The Beckoning Outdoors of the Susquehanna River Valley

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Amid the hills and valleys, forests and fields, rivers and streams of central Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River Valley beckons to outdoor enthusiasts seeking inspiration and adventure. In 2021, Pennsylvania visitor spending in outdoor recreation was $14 billion. It is easy to see how important outdoor recreation is to our region which is home to beautiful landscapes and abundant opportunities for runners, cyclists, paddlers, fishers and off-roaders to explore the road less traveled and to live their best lives.

The river valley is the only place in Pennsylvania where the North and West branches of the mighty Susquehanna River merge. The Susquehanna is the longest river on the American east coast and the 16th longest in the United States. The broad shallow waters also make the Susquehanna the longest, non-commercially navigable river in the country creating idyllic conditions for both boating and fishing. The amenities of the river attracted the attention of the 2024 Bassmasters Kayak Series which will be held in Lewisburg for the first time due in part to the work and sponsorship of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.

Shikellamy State Park, which sits at the convergence of the river’s two branches, coordinates the inflation of the Adam T. Bower Dam, the longest inflatable dam in the world, each spring to create a 3,060-acre compound known as Lake Augusta. Throughout the spring and summer, fishers, boaters and water-skiers enjoy its pristine waters.

The Susquehanna River Valley is also home to a wide variety of lakes, streams and waterways ideal for fishing and paddling. Penns Creek, for example, is recognized nationally as a top trout stream and ranks among the very top in fly fishing within the state. Penns Creek is known for its inconsistent waters ranging from still to some of the most rapid moving waters in PA.

In addition to water sports, the rivers, streams and lakes of the region create beautiful backdrops for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. The region is superb for bicycling, whether you prefer an easy ride on a local rail trail, longer road rides through the countryside or strenuous mountain biking through gorgeous forest lands. The Susquehanna River Valley is rapidly becoming a national destination for riders of every age and stage. Gravel cycling, in particular, is gaining momentum with the national recognition received by unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley, a top gravel race held in October each year.

The Susquehanna River Valley is home to two state forests, four state parks and a variety of protected natural areas perfect for hiking and wildlife watching. Bald Eagle State Forest alone contains 320 miles of trails including a 45-mile section of the Mid State Trail. In addition to hiking, trails for horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing provide new vistas to discover in any season.

For more than 100 years, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has managed and protected wildlife and their habitats while promoting hunting and trapping for residents and visitors alike. This precise management has elicited a diverse wildlife population and abundant opportunities for in-state and out-of-state hunters.
One of the newer pastimes in the Susquehanna River Valley, off-roading, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “PA wildlife”.  Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area and Famous Reading Outdoors have carefully cultivated trails and obstacles for jeeps, SxS’s, ATVs and motorcycles. The park managers have created one-of-a-kind challenges for enthusiasts to attempt to conquer, garnering epic memories and bragging rights for life.

With so many natural amenities it is no wonder that outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life are discovering the Susquehanna River Valley. As residents we can rediscover the beauty of the region daily. The Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau has been promoting our region’s natural outdoor resources for over eight years to visitors and residents alike, helping to filter outdoor recreation revenue into our communities. To learn more about all of the incredible opportunities in your own backyard, go to or contact the team at the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau at 570-524-7234. We will help you get back to nature in the river valley!

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