With launch points withing five minutes of Downtown Hershey, PA, the 45-mile Swatara Creek is a favorite outdoor adventure spot. Average depths of 1-3 feet make it ideal for families and novice navigators. Known to locals or frequent visitors as “The Swattie,” the waterway provides a gentle float between shaded banks. Pass a variety of historical sites, fishing holes, small islands, and limestone outcrops.
Between the access point at Schiavoni Park in Hummelstown to Fulling Mill Road north of Middletown, this section of creek flows by the mouth of Echo Dell at Indian Echo Caverns, a popular tourist attraction featuring beautiful limestone caverns. Susquehannock Indians once lived and hunted in this area.
It’s common for kayakers to see a steam engine-powered train rumble along the Middletown-Hummelstown scenic railroad. You’ll likely see some fishing poles as well. The creek’s forested hillsides and limestone outcrops are ideal fishing spots. The tranquil route is also home to a variety of wildlife.
Access point: Schiavoni Park
Takeout: Fulling Mill Rd - 0.5 miles past its intersection with Union Street
If you happen to camp at Hersheypark Camping Resort, this float will pass by your accommodations. From the access point off Union Deposit Road to Schiavoni Park in Hummelstown, the creeks winds through wooded hillsides for a relaxing and shaded run. Two small parks along the way offer water trail access points for paddlers who like to get out a stretch for a bit. The float is generally calm, but there are a few small riffles to provide a mild challenge near the end of the run.
Access Point: Swatara Creek Park (Union Deposit)
Takeout: Schiavoni Park