Campground Review: This is one of my absolute favorite camping areas I have ever been. Namanock Island is only accessible by water and is roughly 4 miles down the Delaware River if you leave from Milford Beach in Milford, PA. There is a ten dollar fee per day to park your car so bring cash as the parking area is not always manned and you’ll have to leave the fee in an envelope that is available just past the entrance. These sites are canoe, kayak, or(in my case) packraft accessible. The sites are maintained by the NPS and are available on a first come first served basis. Also there is no cost to camp on the river save the parking fees you paid in Milford! This was my first time making the trip with a friend and it was awesome to have some company. We stayed at site 13 (marked by a small square sign). Once at the tip of the island you will want to stay to the right on the river and close to the shore of the island(on your left hand side) as the site comes up relatively quickly and you won’t want to shoot past it. It’s a steep climb up the shore so be prepared for that. You have a small piece of shoreline that is mostly rocks. It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy the sun, sounds of nature, and have yourself a cold beer. You are limited to one night on the island. They are primitive campsites which include a fire ring and a primitive toilet. The sites are in excellent shape! This was my first time venturing to the island on a weekend(Friday) night but we had the place to ourselves so that was awesome. I’ve read that if you are going on a weekend that it’s advisable to go earlier in the day. We were on the island by 3 and had no problem securing our site, granted it was early June so your mileage may vary if you are going during the peak of the summer. It's a rare thing to camp on an island and Namanock is so serene and peaceful, you’ll hear the water flowing gently all night, perfection! We had ourselves a nice fire and made hot dogs and s’mores. The next morning we packed up and set off for another site about 8 miles down the river. After camping at the next site we packed up and hiked back along the McDade Recreation Trail to Dingmans Ferry access where we caught the River Runner Shuttle(a free shuttle that runs along the river on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer free of charge) back to the car in Milford. We were pressed for time otherwise we would have made the full 12 mile hike, instead we hiked slightly more than 4 miles. I’ll keep going back to this site as often as I can and can’t recommend it enough. In order to be prepared for the river camping experience
I would recommend purchasing the National Geographic map of the Delaware Water Gap and/or the DWG map set sold by the NYNJ Trail Conference as they have all of the sites outlined.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. At Namanock Island, I got to test out the Gregory Zulu 55 pack. This pack comes loaded with features. It fit all of my gear (sleeping bag, tent, food sleeping pad, backpacking chair, packraft, paddle, clothes, etc with absolutely no problem. I am 5’7’’ and weigh about 145 lbs, the small/medium pack fit me perfectly. I really loaded this thing up with my rafting gear for our 4 mile hike back to the parking area and never once felt like I had a hot spot or any discomfort whatsoever. The Zulu features Gregory’s FreeFloat suspension technology designed to move with your body and I’d say mission accomplished, it really felt like it responded well to my movements and never once did it feel uncomfortable! The Zulu comes loaded with pockets both external and internal as well as multiple lashing points which perfectly suited my needs for my packrafting trip as I was able to secure it easily to my raft and lash extra gear externally. The fact that they include a rain cover is a nice bonus! The only issue I had was with my water bladder. I use a platypus big zip 3L which perfectly fit in the sleeve provided for a water bladder however it did not clip in well to the clip provided as it is designed for Gregory’s hydro reservoir. This is far from a deal breaker but worth mentioning. I have a few packs and the Gregory Zulu 55 is 100% going to be my go to for overnights and multi-day efforts!
For more information and to purchase one for yourself check out the pack at Gregory’s site here: https://www.gregorypacks.com/packs-bags/backpacking-packs/zulu-55-1115ZUL55.html
Campground Review (Update): Namanock Island is only accessible by water and is roughly 4 miles down the Delaware River if you put in at Milford, Pa. I have now taken my packraft to the island twice and have had a fantastic trip each time! The sites are maintained by the NPS and are available on a first come first served basis. Also there is no cost! You are limited to one night on the island though as the expectation is that you will continue down river to other primitive sites. They are primitive campsites which include a fire ring and a primitive toilet. The sites are in excellent shape! I have only ever gone during the week so I have not had any issue securing one of the four available sites but would recommend getting their earlier if you intend to go during the weekend. It's a rare thing to camp on an island and Namanock is so serene and peaceful you hear the water flowing gently all night, perfection!
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. At Namanock Island, I got to test out some OOFOS OOahh Slide Sandals.
These sandals are amazing. As a runner, trailrunner, hiker, backpacker, and camper these will now be my go to recovery slide. They feel so soft and comfortable and lend themselves very well to being a quality camp shoe!
I have nothing negative to say about the slides, I've been wearing them all the time and have zero complaints! If you're in the market for a new pair I highly recommend taking a look at oofos!!
