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Lake Nockamixon Whitewater Release

Whitewater rafting right here in the Delaware Valley


As leaves turn to hues of crimson and gold, Bucks County prepares for whitewater rafting season.

Twice a year (March and November), Lake Nockamixon, a 1400-acre lake in Upper Bucks County, releases its dam into Tohickon Creek to the delight of whitewater enthusiasts across the Mid Atlantic.

And for good reason: the four-hour ride takes you through some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in all of Southeast Pennsylvania.

But it’s not just the scenery — the whitewater packs a serious punch. The release, which is scheduled each year for third weekend in March and the first weekend in November, features Class 3 and 4 rapids and draws paddlers from all over the East Coast. It is definitely not for amateurs.

Most launch their craft at Ralph Stover State Park, near Pipersville, Bucks County, and travel some four miles along the Tohickon Creek to its junction with the Delaware River at Point Pleasant.

Come Prepared

You’ll need a launch permit, which you can get at state park offices. This is technical whitewater, with Class III and IV rapids requiring boating skills. Boaters should be aware of and abide by the safety code of the American Whitewater Affiliation, and wear appropriate personal flotation devices. Because of cold water, boaters must also take appropriate precautions to prevent hypothermia.

Outsider’s Tip

This is a favorite among paddlers all over the Northeastern United States, so don’t be surprised to find the water somewhat crowded.

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