Kayaking and Canoeing



Darby Creek 

A unique and scenic 4.5 mile segment of Darby Creek flows through John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. It winds through the largest freshwater marsh in Pennsylvania, which allows canoeists and kayakers to see a variety of plants and animals. Creek access is available via the refuge’s boat launch, located near the Visitor Center parking area, adjacent to the outdoor restrooms. Refuge waters are tidal and navigable only within 2 hours before and after high tide. To access monthly tide charts, click here. Call our Visitor Center (215-365-3118) for more information. 


Paddling Tips & Safety 

  • • The boat launch is impacted by weather events and removed seasonally. Be sure to call the refuge to ensure that the boat launch is operational before planning your trip.  

  • • Paddlers must bring their own canoe or kayak and personal flotation device. Carrying 1 flotation device per person is required by law. 

  • • Tidal waters restrict paddling from 2 hours before to 2 hours after high tide. Know the weather forecast and mindful of weather changes and severe weather events. Darby Creek is subject to flash flooding and is often not safely navigable after heavy rain events. 

  • • Leave alcohol at home. It is illegal to be under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance while paddling. 




Caretakers of the Creek 

Caretakers of the Creek is a volunteer paddling litter clean up program that improves habitat for people and wildlife. While paddling Darby Creek, volunteers remove litter from waterways and track the total collected. To participate, individuals with their equipment may sign up as refuge volunteers to participate independently. Groups and individuals who do not have their own equipment may participate in seasonal outings, guided by trained refuge staff. 

Check Facebook or our Calendar of Events for upcoming dates and times, or email Refuge Ranger Sean Binninger at sean_binninger@fws.gov to receive notification of upcoming paddling events