The Susquehanna River, considered one of the most beautiful rivers in America, attracts thousands of visitors each year as it flows through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Whether it’s boating, fishing, and swimming in the river or hiking, biking, and camping on the beautiful trails that run alongside, the Susquehanna River is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
At 464 miles long, the Susquehanna is the longest river on the East Coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the longest river in the United States without commercial boat traffic. It forms from two main branches, the “North Branch,” which rises in upstate New York, and the shorter “West Branch,” which rises in western Pennsylvania. These two branches join the main stem near Northumberland in central Pennsylvania. The river eventually empties into the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay, providing half of the bay’s freshwater inflow.
The river’s passage through Montour and Columbia counties in Pennsylvania presents some great opportunities to enjoy all the Susquehanna has to offer.
The tranquil Susquehanna River is known for its wonderful fishing. Both avid fishermen and occasional hobbyists enjoy tackling the river to catch bass, muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, panfish, catfish, carp, and other species.
Active fun on the river
Boating, kayaking, and canoeing are also popular ways to enjoy the Susquehanna. Paddlers see eagles, ospreys, otters, beavers, muskrats, mink, deer, and turkeys while on the water. A day on the river also presents a unique view of central Pennsylvania’s history, including remnants of the North Branch Pennsylvania Canal system, historic eel weirs, segments of active and abandoned rail lines, and evidence of Pennsylvania’s coal and lumbering heritage.
Two outfitters serve river enthusiasts along its passage through Columbia and Montour counties.
Canoe Susquehanna LLC offers private and group guided trips in a variety of kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and even 26-feet-long canoes. Kayak or canoe rentals are included with all trips. The outfitter also offers the “North Branch Canal Cruise,” which coordinates paddling with informative talks by local historians and experts in the traditional and modern uses of the river in this area. (paddlehappy.com)
Susquehanna Outdoor Adventures also rents kayaks for visitors to paddle the river themselves or to book a group guided tour.
Visitors enjoy access to a 40-acre privately owned island for camping, fishing, and seasonal stays. (kayaktheriverpa.com)
There are nine points of access to the Susquehanna River in Columbia and Montour counties for boaters. Paved or surfaced ramps are available in Berwick Test Track Park (river mile 158), Indian Head Campground (river mile 146), and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission ramps in Bloomsburg (river mile 149) and Danville (river mile 138).
Primitive ramps are available in Mifflinville (river mile 156), Columbia Park (river mile 154), Espy Park (river mile 150), Bloomsburg Town Park (river mile 148), and Danville Borough Montgomery Park (river mile 137).
The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau offers its free 24-page Outdoor Recreation Guide that provides detailed information on available recreational activities in the area.
The guide can be downloaded at itourcolumbiamontour.com.