The Susquehanna River meanders 444 miles from its origin at Otsego Lake near Cooperstown, NY until it empties into the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Md. The Susquehanna River Trail covers the middle stretch of the river - 55 miles from Sunbury downstream to Harrisburg.
Along this route, boaters, canoeists and kayakers can explore the great river and its diverse scenery and habitats. River otters, beavers and other mammals are sometimes seen from the river. In May, many birds dot the landscape as spring migration is at its peak throughout the trail. Birds of prey - such as hawks, eagles, osprey, vultures, and owls - show up along the ridges and throughout the river valley much of the year.
Canoeing, kayaking, boating, camping and other river-related outdoor activities have inherent risks. The river environment (moving water, cold water, deep water, tricky currents, rocks, poison ivy, ticks, etc.), weather extremes (cold, heat, electrical storms, wind, etc.), and man –made structures (esp. dams) pose potential hazards. The river trail user should familiarize themselves with these hazards and have or obtain adequate skills to safely experience the river environment. Your safety is your responsibility!
Access points to the Susquehanna River Trail are open from sunrise to sunset.
There are no fees to access the Susquehanna River Trail.
The lower 26 mile segment of the trail is accessible at three formal trailheads and at other municipal or private access points. Harrisburg's City Island is the terminus for the trail. (Caution: All boaters must exit at City Island to avoid a dangerous low-head dam.) The normal summer flow of the Susquehanna River along the length of the trail accommodates small, shallow draft, powered, and nonpowered craft. Avoid the trail when the river level in Harrisburg is predicted to be over six feet. The river presents many obstacles, including rocks, rock ledges, trees, sandbars, and dams.
Anglers can fish for muskies, walleye, smallmouth bass, panfish, catfish, and carp. This stretch of river is renowned for its fantastic smallmouth bass fishing. (Note: PFBC Big Bass regulations are in effect for this stretch of water.) Fishing is best around sunrise and sunset.
The lower 26 mile segment of the Susquehanna River Trail boasts these sights along the way:
Boating regs mandate that you bring a flotation device for each person, an anchor light, some sort of daytime running lights, and a whistle or other sound-producing device. All boats, including canoes and kayaks, using the formal trailheads must have valid registration.
You can camp along the river trail, but you must dispose of human waste and leave rocks, plants, and trees as you found them.
Class I to II (Read more about the different levels of River Classifications)
A map and guide for the lower 26 miles of the Susquehanna River Trail is currently available from the Susquehanna River Trail Association. They also provide information about river amenities, river navigation landmarks and camping / day use island location.
The Susquehanna River Trail features three formal trailheads with portable bathroom facilities. City Island at the end of the trail also offers portable facilities as well as flush toilets.
Susquehanna River Trail’s access points are handicapped accessible, and the portable bathroom facilities include handicapped-accessible toilets.