Slackwater Navigation Super Adventure

Grab your fedora and pack your paddle intrepid explorers because the Conestoga River Club and Uncharted Lancaster have partnered to create a brand new adventure—Slackwater Navigation Adventure—for Lancaster Conservancy‘s annual Water Week festivities, which runs June 4-12, 2021.

Don’t have a kayak or stand-up paddleboard? No problem. Rent your kayak from Central PA Kayak Concierge or kayakLanCo.

While this adventure does not officially launch until June 4, 2021, here’s the information you will need to plan your expedition.

How does this adventure work?

You will need a kayak and other related supplies as you explore the Conestoga River along the old Conestoga Navigation Company canal route between Reigart’s Landing and Safe Harbor. While on this paddling adventure, complete all six challenges along the three legs of the adventure to reveal the location of the hidden treasure—a reproduction share of the Conestoga Navigation Company stock signed by Edward Coleman plus bonus swag like Water Week wooden nickels and 3D printed tokens for early completers!

Click here to begin the adventure when it launches on June 4.

Photograph by Donald Kautz.

Slackwater Navigation Adventure

Difficulty: 🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠
Length: 16 miles on the Conestoga River between Reigart’s Landing in Lancaster County Central Park to Safe Harbor. This adventure will likely take six to seven hours to complete.
What to bring:
 A life jacket, a whistle, plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, appropriate footwear for the times you are not inside your kayak, an internet-connected device with GPS, paper, and a writing utensil.
Pro Tip: Unless you are calling a Uber, this adventure requires two vehicles. One at your launch point and the other at your destination. Be sure to have the keys to both with you.


This adventure has been broken into three legs. Each section is around 5+ miles long and should not take more than two hours to complete. The entire trip is 16 miles will take six to seven hours. These are estimates for the average paddler under normal conditions. They vary depending on how aggressive you paddle, water levels, and general skill level.

Of course, you are welcome to split up this aquatic adventure however you choose (or do it all in one go). Visit the CRC’s website for a complete listing of Conestoga River access points. They also have an excellent listing of river resources.

Leg 1: Central Park to Windolph Landing

The first leg of this adventure begins in Lancaster Central Park near the Strawberry Street Bridge in nearly the same spot as the Conestoga Navigation Company’s slackwater canal did—Reigart’s Landing. This location has easy water access and ample secure parking.

Water Hazards

This leg of the adventure has two hazard points. This first obstacle lies between New Danville Pike (river right) and Buchmiller Park (river left) at 40.0099674, -76.3030147.

If you stay centered between the old bridge uprights along the yellow arrow, the current is swift, and there is a three-foot drop over XX feet. If you are uncertain, portage river right along the green. Avoid the red areas outright. They are deep, choked with debris, and pose a serious risk. 

The second hazard is about a half-mile below the New Danville bridge at 40.0035066, -76.3131005. It’s about 75 yards in length and littered with rocks. The shallower the water, the more challenging and potentially dangerous it can be.

Walk your boat along river left if you are uncertain about navigating the path of the green arrow. Paddle river left towards river right in the general direction of the yellow arrow. Avoid extreme river right. If you must take out for safety’s sake, take out river left. The farm there is more gracious to paddlers than the homeowners on river right. 

Approximately 5.3 miles away is Windolph Landing Park and the end of the first leg. There you will find marginally easy water access with a secure but limited parking area.

Leg 2: Windolph Landing to Creek Drive

The second leg of your adventure begins at Windolph Landing Park and continues for approximately four miles to Creek Drive.

  • Challenging access
  • Questionable parking
  • Good low water access 
  • Millersville borough jurisdiction

Leg 3: Creek Drive to Rock Hill

From Creek Drive, you are traveling approximately 4.6 miles away is Rock Hill. Rock Hill provides ample parking with easy water access below the rapids. Keep in mind that Rock Hill is under Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission jurisdiction. As such, you will need a launch permit for your kayak when accessing this area.  

Leg 4: Rock Hill to Safe Harbor

The final leg of this paddling adventure begins at Rock Hill. Again, this boat launch is under PFBC jurisdiction and requires a launch permit.

The expedition ends 3.5 miles away at Safe Harbor Park/Powerhouse Road where Lock 9 was once located.

Click here to begin the adventure when it launches on June 4.

Photograph by Benton Webber

Learn More about the Conestoga

The Conestoga Navigation Company’s slackwater canal was a bold Industrial Age construction project with the simple goal of transforming landlocked Lancaster into a bustling port city.

Learn more about the 62-mile long Conestoga River, including its mouth at Safe Harbor and disputed headwaters location inside State Game Lands 52. If you are curious how the river has changed in the past 50 years, check out the 1976 Canoeing Guide to the Historic Conestoga. The 33-page booklet includes five detailed maps of the river and beautiful sketches.

Numerous bridges, both modern and covered, cross the Conestoga. Enjoy Benton Webber’s Bridge Club series that examines several of the river’s most iconic.

Click here to begin the adventure when it launches on June 4.

What is Water Week?


Leading the way to clean water by protecting over 6,000 acres of wild lands, the Lancaster Conservancy created Lancaster Water Week to connect us all to clean water. Lancaster’s 1,400 miles of streams and rivers drive local economic and agricultural growth. They are a place of recreation and the source of our drinking water. Water Connects Us All! Click here to learn more about Lancaster Conservancy’s Water Week, and be sure to sign the Water Week Pledge.

About the Organizations

The founding goal of the Conestoga River Club was access to the river. It did not take long before we became invested in more than that. The dynamic history, culture, community, and conservation needs of the river became our passion. As the State recognized water trail stewards of the Conestoga our purpose is to establish a legacy of responsible recreation and preservation of the watershed we love. 

The Lancaster Conservancy was founded in 1969 by anglers, hunters, farmers, and naturalists who witnessed the rapid development and loss of lands. Today the Lancaster Conservancy manages 47 nature preserves and protects over 7,000 acres in Lancaster and York Counties. The nature preserves are managed to create habitat for animals, to protect plants and trees, and to provide public access to nature 365 days of the year from sunrise to sunset.

Uncharted Lancaster is a local history website that creates unique self-guided adventures to encourage people to get outside and explore the rich history and beauty of Lancaster County and surrounding areas.

Click here to begin the adventure when it launches on June 4.