Pennsylvania Adds a New Official Water Trail

Tali MacArthur, Watersheds Program Manager

PEC is excited to announce the designation of Pennsylvania’s newest Water Trail: the Perkiomen Creek Water Trail. With this designation, the Perkiomen Trail becomes another in the network of exemplary rivers and creeks in Pennsylvania which meet specific criteria for fun, safe, accessible waterways for those who enjoy non-motorized boating recreation, such as paddling kayaks and canoes.

The Perkiomen Creek Water Trail in Montgomery County offers approximately 14.5 miles of boatable waters from the Crusher Road access just south of Green Lane Park to the Hoy Park/Arcola Road access at the confluence of Skippack Creek and Perkiomen Creek. Along the water trail corridor, there are numerous public parks and preserved lands. The 20-mile multi-use Perkiomen Trail parallels the creek and provides a framework for access to the water trail.

A paddling trip on the Perkiomen Water Trail provides opportunities for viewing wildlife such as the American toad and great blue heron along the river’s shoreline, as well as bald eagles and piliated woodpeckers flying overheard and nearby. Those floating downriver can pass below the iconic Collegeville Bridge or take a moment to explore some of the smaller creeks that feed the Perkiomen. There are parks all along the trail such as Meadow Park in the upper part of the trail which boasts a brand-new boat ramp and landing and Central Perkiomen Valley Park in the lower section of the trail.

For paddlers looking to stock up on snacks for the trip , there are markets and local grocers in Schwenksville and Collegeville, as well as the Duck Inn- a bar and restaurant with creek access and parking (by permission.)

According to Ryan Beltz, Executive Director of the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, the Perkiomen Creek Water Trail Managing entity, “Both the Water Trail and its land-based counterpart offer spectacular recreation opportunities for residents and visitors to the Perkiomen Valley.” He adds, “We are honored and thrilled to be the newest official Pennsylvania Water Trail and look forward to welcoming paddlers of all skill levels to enjoy the trail.”

As the Water Trail Manager, the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, agrees to promote the Pennsylvania Water Trail’s eight guiding principles:

  • Partnership
  • Stewardship
  • Volunteerism
  • Education
  • Conservation
  • Community Vitality
  • Diversity
  • Wellness and Well-being

The Conservancy maintains a website with video guides to the Perkiomen and a Perkiomen’s Creek Paddler’s Guide, which provides expert tips for paddling, plus information on creek access, hazards, and services along the way. Paddlers can view the online version of the Guide and purchase a hard copy printed on waterproof paper for $12.

Though largely a free-flowing stream, there are a few small dams and old mill dam remnants scattered throughout the length of the Water Trail that require extra caution. Paddlers should plan their trips using the Guide, weather forecast, and creek flow rates to determine the safest route and portage locations. Always wear a well-fitting life jacket and be prepared for changing conditions.

Pennsylvania’s 29 water trails link outdoor recreation and water conservation efforts. Since 2008, the PA Water Trails Program partners have worked together to promote and maintain a network of creeks and rivers for public access and stewardship. The PA Water Trails Program provides technical assistance, shares education and resources, and facilitates opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning for water trail managers.

Interested in checking out other PA Water Trails, closer to where you live?

Consider a trip on the Three Rivers Water Trail or the Youghiogheny River Water Trail if you reside near Pittsburgh. Further north? Consider exploring the Upper Shenango River Water Trail or the French Creek Water Trail.

Found yourself in the Susquehanna Basin? Plan a paddle on the West or North Branch of the Susquehanna River Water Trail or the locally loved Conestoga River Water Trail.

In fact, each of Pennsylvania’s 29 water trails will link you to an unforgettable outdoor recreation experience. Paddle them all!

To learn more about the PA Water Trails Program, visit