I've done this trip twice with my son in our Loon 100 kayak. We start at the Stilling Basin of the Tulpehocken and paddle about 5-6 miles down to the take-out area at the Berks County Leisure area or VA Center about 1/2 mile before the "Tully" enters the Schuylkill River (these areas are at the other end of Tulpehocken Road).
There is one small dam to carry about 4/5 of the way through the trip at a beautiful spot called "Grings Mill". The river is fed by dam releases and it is important to check the flows on the USGS web site before you go. (Water depth at the Blue Marsh gauge should be at least 2.6 feet) The river is very quiet and peaceful, with occasional mild rapids but nothing serious. It is beautiful throughout and a wonderful way to spend 3 hours. There are many places to stop along the way for a picnic; the best being near the red covered bridge at the Berks Heritage Center or at Gring's mill.
We saw four great blue herons, an osprey, many trout and carp in the water, and many geese and ducks with their young. Our highlight was coming upon a deer in the middle of the stream drinking, until he figured out what we were and left in a hurry. The Tully is a great, safe trip for beginners and kids and could handle either a canoe or kayak, as long as the water depth is enough.
Good parking at put-in and take-out areas. Porta-potties at the beginning.
From Reading, take Route 222 North to Paper Mill Road exit. At top of exit ramp, make left, go over highway, then turn right onto Paper Mill Road. At end of Paper Mill Road, turn left onto Tulpehocken Road. Follow Tulpehocken to end then turn Right onto Reber's Bridge Road. Follow this road across the river then take first left onto Palisades Road. Follow Palisades about 3/4 mile to a left turn marked "Stilling Basin". This puts you at the Tulpehocken just below Blue Marsh dam.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)