Assiscunk Creek Paddle – Burlington, Burlington County, NJ
Distance: 5 miles round trip (could paddle further upcreek than we did)
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: 3 of 10 – could have been a lot worse if we didn’t mostly turn with the ride
Official Website – None
Terrain – Tidal creek
Put ins – N 40° 04.925 W 074° 51.038
Parking – Good sized lot at the launch.
Rentals – None
Halloween morning, I went on my last paddle of the year to close out my first year of owning a kayak. The body of water for the day? Assiscunk Creek starting where it joins the Delaware River in Burlington, NJ.
Now I’ve pretty much only been going out with Brian, but today there will be about a million more kayaks in the background of shots because Brian and I went out with a group of Geocachers for this one.
The put in is the large boat ramp in Burlington (see coordinates above), which I neglected to take a picture of. But it made for an easy start to the day.
We then rounded the corner to enter the mouth of Assicunk Creek. The tides had been timed out, so the paddling was pretty easy going upstream with a rising tide. It would have been way less easy if we were going against the tide.
Pretty quickly, you hit a pair of bridges. For whatever reason (storms, lunar cycles, Godzilla), the tides were crazy high, so it was tight getting under the bridges. I didn’t get a kayak for the longest time because I don’t really feel safe in them (always stuck to canoes), but I’m glad I sprang for a kayak with a ridiculously large opening to sit in, because it let me lay down and fit under easily without worrying about tipping. The clearance here, I’m told, is usually much better.
Once clear of the bridges, it was smooth sailing… errr… paddling. There was some pretty Fall color left in stretches, there were lots of birds out, and the weather was a perfect warm for the end of October.
We did get a really awesome surprise… a beaver was swimming around in the creek. He or she kept diving under the water, but the current was strong enough that the beaver kept popping back up so we could see it. My picture, of course, isn’t nearly as good as it was in real life.
After 2 1/2 miles, we turned around at a large turkey vulture who was surveying the area from the top of a tree. We were a little early for the change in the tide, but opted to just work a little harder for 20 or 30 minutes until the tide turned and the creek started flowing back toward the Delaware.
Things went pretty good, and Brian and I made good time heading back… until we hit the railroad bridge exactly at peak tide. The little clearance that there was had turned into practically no clearance. Luckily, teamwork makes the dream work. A few paddlers who could squeeze under did, dragging kayaks whose paddlers couldn’t make it behind them (some others had waited at a different spot to get picked up). The now boat-less kayakers who couldn’t make it walked up and over the bridge and got back into their kayaks on the other side.
From there, it was a few short minutes to the boat ramp and the end of a great year-ending paddle! Good day! Thanks to South Jersey Geocachers for organizing a great outing!
Nearby: Assiscunk Creek Park where we’ve hiked was about where our paddle stopped. Come for some trails in the woods, stay for a helicopter, jet, and a tank.
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Fall colors, warm weather, lots of folks to talk to, some bridges, a beaver, birds, and a turkey vulture... perfect paddle.
Beware of tides and paddling with them, even if they aren't as ridiculously high as the day we did this.