Rafting season is underway on Pennsylvania’s Lehigh River in the Poconos Mountains.
Major thrills and whitewater are a short getaway away.
We were completely surprised by the quality of the rafting on the Lehigh River, which cuts through Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Whitewater Challengers, one of the biggest raft operators in the area (they send out some 350 rafts a day), offers a superb program – 16 trips with up to 20 rafts a day, satisfying for those who want a tame, swim-splash-fun trip delightful for families, to those who want to a true challenge.
The most exciting trips are on Dam Release weekends, when the river provides Class III rapids.
The rafting here, on a Dam Release weekend was plenty fun.
Their method is to have the guides accompany in kayaks, so somebody on the raft is designated to steer. That got to be me, and was the most fun about the trip on the Class I river (the easiest).
I was green with envy, though, as I watched the kayakers coming down, some on sit-on-top Ocean Kayaks like my own. Next time, I will try that, and this portion of the river would be a great place to learn whitewater kayaking, where you have to learn how to do a quick in-water release.
Whitewater Challengers has the most amazing set-up, tucked into the woods about 30 minutes from where you begin your rafting.
So when you arrive and register, you get a bus “transfer” that is color-coded for your trip; you pick up your life-jacket. If you forgot anything (sunscreen, hat) there is a well-equipped store. You can rent a wetsuit (we didn’t need it the day we rafted). It is all so extremely well organized.
While you wait, you can have breakfast there (pre-paid or pay-as-you-go) underneath a pavilion.
You get to look around – there is a camping area (there were a load of boy scouts when we visited); a zip-line course in the trees.
Whitewater Challengers also offers mountain biking trips – and you can combine various adventures together.
We took advantage of coming the day before the rafting trip to sample the 25-mile rail-to-trail gravel path through the Lehigh River Gorge State Park which follows the river (we saw rafters going down from a different company that operates right from White Haven).
Whitewater Challengers operates some 16 rafting trips with up to 20 rafts per trip.
In addition to the rafting trips on the Lehigh River, Whitewater Challengers also operates rafting trips on New York’s Hudson River Gorge, from North River in the Adirondacks (which can be a Class IV trip, depending upon season), the Black River Canyon out of Watertown, Salmon River out of Pulaski, and Middle Moose River, out of Old Forge.
Contact Whitewater Challengers, 800-443-8554, www.whitewaterchallengers.com.
- Karen Rubin, Editor & Publisher
Travel Features Syndicate