Grab your own pair at https://www.oofos.com/
For videos from my visits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I-Z5MV_OGA&feature=youtu.be
This review is of site #4 on Namanock Island. The campsite in this review has two major points to express beyond the actual review.
First, this site is only accessible by canoes or kayaks. There is no public road access to the campsite. Secondly, the site is maintained by the NPS, (National Park Service) within the DWGNRA, (Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area). People found camping at this site that are not on a river trip or camped at the site for longer than one day can expect to receive hefty fines from the NPS.
This site is a primitive campsite. There is a fire ring suitable for cooking on as well as allowing you a small fire. You will also have access to a privy style toilet a short distance in the woods behind your site.
Let me say that of all the places I have ever camped, having an entire island to yourself is a feeling I have never experienced anywhere else.
The campsites on this island are always very clean, if not pristine. In the 7 years I have camped here I do not think I have even wore shoes here once. Never any glass or trash anywhere.
There is tons of room to enjoy your camping trip, its an island that is at most shared by 3 other camping groups. Once night falls the absence of light sources beyond your camp remind you that you are truly alone in the wilderness.
The fishing here is decent, but its a shallow part of the river so in the summer months the fish seek deeper waters. As for local wildlife, you can expect to be visited by a masked robber or two during the night, but a bear bag handing will eliminate any issues.
Stopping here is normally a very simple thing as most of the island has a 3-4 foot shore around it of river rock. This makes for an easy landing and unloading of boats. However, spring time trips can find the water levels much higher and swifter making it more difficult to arrive safely, or dry.
If you paddle across the river from the site, it is only a 10-15 minute hike along the road on the Pennsylvania side of the river to reach Raymondskill Falls. A "must-see" if your stopping here. The New Jersey side will require a longer hiking time, but will take you along Old Mine Road where there are more things to see than you can imagine.
This area is rich in history, folklore, legends and locations that anyone camping here would truly enjoy knowing/seeing.
I use the camping on this island as much as I physically can. There are 4 primitive sites located on the west banks of this island that are maintained by the National Park Service. The map I uploaded has them listed 1-4. These are not the NPS registered numbers, I honestly do not know them, nor honestly is it a concern. Neither for us or the NPS rangers that we may or may not even see. I always seem to be lucky enough to get site 1 and its one of the best sites I have ever stayed in. Always Clean, very spacious, great views… If you have neighbors, the island is large enough for all. Sites 2 and 3 are much better suited for 2-3 people and hammock camping, but can handle tents. Site 4 is the second largest on the island and is situated at the end of the island and a little more secluded from the others, in my opinion 4 is a great site for a family or group of 3-6. All the sites have primitive fire pits with natural rock rings and its no facilities. Bring your solution for natures calling and remember that you are on an island in the middle of the river where history helped shape our country almost 300 years ago and you will have an amazing night. Study up on the history of the area prior and share it fireside no need to make up a ghost story here..
First, how can you go wrong, camping on an island. I have used this site for camping for 6 seasons now, and have never been disappointed with any aspect of the camp. This is one of the free sites on the Middle Delaware River Trail that is maintained by the NPS, ( National Park Service). They are a first come, first camped, set up, but I have not once in 6 years, (multiple trips per year), ever found anyone in the site ahead of me.
The island is situated in a way that once darkness falls there are no lights to be seen in either direction, up or down river. You are camped on the side of the island that views Pennsylvania's shore. Now, no lights means an incredible view of the night sky. The camp site is VERY spacious, we have used 5 tents at one time here, 6 or more boats, and when you add the main campfire as well as the couple minor fires through-out the camp that were burning, there was no feel of crowding at all. The Island was once a part of the Lenape Indian's territory, and granted it may be dated back to late 1700's/ early 1800's, it almost seems like there were people here as of the day before. Beautiful trails criss-cross the island and not a rock to be tripped over. I do not think I have worn shoes there even once.
This site is PRIMITIVE camping…. No bathrooms, no facilities of any sort.. Everything must be packed in and out, or you wont have it. There are waterfalls on the Pennsylvania shore within a quick walking distance of your location that are very much worth the time it takes to walk the trail.
There usually will be a patrol or two early in the mornings that goes by the island, but not once have I had a Ranger step foot on the island. Upon leaving the camp, the water is fairly shallow for about the first third of the river, but once you get out to the deeper water its a very easy paddle of maybe an hour and you are at the Dingman's Ferry area. Here you will find facilities, (no showers), trash receptacles, a picnic area, as well as a very historic site on the river. There are also trails that lead to Dingman's Falls as well once you get to the boat access. Make sure to meet the older couple that work the tolls on the bridge at Dingman's, they actually know 90% of their traffic on sight and by name. They enjoy sharing tons of history with those interested, and its a very interesting area that has a history of over 300 years. Tons of fishing, hiking, wildlife and nature everywhere to be found and enjoyed. If you are able to, I suggest at least visiting the island if not camping on it.