Beaver Brook Outfitters. Photo by Melody Thomas Photography
Ready for summer fun? Here’s where to kayak, paddleboard, or plan a whitewater rafting adventure in the region.
By Megan Wilson and Paul Post
– 9 Destinations for Whitewater Rafting and Scenic River Adventures –
Ride adrenaline-pumping rapids or languidly float downstream in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and beyond.
Family-owned and operated, this Orange County business offers rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the Delaware River between Pennsylvania’s Poconos and New York’s Catskills. Do some fishing, or enjoy birdwatching (look out for bald eagles!), photography, and more. The 5-hour day trip heads about 10 miles along the river, with longer overnight options available.
Offering raft, tube, canoe, and single-or double-kayak rentals, trips at Reber take guests down the Delaware River anywhere from 5 to 12 miles for a 3-to-6-hour float. Have 10 or more people in your group? Rent one of their “party” rafts to take you and up to 19 others on a scenic river ride.
Riverfront locations in both New York and Pennsylvania make for a variety of water rides and two sites for camping along the Delaware River. Entering their 80th year of operation, join them for whitewater rafting, tubing, canoeing, or kayaking. Plus, check out the only dual zipline on the Delaware and refereed paintball games on seven mountaintop playing fields.
Family-owned and operated since 1955, Lander’s offers rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips along the Upper Delaware River. With eight launch-and-land locations and three riverfront campgrounds, visitors can choose their own adventure, whether fast-paced or easygoing.
Ride down the Deerfield River starting from the base area of Berkshire East Mountain Resort. Options include everything from thrilling whitewater trips (think: class II-IV rapids) to low-key guided family floats. After, head to the resort to enjoy mountain biking, zipline canopy touring, and a mountain coaster.
A three-to-four-hour tube ride will take you 5 to 6 miles on the Delaware; or opt for rafting, canoeing, or kayaking. A free BBQ meal at the River Hot Dog Man — a floating food stand — is included with every rental. For the 2021 season, tickets must be purchased in advance online.
Jim Thorpe, PA
In the Poconos? Choose from a variety of whitewater rafting trips — from “mild to wild” — for an adventure on the Lehigh River. Encounter pirates armed with water cannons, traverse the water with a guide under moonlight, or set aside an entire day to take part in other outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and paintball.
Warrensburg and Lake Luzerne
The most popular option at this family-run operation near Lake George is a 17-mile guided raft trip on the Hudson River Gorge, featuring class III–V rapids. Other options include a 3.5-mile trip down the Sacandaga River, or a 7-mile river adventure on the Hudson. They also provide kayaking, a rafting/lodging package, and overnight rafting trips.
For 25 years, this family-run business has been guiding adventure seekers through the six million acres of wilderness that is Adirondack Park. Whitewater rafting is their main go-to, but they also offer canoe and kayaking rentals and guided trips. Day trips, overnights, and multi-day trips are offered, and there are no hidden charges for gear, transportation, meals, and guides.
Exploring Northern Waters
What to expect on your whitewater rafting trip.
While many folks in the lower and mid-Hudson Valley (and NYC) usually head west to the Delaware River for rapids, some of the Northeast’s best whitewater rafting is found on a wild, remote stretch of the Upper Hudson River. Here the river races through the high, sheer cliff walls of breathtaking Hudson Gorge, nestled deep in the Adirondacks.
“You’re guaranteed an adrenaline rush,” says Bob Dean, a former licensed guide. “It’s going to take a lot of strenuous exercise. You work as a team, rowing on both sides of the raft.”
Summer is the perfect time for first-timers, when the water is a bit calmer and warmer after the spring high-water season subsides.
Trips last nearly all day and start in the North Creek area where companies are based and guests are outfitted with paddles, helmets and life vests, which are mandatory at all times.
“Guides are very experienced,” says Madeleine Desroahers of Beaver Brook Outfitters. “They do all the hard work of steering. You’re just there to have fun and provide a little power. You don’t have to have ever paddled a boat before or have water sports experience to have fun on a rafting trip.”
More than a half-dozen rafting companies operate on the Upper Hudson. Guides for most of them encourage passengers to hop overboard in calm sections of the river and float lazily downstream in the cool, refreshing water. Trips typically include lunch breaks, followed by a swim or taking a plunge off aptly named Elephant Rock.
For those seeking shorter, more family-oriented adventures, the Sacandaga River provides excellent opportunities for beginners with slow-flowing class I and II rapids.
For an even more relaxing, slow-paced outing, a couple of companies offer tubing trips on the Sacandaga.
For information on companies and their services, visit www.visitlakegeorge.com/water/whitewater-rafting.