Can You Kayak At The Delaware Water Gap?

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The Delaware Water Gap has been a popular tourist destination for over a century. The park is well known for hiking, fishing, and camping. With so many different recreational activities available, you may have wondered whether you are allowed to kayak at the Delaware Gap.

The Delaware Gap is popular amongst both kayaking enthusiasts and novices alike. As one of the largest flat rivers in the country and a national recreation area, the Delaware Gap is the perfect destination for any paddler.

Since the Delaware Gap is so famous, you will need to book any kayaking tours well in advance. On weekends, it is standard for parking areas to be completely full by 9am. So, if you do not want to miss your chance of paddling through nature, it is good to plan your visit well in advance.

Can You Kayak At The Delaware Gap?

The Delaware Gap is an excellent historical destination where many tourists go every week to marvel at the wonders of nature. Being one of the largest flat rivers that is also a declared national recreation area, it’s no wonder kayaking at the gap is so popular.

It is less than two hours away from both Philadelphia and New York City, making it a perfect destination for some outdoor fun in nature for countless kayakers. One of the main interest points that makes the Delaware Gap so interesting is that the Appalachian Trail runs through the preserve.

What makes the Delaware Gap so enticing to paddlers is that it is one of the largest free-flowing rivers in the entire country. You can enjoy almost 40 miles of calm, sparkling waters while you paddle past forests, mountains, and rural landscapes.

This segment of the river is so popular amongst kayakers as it is labeled as a National Scenic and Recreational River, making it the perfect river for beginners who have never paddled before. There are numerous outfitters along the river who can provide rentals, safety equipment, and training sessions before you embark on your kayaking journey.

Kayaking the Delaware Gap is undoubtedly an activity that needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. Even if you initially visited the Gap for hiking, fishing, or camping, you do not want to miss out on the unique opportunity to see the reserve in all its glory from the scenic view of your kayak.

Different Kayaking Outfitters Available At The Delaware Gap

With the Delaware Gap being such a popular destination for kayakers, you’ll need to book a trip in advance if you want the best deals and times available.

Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports is one of the most popular outfitters that you can find on the Delaware Gap, and with good reason. They offer multiple trips and tours, ranging from one to three days!

If you’re looking for adventurous fun in nature, Adventure Sports is the answer. Whether you’re paddling alone, with your friends, or even your children, the exciting river trips that Adventure Sports offers will not disappoint.

The best thing about Adventure Sports is that they offer trips throughout summer, spring, and autumn. So, they are ready for you whenever you are free to go. They guarantee that the scenery will be unique and breathtaking whatever the season. Below are some of their most popular trips at the Delaware Gap:

Smithfield Beach to Delaware Water Gap

The Smithfield Beach trip is an ideal tour for beginners, as it is one of the shorter tours offered. However, this doesn’t mean that it is any less scenic.

  • Distance: 6 Miles
  • Launch: From Smithfield Beach Canoe Launch
  • Paddle Time: 2 Hours

This fun and scenic paddle will take you from Smithfield Beach to the famous Delaware Water Gap. One of the more enticing points of this tour is that you will be able to kayak past many popular islands such as Depue and Shawnee. There are also several opportunities to spot local wildlife such as bald eagles, bears, and deer. You can book your trip here.

Bushkill To Delaware Gap

The Bushkill to Delaware Water Gap kayaking tour is quite a lengthy trip, so it is best to avoid this tour if you are inexperienced with paddling.

  • Distance: 16 Miles
  • Launch: Bushkill Boat Launch
  • Paddle Time: 6 Hours

Even though this trip can be pretty strenuous, it is still well worth the effort. Along the trip, you will be able to see historical sites such as the old Shawnee Inn and the remains of the Karamac Resort. You can book this tour here.

Edge Of The Woods Outfitters

Edge Of The Woods is another famous outfitter that offers various tours starting or ending at the Delaware Water Gap. This outfitter has everything you need, from easy family trips to exciting all-day adventures. Children between the ages of 3 and 13 can paddle for half price. You can view some of their most popular trips below:

Kittatinny Point To Portland

With the Kittatinny Point self-guided tour, you will be able to take as long as you need to complete the trip.

  • Distance: 4 Miles
  • Launch: From Delaware Water Gap River Base
  • Paddle Time: Approximately two hours

This trip is ideal for families with children or beginners who are new to kayaking. There are even some small sections of rapids to increase the excitement. You can view this tour here.

Smithfield Beach To Kittatinny Point

Smithfield Beach To Kittatinny Point is one of Edge of the Woods’ most popular trips. This self-guided tour will have you paddle through the most historic section of the Delaware River.

  • Distance: 6 Miles
  • Launch: Delaware Water Gap River Base
  • Paddle Time: Three hours

By the end of this tour, you will marvel at the stunningly scenic view that encompasses the Delaware Gap as you find yourself amongst the Kittatinny Mountain Range. While kayaking, you can stop and swim, picnic, fish, or relax on one of the many riverbanks or islands. You can book this tour here.

Things You Need To Know Before Visiting The Delaware Gap

As the Delaware Water Gap is a National Recreation Area, there are a few things you will need to be aware of before you visit.

  • Always wear a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) when on or near the water
  • Try and visit throughout the week, as the weekends are the busiest times
  • Plan your trips for the early mornings, as the afternoon crowds can hinder the serenity of the park
  • The most popular sections become full quite quickly, so book ahead or plan several destinations that you would like to visit to avoid disappointment
  • Always stay with your group, as cell service in the park is limited
  • Follow all rules and regulations and ensure that you do not leave litter on the floor. All waste and trash need to be taken with you when you go (Practice the Leave No Trace method)

Remember, the park is a protected historic area, so always respect the environment and wildlife.


The Delaware Gap is a fantastic destination for recreational water activities, with one of the most popular being kayaking. Countless tourists visit the reserve to go paddling every week, as it boasts some fantastic historical destinations and the opportunity to marvel at some of the local wildlife.