A couple of weeks ago my sister drove up for a visit and requested that we do “something I can’t do at home.” Saturday we took her to the Street Hoops tournament, where we watched for my husband and my fourth-grader compete in blazing 100-degree temperatures. Besides the fact our poor kids didn’t win a single game, the heat didn’t get us down. We had an awesome time and I was happy to see the kids join their dads enjoying a Carlisle tradition while we cheered them on. Sunday we were ready for a little R&R, so we headed to the Conodoguinet for another Carlisle past time: river tubing.
With the waters being so low this time of year, the creek is moving slowly. I knew the route we had taken with friends last year (our very first tubing adventure) would be at least a three-hour ride. We wanted something shorter, so I used the Visit Cumberland Valley website to find our best bet. They have trail maps of both the Conodoguinet and Yellow Breeches with listings of in-points, out-points, and distances – awesome for planning an adventure on the water! (Check out the links at the bottom of this post.)
Although it isn’t officially listed on the trail map, we started out off Longs Gap Road, across the street from the North Middleton Water Authority, which is just below the dam, and enjoyed an hour of floating our way down to Creekview Park. The water was really low…I scraped the bottom of the creek a few times and we had to walk through a couple of super shallow sections. I’m not sure, but I think the stretch we did last year – from Creekview Park down to LeTort Falls Parks – was a little bit deeper. Regardless, the shallow water didn’t stop us from having a great time!
The kids had a blast skipping rocks and looking for turtles as we floated. Near the end of our ride they met a little boy out on his kayak who eagerly showed them the map turtle he had caught and pointed out his older brother who was hunting for turtles along the creek bank. Will I scare you off from tubing if I tell you my oldest dug a snapping turtle out of the mud while I was loading the tubes into the car?! Don’t worry though – he assured me he was “very careful.” *sigh* He was also over-the-moon excited. I mean, a snapping turtle! You can’t beat that for a reptile loving nine-year-old!
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the creek – we saw plenty of other groups tubing. The great thing about tubing is that once you have your tubes, it is essentially a free activity that you can enjoy as a family or with friends, and it is a perfect way to relax on these crazy hot days.
Want to give it a try?
- Conodoguinet Creek Water Trail
- Yellow Breeches Water Trail
- You’ll need two cars. Drop off one car, with your towels, at the outpoint. If you have keyless entry on your car, be sure to bring your valet key along so you can carry it while you tube without zapping the battery. Then drive the second car, with the tubes, to your entry point.
- Need tubes? We love our Intex river tubes, which we ordered off Amazon. We also have the Intex electric air pump so we can inflate the tubes at our in-point. I had four tubes inflated in under 15 minutes and the great thing is that the tubes deflate very quickly; we were able to easily fold them up to fit in the trunk when we were done.
- Life jackets are a smart idea, especially if you have kids who aren’t yet strong swimmers. The creeks will be deeper and faster at some times than others, depending on the time of year, rainfall, and where you tube.