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.
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.
A detailed description of the entire Lehigh River can be found in the "Lehigh River Paddling Guide," which can be purchased online at http://www.ggentile.com/nonfiction_books.html. Scroll down to the appropriate title.
5 years ago
by Arthur Balajthy
10 years ago
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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.
USGS Gauge for Lehighton is located about 1/2 way thru the run.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Glen Onoko Rapid
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
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Paddlers on the Lehigh River below the Francis E. Walter Dam and Reservoir are concerned that a planned study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will lead to a reduction in whitewater boating opportunities on the Lehigh. The study will evaluate the feasibility of various alternatives to optimize project operation. Aside from the project's authorized primary missions of flood risk management and recreation, the study will also consider water supply and water quality, to identify possible improvements to the existing structure, infrastructure, and operations that will support current and future demands within the region. The Army Corps is holding a public meeting on January 9, 2020 at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA from 6-8 p.m. to explain the study and hear public comments. American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, and other organizations are expected to file comments with the Army Corps prior to the September 29th deadline in order to share our concerns about the study and potential impacts on boating, the outdoor recreation economy, and the Delaware RIver Basin. We encourage our members to attend the public meeting to voice their concerns.
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).
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 releases
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.
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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