The Wading River is also a tributary of the Mullica River at only 20 miles long. The Wading River drains a rural forested area of the Pinelands, one of the most pristine areas along the coast of northeastern United States. It rises in two branches and joins the Mullica River from the north near its mouth, approximately 10 miles north of Atlantic City. The lower 3 miles of the river forms a navigable estuary. The Wading River is the most popular river in the Pinelands, rivaled only by the Delaware. The Wading River’s domino effect results from numerous factors: comparatively easy paddling, convenient campgrounds accessible by car and a river bank sporting diversified foliage.
The Wading River was once noted for its many examples of savanna or grass marsh but most have been turned into cranberry or blueberry farms. Upstream is a chain of cranberry bogs and traveling through is messy for paddlers. However, this passage through the marshy wilderness of the Wading River is well worth the effort. On both sides are impenetrable stands of cedars with cranberries in the damp banks. In the middle grows grasses and rushes. The banks are usually high, sandy and firm. Evergreen bushes are present and pines and cedars grow along the shore. The river bends continuously.
Using the Wading River is the best for novice kayakers with no portaging or excessive brush. However, “in season” the Wading River can be very crowded. So unless you like the theory of bumper cars in your paddling diet, I strongly suggest paddling the Wading River during the “off season”. Perhaps when you can virtually drift down the shadowy waters and
eavesdrop on the waves lapping against your boat.