This was the first multi-day river trip for me and my buddy. We launched on Friday morning from the back of Peck's Market in Callicoon, N.Y., as the official DEC launch was being repaired. It had just rained the night prior and the river was between 4-6 ft. (moderately high), which made the rapids fun and the general current a bit stronger than in the summer.
We paddled nearly 40 miles in three days, with the first stop at Landers' Campground in Narrowsburg, N.Y. From there, on Saturday, we paddled to Ascalona Campground near Barryville, N.Y. Then we paddled the rest of the journey to the take-out at Mongaup Valley (a DEC launch), where the Mongaup River flows into the Delaware. This is a rocky take-out and required us to haul our gear first and then our boats up a rocky trail 150 yards to the parking lot.
We camped at Kittatinny Campground in Barryville on Sunday night, where we got to take hot showers, de-scuzz from the trip and relax around a roaring campfire.
It was a bit scary running those rapids at that flow rate at first, but after the first set, you build on the experience and you're looking forward to the next set of rapids. I'd recommend paddlers get some experience on flatwater first, practice re-entry skills and, if they feel, take a swiftwater rescue course to be better prepared if things go wrong. Also, dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature and always wear your life jacket.
We saw over two-dozen bald eagles during our trip! The shad were running too at that time, but we did catch any, as we forgot shad darts. If you plan on going in the spring, plan for shad.
When we went, the campgrounds had just opened, so many of them had bugs to work out.
We arrived on Thursday night at Soaring Eagle Campground in Stalker, PA - Isolated campsites, with the need to cross a stream in order to reach the restrooms. In-season there is a bridge.
Landers - established campground with other campgrounds along the river, but steep embankment to get to most sites. Flush toilets were a bit of a walk, as the other toilets were not opened yet.
Ascalona - new owners warmly greeted us as we arrived. Toilets required water to flush and showers were not hot. Nice riverside sites.
Kittatinny - Well-established campground, with full amenities. Our site was near a stream that provided some white noise. Company runs other sites, with paintball, boat rentals and other activities.
Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game, Ocean Kayak Trident 13.
Camping fees vary by campground and season, but average was $30/night.
Follow NY Rt. 97, which parallels the Delaware River.
Down the Delaware: A River User's Guide - www.e-parks.com
I would also recommend checking the USGS flow meters to time your trip. A river level guide:
- Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)