Two young people are smiling and paddling on bright kayaks.

Paddling is one of the best ways to experience the unique and scenic 4.5 mile segment of Darby Creek that flows through John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. This water trail winds through the largest freshwater marsh in Pennsylvania and 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 or 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.