Trip Report: Delaware River - Hancock, NY to Frenchtown, NJ
Put in just south of Hancock, NY early afternoon on overcast, rainy day. Paddled a bit over 4 hours on mainly flat but beautiful section of the upper Delaware. It was Labor Day, but the river was completely private probably due to the weather. It was easy paddle of ~15 miles with lots of wildlife including a Bald Eagle. The plan was to stay at Soaring Eagle Campground just upriver from Kellman's bridge. I arrived before 6 pm. Very nice campground. I had my choice of campsites as everyone had already left except 1 family. Go past the creek feeding into the Delaware and their is a little cove where you can pull your boat up.
It rained hard all night so I had to break camp in the rain with a wet tent. I was underway by 8:30 am. The river was up about a foot over night and muddy looking. Gage at Barryville, NY was 5ft. The current was fine. I avoided the largest waves in the rapids as I was traveling alone. Scouted the rapids at Skinners Falls and went through without issue on the right. I had planned to stay at Sylvania Tree Farm, but didn't arrange ahead of time. There is no office down by the campsites on the river so I went on as there is no mobile coverage to call the office. I went through series and stayed Ascalona Campground. It was pretty private as well. I basically had private river again. The campground was nice with very friendly couple running it. Bathrooms were portajohn, but very clean.
Day 3 - "Day of rapids"
Past through many rapids (Cedar, Shohola, Stairway, Mongaup) without any issues. Again, I didn't see anyone on the river. I passed through Hawk's Nest, Port Jervis, I-84 bridge, and then Milford. Mobile coverage returned just up river from Matamoras, PA. I ended up staying at Sandystone, NJ at the free primitive campsites. The water was up so I pulled the boat up to the campsite. It was difficult +20ft, steep slope. The campsite was great and even had a outhouse. Only issue is you can hear road noise from across the river. I hung my food at this location.
I rinsed off in the river in the morning. The water was warmer than the air. I broke camp and paddled down to Dingman's Ferry. Probably only a mile or 2 and did a trash drop. With the water up, there were no rapids all the way through the Water Gap. I came up on a Black Bear playing in the water. The river is very wide at the lower part of the park by Worthington State Forest Campground. It was a bit of a chore paddling until I came to the actual Gap. After passing under I-80, there is a very scenic section of the river before you start to feel like you are entering more built up area. The water picked up with several small rapids sections. I passed through Columbia, NJ before stopping at Driftstone on the Delaware Campground (Mt. Bethel, PA). This is a great campground with super clean bathrooms and nice camp sites.
Final day of the paddle which ended in Frenchtown, NJ. I was a bit apprehensive about going through Foul Rift just south of Belvidere, NJ. I was told that the water levels were favorable to the trip. With the water up, I didn't even notice the rift that cross the river. It was just a bit of choppy water. I passed through Phillipsburg and ended at Frenchtown about 6:50 pm.
Overall trip was ~160 miles over 4.5 days. The Delaware is excellent river as there were no dams to portage around. There were lots of large waves, but it was very manageable.
For my more complete trip report on the Delaware River (includes more photos) check out my blog:
- Trip Duration: Extended Trip
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)