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For 228 miles along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, you can soon explore Pennsylvania's wild lands, scenic beauty and history by water. Whether you take a day trip or a multi-day paddling adventure, the West Branch Susquehanna River Water Trail will give you access to a vast region of the Chesapeake watershed.
The West Branch forms the lifeblood linking what is now known as the Lumber Heritage region. Here, Pennsylvania's virgin timber was harvested throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries to supply lumber for shipbuilding, construction and coal mine props. Much of this lumber was rafted down the West Branch to markets on or near the Chesapeake Bay. Today, the West Branch flows through a northern hardwood forest of oak, cherry, maple and remnants of the great white pine and hemlock forests of early settlers' times. Boaters on the West Branch Water Trail can now learn about the region's heritage and its connections to the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay beyond through a new water trail map and guide.
Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Obtain a water trail map and guide in advance, plan your trip, and follow all safety precautions.
Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate such trails. The Chesapeake Conservancy, National Park Service, and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials.
Launch sites along the river are open all day, spring through fall. Do not go on the river during flooding or high water.
The best way to experience the West Branch Susquehanna Water Trail will be by boat, canoe or kayak. When on the river, you can fish, look for wildlife, visit riverside communities, or just enjoy the experience of floating downstream. There are numerous historic "rafting" sites along the river, from which lumbermen launch rafts of logs down river for transport to mills and the Chesapeake Bay.
Be sure to consult a water trail guide (when completed), detailed maps and local conditions prior to any river trip! Follow all safety precautions.
There are 26 existing public launch sites along the water trail route. Launch sites provide parking and access to the river. Informational and interpretive signs have been installed at a number of sites. The water trail map and guide provides more details on launch site facilities.