by Ronnie Juhans
Canoeing is one of those outdoor activities that compares to hiking when it comes to a relaxing day outdoors. A peaceful ride on the river with overhanging trees, no commercial boat traffic, and amazing scenery is something that you can find close to the KMC.
One of my favorite rivers in this region to spend time canoeing is the Glan River, which is ideal for beginners.
The Glan River has a relaxing flow, is surrounded by trees, and boasts great views of the Northern Palatinate hills, valleys and countryside taking you away from the grind of everyday life. There are many bends to navigate around and some small areas of rushing water that add to the overall experience. However, they are no concern for beginners, groups or families with children.
Along the way you will encounter countless species of river plants, water fowl, fish, butterfly swarms, flea crabs, and natural habitats that will take you on an unforgettable journey through nature as you paddle along or take a break at one of the rest stops on the shore for a picnic or photo opportunities.
Start your adventure in Meisenheim and paddle to Rehborn or Odernheim. To add to your experience, you can hike along the Glanweg back to Meisenheim. There, you can end your day by relaxing at the brewery, beer garden, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and bistros before exploring the historic Schlosskirche, castle church, and it’s gothic construction and art, the Herzog-Wolfgang-Haus, which belongs to the historic building of the caste, or chill out with the ducks and geese at the waterfall.
For hassle-free equipment hire, choose a local canoe company or outdoor recreation facilities. These facilities are full-service and provide you with canoes, all equipment, basics of canoeing, safety, and best of all worry-free transportation.
If you choose to go on your own and don’t wish to hike back to the starting point there are busses that run every hour along the entire route. Don’t forget, you will have to figure out the logistics of transporting your canoe back because the route on the river is one-way only.
Some of my other great conoeing experiences have been on the Saar and Nahe rivers. Both are similar to the Glan due to lack of commercial traffic, great scenery, peaceful day out and places to stop.
For the more experienced canoers who want a larger body of water with a stronger and more challenging flow, the Mosel River can be a lot of fun and quite adventurous. On the Mosel, you are dealing with a constant strong current, steering clear of speed boats, barges, tour ships and constantly turning the bow of you canoe into their wake to avoid rolling over into the drink. At certain points along the route, you come upon dams with steep canoe/kayak slips that can send you towards the rocky shore. A view of the vineyards and pit stops to sample great wine and food is definitely a plus. I do not suggest the Mosel for beginners, or families with children.
Research the routes and know your capabilities and those of your group
Take lessons and learn about safety, equipment, techniques and proper clothing
Rent before investing in equipment
Check with your doctor if you have any medical or physical concerns
Know emergency contacts and evacuation/rescue points
Attempt to transport a canoe without proper racks and tie down accessories
Go out alone or without checking weather conditions
SUP in restricted areas such as shore fishing or fish and water fowl preserves
Toss food scraps or any trash into the water or on shore
What to Bring:
Swim shorts or swimsuit
Water shoes or sandals
First Aid kit
Water, snacks or lunch
Gallon zip-lock bags
Euro and plastic