Exciting Schuylkill River Kayaking: Leesport to Elper's Landing

Based on my previous posts about kayaking on the Schuylkill River, you might think that all Schuylkill River kayaking is exciting.  Well, that depends.  If you’ve never really kayaked much before, or never on moving water, then the Schuylkill is indeed exciting.  And even on sections that aren’t quite exciting, it’s still just really nice to get out onto the river on a warm and sunny day.

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But some sections are more fun than others, as we found out last weekend when we kayaked from Leesport to Elper’s Landing.  Most of the sections I’d previously kayaked were entirely flat and calm and wide-open, with the exception of the really cool (but alas really short) side-channel in Birdsboro.  But this Leesport section has tons of riffles (basically mini-rapids) and even one or two genuine rapids -- almost certainly just class I, but still, enough to send a wave crashing into my chest as I crossed them, which is so fun.

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This section also has many trees along its banks whose branches hang down over the water, so you can paddle over and float under the trees and feel like you’re in the jungle.  In some spots there are also houses with neat decks right along the water, which I always enjoy checking out as we float by; other spots had big rock walls along the sides.  And this stretch of river is also pretty windy, which makes it more interesting than the long straight stretches.

The put-in location is behind the post office in Leesport.  We parked in the grass behind the post office, where some other cars were already parked.  The take-out is called Elper’s Landing, which is a bit beyond Reading Boat Works; it’s not hard to find, but there aren’t any signs for it, and there are several Keep Out signs along the way for private driveways branching off the road, so just keep on the non-signed road until you get to the landing.

Here’s the GPS map of our route:

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Trip stats: date: 20120519-1704; duration: 110 min; distance: 6.86 mi; river discharge: 1280 cfs; water temperature: 67F; weather: sunny and 80F; map: Schuylkill River Water Trail.

Previous kayak trip: Kayaking the Lehigh River from Jim Thorpe to Lehighton.

Next kayak trip: coming soon!

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Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


01. Jul 5, 2012 at 06:59pm by Anthony:

I went back and did this run again a few weeks later, this time with Uncle Dan.  It hadn’t rained much recently, which was nice because the water was crystal clear: you could easily see the bottom pretty much the whole time, even in 6-8’ depths, and there were big rock formations under there, sort of like on the Hiwassee River, though not quite as majestic.

But the lack of rain also meant that the water level was lower, and we were scraping bottom in quite a few spots.  Nowhere that we had to get out and walk, but I probably wouldn’t want to run this section at a level lower than this.  The lower level also made the two biggest rapids (just before and after the Cross Keys Rd bridge) much less exciting.  But those and the other mini-rapids throughout the trip were still big enough to send a wave up over you and we definitely got wet (and as usual I couldn’t resist hopping out and swimming in one of the deep pools).

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Trip stats: date: 20120623-1523; duration: 166 min; distance: 6.95 mi; river discharge and gage height: 423 cfs and 5.28 ft at the Berne gage; water temperature: 81F at the Linfield gage (~75F at our location?); weather: sunny and 85F; map: Schuylkill River Water Trail.

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