Winding through highlands scenery from Hancock, NY, to just north of Matamoras, PA, the Upper Delaware is a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Although the river is a unit of the National Park System, almost all land along the river is privately owned.
Public river accesses are located for your convenience on both Pennsylvania and New York shorelines. These accesses range from 3 to 20 miles apart along the river and are jointly managed by the National Park Service and the agencies which own the land.
The Upper Delaware is the longest free-flowing river in the Northeast. It includes riffles and Class I and II rapids between placid pools and eddies. Its average depth is 4 to 5 feet, but 12- to 18-foot holes are common, and many are even deeper, to 113 feet at Big Eddy, Narrowsburg, NY. The river can rise rapidly after heavy rains and after releases from dams on its tributaries. Obstructions include large boulders, bridge piers and eel weirs. Avoid boulders in rapids by steering into the downstream "V." Avoid getting trapped in an eel weir by steering outside the wingwalls — Don't paddle into the "V" in this case.
The Upper Delaware's boating season extends from mid-April through October. The water, even in summer, can be cold enough to cause hypothermia. Boaters and anglers should always be prepared for cold water.
Did You Know?
The Upper Delaware watershed hosts the largest inhabitants of wintering bald eagles in the northeast, and a growing year round population of eagles has made the area an ideal location for eagle watching.