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Difficulty I-II
Length 10.4 Miles
Gauge Lehigh River at Lehighton, PA
Flow Range 450 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 37 minutes ago 5220 [CFS]
Next Release
Reach Info Last Updated 08/31/2016 11:14 pm

River Description

A easy family float trip at low to moderate levels (up to 2 or 3000 cfs). A good place to train beginning kayakers. Wide river with some surfing waves, eddy lines and easy drops. Can get pushy with rescue difficult at higher levels when the river overflows into the trees, and the waves at the last rapid (Carnage) can get big and irregular.

River access at Glen Onoko, or at the town of Jim Thorpe (pay the fee at the township parking lot - there is a set of stairs to the river at the north end of the lot), Dunbar's Bottling in Lehighton (go past the buildings to the river - be careful of leaving your car there), Weissport (park at the playground and put on under the 209 bridge), Parryville (park at the turnpike building - a difficult carry down to the river), and Bowmanstown (take-out on river right at the 895 bridge - park at the access road to the turnaround at the river). There is a new public access 3/4 mile down from the Bowmanstown bridge at Riverside Park on river right.  Off street parking for 200 cars, and a 10 mile trail down to Slatington, with the Osprey nature center half-way down the trail.

The main rapids are at the start and end of the trip - Deaton's Demise below Glen Onoko, Bear Trap in Jim Thorpe (start in the middle and run to the right, avoiding the rocks along river right at the bottom), and Carnage in Bowmanstown (start left and follow the main flow to the right avoiding the large rocks in the middle of the channel about 1/3 of the way down), or sneak to the right of a small island after you pass the old dam location.

The remainder of the river is pretty much riffles with flatwater and some small wave trains. A nice surfing wave is under the left arch of the railroad bridge just above Lehighton at Dunbars. Just beyond the PA Turnpike bridge is a rather trashy surfing hole on river left, and just below thatwas is a small regular surfing wave (the Perfect Wave) that appears to have been washed out permanently.

The 2006 flood washed out most of the remains of an old log dam just above Carnage. It also washed a channel to the right of an island just above where the dam was. The entrance chute to the right of that island is rather forceful and pushes you against the river right bank where there are some tree root snags and strainers. This is where a rafter was pinned underwater before being rescued in 2006.

A bike path starts at Weissport's canal park and goes north to Jim Thorpe's sewage treatment plant river left of Bear Trap rapids.  And Riverside park below Bowmanstown has a large trail network.

Rapid Descriptions

Deaton's Demise

Class - II Mile - 0.5
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Run down the middle, avoiding rocks.  At the bottom there are two rocks in the middle right.  Run to the left, or run the slot between the two rocks.  A good pop-up spot between the two rocks.

Heading for Home

Class - I Mile - 1
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Some waves at the railroad Bridge


Class - II Mile - 1.5
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So named because of an old water wheel in the river bed.  Near the new highway bridge with some waves.

Last Chance

Class - II Mile - 1.8
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Some waves at the Jim Thorpe access point.

Bear Trap

Class - II Mile - 2
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Start in the middle and run to the right, avoiding the rocks along river right at the bottom

Weisport Access

Class - N/A Mile - 5
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Park at the tennis courts on the east side of the river, next to the 209 bridge.  Carry down to the river underneath the 209 bridge


Class - II Mile - 8.5
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Start left and follow the main flow to the right avoiding the large rocks in the middle of the channel about 1/3 of the way down.


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Gary Gentile
4 years ago

A detailed description of the entire Lehigh River can be found in the "Lehigh River Paddling Guide," which can be purchased online at Scroll down to the appropriate title.

Release Schedule

More Information

We have had releases on this reach but don't show any currently. This information is gathered by the public. If you know about releases then contact us about them. If you would volunteer to enter the releases, then reach out to us.

Gage Descriptions

USGS Gauge for Lehighton is located about 1/2 way thru the run. 

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2018-08-13 High Near Miss/Rescue High Water Read More
2018-08-05 High Fatality High Water Read More
2006-08-19 Low Near Miss/Rescue Other Read More




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2016 Lehigh River Release Schedule Announced (PA)

Kevin Colburn

The U.S. Army Corps Engineers’ Philadelphia District released the 2016 Flow Management Plan for the Francis E. Walter Dam in White Haven, PA.  The whitewater release schedule includes 24 dates (4 of which are dependent on sufficient water storage and not including final October weekend).

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Successful Season on the Lehigh

Kevin Colburn

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District  announced it will begin drawing down the pool of the Francis E. Walter Dam to its winter level starting Oct. 17. The draw down follows the completion of the recreation season, which included
all 24 planned whitewater release events and numerous fisheries enhancement

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February Lehigh Meeting Rescheduled

Kevin Colburn

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners rescheduled a meeting originally planned for 2/1/11, to 2/16/11.  The Army Corps will announce the Francis E. Walter Dam Flow Management Plan and discuss its implementation for the 2011 recreation season.

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Lehigh Management Plan to be Released at Meeting

Kevin Colburn

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners will host a public meeting to announce the Francis E. Walter Dam Flow Management Plan and discuss its implementation for the 2010 recreation season. The meeting will be held Feb. 18 at the Mountain Laurel Resort, Route 940 West, White Haven, Pa., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

Kevin Colburn

There will be a one day conference on January 31st in eastern Pennsylvania that will address dam removal and rehabilitation in the state and region. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd.
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AW Scores on Pennsylvania

Jason Robertson

852thumb.jpgEarlier this week, days before AW's 4th Annual Ohiopyle Falls Race we learned that Pennsylvania accepted all of American Whitewater’s recommended changes to the state’s regulations. These changes will improve river access, visitor experiences and safety, and river management throughout the State, including the Lower Yough, Lehigh, and Slippery Rock.

Arthur Balajthy


Paul Martzen


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193365 09/27/06 Arthur Balajthy n/a
1206783 08/31/16 Arthur Balajthy Changed put in to Glen Onoko
1206798 08/31/16 Arthur Balajthy Added rapids between Glen Onoko and Jim Thorpe
1198552 11/02/10 Paul Martzen fixed takeout coordinates, added coorinates for 3 rapids
1206799 08/31/16 Arthur Balajthy Changes to rapid descriptions