM 355.4 – D&H Rail Trail, 38-mile trail on former Delaware and Hudson rail-bed that runs from NY State line south along river to Lanesboro, south to Forest City, and along Lackawanna River to Simpson.
RM 352.5 – Starrucca Viaduct, built in 1848 with local bluestone; it is the oldest bluestone railroad bridge still in use in the state.
RM 350.9 – Starrucca House, large brick train station.
RM 348.9 – Mormon Monument at the location where priesthood was conferred on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints founder Joseph Smith.
RM 344.7 – Red Rock, Rock wall where Native American paintings once depicted General Clinton’s advance in 1779 to meet General Sullivan’s army at Tioga Point.
Camping: Overnight stop at RM 354.6; Cascade ‘Y’ primitive campsite.
*RM = River Mile
River Mile 354.4; PFBC Oakland Access
Amenities: Boat ramp & parking
River Mile 342.5; PFBC Hallstead Access
Amenities: Boat ramp & parking; near lodging, food, and facilities.
Portage around dam at RM 350.5. Past concrete bridge, bear left to take channel between islands. Paddle to River Left side of dam (avoid center breach for fear of entanglement hazards & re-circulating currents). Look for blue Portage sign. Carry gear & boat around wing wall on portage trail, 50 yards. Alternatively, to avoid dam, begin at Front Street Private Access 350.5 to Hallstead 342.5 (will shorten paddle to 8 miles, 2-3 hours). Note: Front Street private access has no signage. Dam slated to be removed; check back for updates.
For Water Trail map, refer to Susquehanna River Water Trail, North Branch: Section 1