Expedition Kayaking Skills Workshop

Millersburg, PA
HEADS UP: Our 2022 dates for this course haven't been posted yet. Stay tuned!

Ready to hone your kayaking skills on one of the most interesting sections of the Susquehanna River? Game for a three-day Pennsylvania paddling getaway?

I have two groups of people in mind for our Expedition Kayaking Skills Workshops:

  1. Recreational paddlers ranging from “mid-level beginner” to “advanced intermediate” who are ready to develop some finesse in their skills on moving water. Do you feel like you’d benefit from stronger water reading, ferrying, and eddy-maneuvering skills?

  2. Adventurers interested in joining one of our longer multi-day expedition, perhaps the yet-to-be-officially-announced Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande trip (here’s a talk Katie and I gave about scouting it). Do you love the idea of a giant self-supported paddling expedition, but feel like a “stepping-stone” experience to learn more about what’s involved would help you prepare?

Over three days, we kayak about 25-miles through a labyrinth of islands in Central Pennsylvania. The paddling is great, but we’re here on a mission to become better paddlers! Our workshop is structured around a series of on-land instructional sessions and on-water practice sessions.

We’ll cover “reading” water features, attaining, using eddies, ferrying, self-defense from on-river hazards, and preparing for a self-supported paddling expedition.

The camping is, well… phenomenal. We spend both nights of the workshop at the same campsite on a mid-river island.

You can bring your own gear to give it a shake-down, or use the boats and tents we provide.

I grew up guiding trips on this section of river and I’m thrilled to return in 2021. Join me this June to level-up your paddling skills. Register today!

Matt Stan
Matt Stan, Bad Adventures founder

Is this for me?

Small Group

We keep it to no more than 10 adventurers, plus 2 Bad Adventures guides.


We camp both nights of the workshop on a mid-river island. Dome-style backpacking tents and self-inflating camping mattresses are provided.


Most of our meals are cooked together at camp. Our staff has prepared scrumptious recipes, will provision the trip, and lead meal preparations. Cooking gear is provided and, due to COVID, we won’t ask you to cook with anyone you don’t live with. This is gonna be yummy!


We paddle up to 10-miles per day at a sustained recreational touring pace. When attaining (paddling upstream) through islands on day 2, there are times we’ll sustain a few minutes of higher intensity paddling. I (Matt Stan here) would rate the workshop as 2 to 2.5 out of 5 on the intensity scale.

Kayaking Skills

Some previous kayaking experience is recommended. While it is OK to show up as a beginner, you’ll get the most out of the workshop if you already have strong turning strokes and good basic paddling technique.

Traveling Solo?

This workshop is great for couples, friends, and solo adventurers. The trips we plan seem to attract like-minded people. Odds are, you'll enjoy the company of your fellow paddlers!

There’s no singles supplement fee!

Here's the plan...


Let’s Go!

We meet in Riverfront Park in Millersburg, PA at 8:30 AM for a discussion of packing for multi-day paddling. We pass out dry bags and set about moving in!

After a delicious lunch we don face masks for a van ride to our put-in. If the Millersburg Ferry is open, our shuttle includes crossing the river on a historic ferry boat!

We pack our boats, then put-in near the the confluence of Penn’s Creek for an 8-mile paddle to our mid-river island campsite.

We cook a carefully provisioned dinner together at camp and set up our tents and camping mattresses (included).

Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

Islands and Ledges

After a breakfast that can’t be beat, we discuss ferrying, attaining (paddling upstream), using eddies, and “reading” water. We leave camp set up, and head out with unencumbered boats to hone our skills! Over the course of the day, we paddle two laps through islands surrounding McKees Half Falls, a pair of ledges that provide great opportunities for practicing intermediate kayaking skills on moving water.

We paddle 7-miles total today. 3.5-miles are attained up-river and 3.5-miles are paddled downstream. Because of the unique arrangement of islands and ledges, we never paddle more than 1-mile upstream at a time and leverage eddies to avoid prolonged time on a “treadmill.”

The day winds down with a relaxed evening back at camp. Good food. Good friends. This is the life!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Paddle Out

All good things must come to an end! We awaken to river sounds, enjoy a big breakfast, pack up camp and point our bows downstream. It’s a 10-mile paddle to our take-out in Millersburg.

Meals Included: Breakfast

What's Included?

3-Day, 2-Night Kayak Expedition

The Susquehanna River is a beautiful venue for our program.

2 Nights of Island Tent Camping

Awake to gentle river sounds and morning bird calls. Tents and camping mattresses are included.

Kayak & Paddling Gear

We'll bring a single-person 16-foot sit-on-top touring kayak, paddle, lifejacket, and dry bags for you to use.

Instruction & Practice on Moving Water

Polish up those eddy turns and water-reading skills!

Expedition Planning Workshop

Learn how to approach multi-day wilderness paddling trips.

Services of our Expert Guides

Friendly, accommodating, fully credentialed, and always professional.

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, and 2 Dinners

We’re talking about meticulously planned yummy provisions!

Road Transportation in Pennsylvania

Ride in style in a comfortable Ford Transit passenger van.

Group Gear

We’ve got the medical kit, navigation, and rescue equipment covered.

COVID-Cautious Planning

We'll keep each other safe by wearing masks when we can't be socially distanced.

Not Included:

Transportation to and from the workshop, accommodations the night before and the night after, your personal clothing and gear on the packing list, and guide gratuity.

Important Details & FAQ

  • We tent camp on an island for both nights of the workshop. Dome-style backpacking tents and self-inflating camping mattresses are provided. (You may also bring your own.)

    I (Matt Stan here) suggest packing 30-degree sleeping bag. See the packing list for complete details.

  • Nah. That’s pretty unlikely. The workshop is solo-adventurer-friendly!

  • You can reserve your spot today by paying a $149 deposit. The balance is due 60 days before the course. Be sure to read the complete Trip and Course Policies.

  • There's no cancellation fee if you decide to cancel 90 days or more before the course and we'll even refund your deposit! However, if you cancel fewer than 90-days before the course, your deposit is nonrefundable. Additionally, there are significant cancellation fees if you decide to cancel your registration 59 days or less before the course. Be sure to read the complete Trip and Course Policies.

  • We only advertise trips and courses we plan to operate. Since our founding in 2013, Bad Adventures has never canceled a multi-day trip or course. However, we must reserve the right to do so. Be sure to review our Trip and Course Policies.

  • Yes. However, it’s broken up throughout the day, with lots of opportunity for rest. The unique geometry of our campsite, the ledges of McKees Half Falls, and the surrounding islands let us paddle upstream, hopping between eddies. There are only a few times we have to paddle on a “treadmill.”

    Our total distance of upstream paddling is about 3.5 miles. We never paddle more than 1 mile upstream at a time.

    Bad Adventure guides will be there to help! However, if you decide to take it easy, you can forgo the second half of day 2 and hang out at camp while the rest of the group returns to the water.

  • At our island camp, we use river groovers (portable toilets) to minimize the environmental impact of our stay. They’re pleasant to use.

Real People.
Real Reviews.

I have many adventuring experiences with Matt Stan over the years. Matt has created a team of knowledgeable and...

Posted by Megan Lundy on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Meticulously planned adventures. World class guides. Friendly people. Delicious food. Spectacular sights. Epic experiences. I could go on....

Posted by Chris Nadovich on Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Photo courtesy of Jeremy Quant.
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