Allegheny River Water Trail
More than 315 miles in length, the Allegheny River originates in scenic north-central Pennsylvania, making a brief foray into New York state before returning to form the northern and western border of much of the Allegheny National Forest as it zigzags southward. In 2017, the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers named the Allegheny River Pennsylvania’s “River of the Year” for its biologically diverse watershed, scenic beauty, historical significance, and variety of recreational offerings.
The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System contains roughly one-quarter of one percent of the nation’s rivers, highlighting the very best of America’s most natural and picturesque waterways, and 86.6 miles of the Allegheny River have been designated and protected as recreational in this nationwide network. Like the neighboring Clarion River, also protected by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Allegheny has rebounded dramatically from a heavily used industrial past to become an inspiring example of successful restoration.
The Allegheny River Water Trail offers many recreational opportunities to visitors seeking adventure on its waters and banks. Its deeper waters allow outdoor enthusiasts of all types to flock to the river with power boats, kayaks, and canoes virtually any time of the year.
Paddling, Boating, Fishing
The section of the Allegheny flowing through the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region has a variety of access points. Starting in the north in Forest County near East Hickory, the river offers excellent paddling and fishing, and the West Hickory launch provides a popular starting point for paddlers. Downstream, the Tionesta and Lighthouse Island access sites include boat launch ramps, and visitors can also find lodging, shopping, and dining in Tionesta, a charming town surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest. The stretch of river from Tionesta to Hunter’s Station is one of the most beautiful on the Allegheny, and here, you can even spend the night on one of the many remote wilderness islands in the middle of the river. Make sure to have a camera on hand, as you may see eagle, osprey, river otter, and other wildlife along the river, and bring a fishing pole to catch musky, walleye, and trout.
Downriver, the beautiful resort town of Foxburg in Clarion County provides the perfect place to relax and watch the water flow as you enjoy the town’s winery, inn, shops, restaurants, and lively art scene.
At the southwest tip of Clarion County, Brady’s Bend on Pool 9 grants access to the northernmost deepwater pool on the river. Wide and scenic deepwater riverbends around the town of East Brady welcome power boaters and water skiers, and the area hosts a number of fishing contests each summer. The Brady’s Bend Overlook offers a spectacular view and prime eagle and hawk watching as the elegant kings of the air glide on thermal waves rising above the steep cliffs.