your paddlesports destination

Rancocas - North Branch in New Jersey

Trip Overview

For this trip, we put in at BCC and went up to Browns Mills dam and back (4 or 5 miles each way). The first mile up to the weir at New Lisbon was windy and pretty. The water drops about 12-18" at the weir so you have to paddle hard to get up it. The river then straightens out, almost as if it were long-ago dredged, the high banks drop back and the interstice is filled in by maple swamp. This part is pretty.

As the river narrows again, it gets uglier: more shacks by the river with decrepit docks and spilling garbage. It is not at all cut out here and makes for a difficult jungle paddle. You don't have to go see falls right in your boat (and in your hair) as you duck under logs and fight through branches. We had to climb out on 5 major logs each way, pull the boat over, and climb back in. You're tired by the end of the day.

A mile from the dam, you start seeing more and more foam (and flotsam). The dam holding Mirror Lake is one heckuva engineering project: we walked across 20 or 30 yards of rocks in wire cages (bank stabilizers) to get up on the bridge for a view. You're right in town but unfortunately we had neither the time nor the clean clothes to investigate possibilities for refreshment. We paddled rec boats 10-13'.


Good parking and porta-potty at put-in. You can put in off a dock or step in the water. Businesses are located along Rt 38.




From Rt 206, take Pemberton Rd. In Pemberton, take the By-Pass. Follow signs to Burlington Community College (BCC). Once on campus, follow signs to launch.


Gertler's "Garden State Canoeing" for descriptions and DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for maps.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip