Lehigh River

Section of river: Lehigh River (Upper Gorge, Lower Gorge)
Difficulty: Class 1-3
Length: 9-12 miles/14-19 KM
Season: Spring, Fall and Summer Dam Release weekends
Best rapids: Triple Drop, Mile-Long, Second Chance, Percolator, Hurry Left, White Falls

300px-Lehigh_RiverCarved by glaciers some 25 million years ago, the Lehigh River Gorge is home to the most spectacular whitewater in the mid-Atlantic region.

Nestled in the western Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, the Lehigh is a frisky, family-friendly river, sporting miles of Class III action.

Pristine wilderness scenery makes it hard to believe this whitewater gem is just a stone’s throw from Philadelphia, NYC, and the heavily populated mid-Atlantic corridor.

lehigh-riverThe Upper Gorge of the Lehigh, from White Haven to Rockport, features rapids such as Initiation, Triple Drop, No-Way, Second Chance and Scott’s Hole. The Lower Gorge, from Rockport to Jim Thorpe, includes alternating sections of white and calm water, with some of the most impressive views of the deepening gorge.

Section III of the Lehigh, from Jim Thorpe to Bowmanstown, is more mellow, with mainly Class I and II rapids, suitable for children as young as 5.  Day trips are most popular on the Lehigh, but two-day trips, and a 25-mile Marathon trip are also available.

Curling-Lehigh-River_thumbThe Lehigh has always been a favorite destination for visitors from NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, CT, and neighboring states, but with the introduction of 11 new water release weekends, it’s now more popular than ever.

Beginning in 2006, the US Army Corps of Engineers began to collect spring runoff behind its Francis Walter Dam, assuring a series of weekend releases (May through September) that have made the Lehigh a Whitewater Mecca.  The Lehigh River flows through Lehigh Gorge State Park, where it is flanked by a popular rails- to-trails bike route … a perfect second day activity for whitewater rafters.