Tag Archives: Chiques Rock Outfitters

A Breath of Fresh Air

Whether by bike or by foot, the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, located along the Susquehanna River, is a peaceful trail worth exploring during your next outdoor adventure in Lancaster.

After lunch at a picnic table by the Columbia Crossings River Trails Center, we walked over to Chiques Rock Outfitter’s outpost to rent bikes for our ride. They offered us two colorful new bikes, and we hit the trail.

After a short ride next to the road, we were surrounded by trees, bushes, streams and tall rock faces. The trail is pleasantly paved and flat which makes it a great ride for novice bikers, families, or those looking for a leisurely walk or jog. The peaceful path winds through Chickies Rock County Park and through a cool rock tunnel.

About two and half miles up the road, we were greeted by the smell of tasty food. The Trailside Trolley was set up along the trail, serving up hot dogs, pulled pork, pizza, ice cream, snow cones and drinks for those looking to fuel up before continuing on the trail.

Continuing on the trail, we passed through a meadow of colorful wildflowers as we approached Marietta. In the town of Marietta, riders have the option of taking the “Downtown Route”, passing by houses, shops, and local watering holes including McCleary’s Pub and The Railroad House Inn. For those who prefer not to ride through town, the trail cuts through a brief undeveloped trail, and rejoins that paved section around mile marker three.

On this day, we didn’t ride past this point, but if you choose to, you’re in for a treat. The trail continues along the river and through East Donegal Township Riverfront Park. Around mile marker nine, you’ll see the White Cliffs of Conoy – a great place to stop and take a picture or two. The developed portion of the trail ends at mile marker eleven in Bainbridge, PA.

Riding the trail round-trip will be a scenic 22 mile ride, however, if you’re looking for a shorter ride, there are multiple parking and access points along the way.

For more information about the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, stop by the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center before your adventure, or check out a map here.

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster County in June

Signs of summer are popping up across Lancaster County. From fun with the kids now that school is out to spending time outdoors in the warm sunshine, here are ten exciting events and things to do in Lancaster this month.

A Day at the Railroad

Railroad fun and history are ever-present in Strasburg this month for the young and young-at-heart.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s special exhibit for 2016, “Safety First! The Evolution of Railroading Safety Practices,” explores how technology and practices helped to improve the safety of railroad workers. For those who love railroading history, this is just the place for you! Along with the special exhibit, the museum also features historic locomotives, a working restoration shop and more. Admission to this year’s exhibit is included with museum admission. The exhibit is open during regular museum hours and will be on display until December 31, 2016.

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! June 18 through June 26, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the June, August, and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

Live Music Galore

Outdoor music performances are plentiful in June, and what better time to enjoy the warm summer air and toe-tapping tunes.

Looking for something to do on Sunday nights this summer? Grab a picnic dinner and lawn chairs and head over to Long’s Park for their Summer Music Series. Beginning on June 5, live music will be performed at the Long’s Park Amphitheater that will have you dancing along. Admission to these family-friendly, outdoor concerts is free.

Another exciting celebration of music is Kitchen Kettle Village’s Music for Everyone Festival, held on Saturday, June 18. Enjoy various live music performances as you stroll around and browse the village shops.

Celebrate the City and Towns

Join in the festivities as Intercourse and Lancaster City are celebrated with fun and even fireworks!

Intercourse Heritage Days will be held June 17 through 18 to celebrate the history and heritage of the town. Hosted at Intercourse Community Park, this festival includes activities for kids, a pie baking contest, musical entertainment, a reptile show and more. The Taste of Lancaster Food Showcase will feature local restaurants and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine that plays a role in the area’s heritage. A fireworks display will wrap up Saturday’s festivities.

As a celebration of culture and diversity in the growing City of Lancaster, Celebrate Lancaster will take place on Friday, June 24. Enjoy more than 20 food vendors, live music on two stages and beer & wine, with festivities wrapping up in the evening with a fireworks display.

Beer & Wine… Oh my!

Whether you prefer to sip chardonnay or relax with a brew, here are two wine and beer centric events for your June afternoon.

From the creators of Lancaster Craft Beerfest, comes SIP Wine in the Park, an afternoon of wine tasting the Lancaster City’s Musser Park. Tasting Tickets are on sale now for this June 18 event, and admission includes a commemorative sampling glass plus samples from around the world, live music, and food sampling.

The newest beer fest in town is the Ephrata Brewfest, to be held on Saturday June 25 at the Whistle Stop Plaza in Ephrata. Ales, IPAs, stouts and more will be available for sampling from local up-and-coming breweries including Wacker Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company, St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company and more. Live music and food vendors round out this event which is sure to be a good time.

Relax on the River

With the cold weather behind us, the outdoors are just waiting to be explored. Take some time this month to experience water sports on the Susquehanna River.

Combine biking and paddling for a day of adventure along the river. Chiques Rock Outfitters, conveniently located at various points along the river, offers kayak, canoe and bike rentals. To ultimately cure your lingering cabin fever, opt for an hour long bike ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail then trade your bikes in for a kayak for a three hour ride on the river back to where you started. The trail is fairly flat and winds through wooded areas for a shady, leisurely ride.

With a variety of events in June, Shank’s Mare Outfitters offers a few different ways to experience the river. Whether you’re a novice or a paddling pro, Shank’s Mare offers stand-up paddle boarding classes, some even incorporating yoga in to the mix, and kayaking classes and tours. Follow an evening of paddling with a dinner along the river with one of their evening kayaking tour events.

A Day of River Therapy

I love the Susquehanna River, but I don’t spend as much time on or near it as I should, considering how close to home it is. One Saturday evening, I set out to remedy that by going on a Chiques Rock Outfitters’ 5:00 pm “Therapy Float.”

The Therapy Float is a guided trip on the Susquehanna River from the southern end of Marietta down to River Park in Columbia, where I parked my car at the Chiques Rock Outfitters rental shop.

I was equipped with a solo kayak, paddle, life jacket, and dry box for my camera. When we put our boats in the water, there were no others in sight, but we did spot a great blue heron fishing off a rock not far from shore. My guide, Ranae Tibbens, co-owner of Chiques Rock Outfitters, gave me a refresher on how to steer since it had been at least twenty years since I’d last been in a kayak. Then we were off to explore the river.

We paddled under the railroad bridge, where Chiques Creek empties into the river, to take a look at the water level and a new pedestrian bridge. As we headed out to the middle of the river, a bald eagle came swooping down over the water.  He came close enough overhead to be seen in detail, but I was too slow getting my camera out of the dry box to be able to get a good shot of him. He was very shortly joined by another, and we watched the two of them fly circles above the river and the shoreline for a few minutes, before flying away.

Getting out of the kayak during the trip is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. We pulled up on an exposed stretch of pebbles, then waded out to a rock to examine someone’s 100+ year old script signature etched into the surface. We also examined the bore holes at the base of the rock, worn by the action of small pebbles in the current over time. Some rocks on the river seem to be more hole than rock, honeycombed by friction of stone and water. After taking photos from the top of the rock, we climbed down and waded back to our boats, thankful for the traction of water shoes on slippery rocks.

Shortly before sunset, we stopped at the boat launch by John Wright Restaurant for a few minutes then we took our time crossing to the other side of the river. We stopped often to take photographs of pink and orange light reflecting off of the bridge piers and the water.

When we pulled our boats in at the launch at River Park again, I was pleasantly exhausted and happy to have explored a couple of miles of the beautiful river in our backyard.

To learn about other water activities in Lancaster, click here.

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