Lehigh, Pennsylvania, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||12 fpm|
|Max Gradient||20 fpm|
|Lehigh River at Lehighton, PA|
|usgs-01449000||450 - 5000 cfs||I-II||00h20m||2600 cfs (running)|
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.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.0||Heading for Home||I|
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.
Some waves at the railroad Bridge
So named because of an old water wheel in the river bed. Near the new highway bridge with some waves.
Some waves at the Jim Thorpe access point.
Start in the middle and run to the right, avoiding the rocks along river right at the bottom
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
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.