Floating Down the Allegheny River
Some pics of the area you will see
There is just enough time left in the year to take one more ‘day’ trip before the water gets too cold. That’s all it takes, one day. One day to garner enough memories to last all year long and to begin planning for the next year. Once you do this one time, you will want to do it again and again.
Floating down the Allegheny River on rafts is the most relaxing yet exciting time you can imagine. There are rivers all over, what makes this one so special? The depth of the river. Over the years the water has cut deep into the mountains of Pennsylvania. The water does not run like the rapids of the Colorado River, it is nice and slow moving.
If you’ve ever traveled across I-80 through Pennsylvania, just past the Emlenton exit you will cross the river and see just how deep into the earth it really is.
Your starting point will be at Emlenton, PA there is a small park that allows ‘floaters’ or canoes to get into the water, and you can leave your vehicle parked there with no problem. There are a few small stores right at the park so if you’ve forgotten an item or two, you can easily pick them up.
Don't forget your pick up car!
What you will need for your trip;
1. Rafts - The cheap kind you find at the local dollar store for around $5 will work just fine. You will need one for each person in your party, and one for your cooler. Keep in mind, the more the merrier!
2. Cooler - For drinks and food along the way, you will want to keep hydrated and keep your food dry.
3. Rope - To lash the rafts together. Why? This makes it more fun, so you can all stick together and get to see all sides of the river as you slowly spin around.
4. Water proof camera - So you can view all the sites along the way, and have pictures of them for your scrap book.
5. Baggies - The zip kind for your keys and wallets, so they don’t get wet.
6. Water shoes - If you have them, they are not necessary but handy for walking on the rocky bottom of this river. Flip-flops will work just fine.
That is about all you will need for the time of your life! Depending on how long you wish to spend in the water will be your pick up point. You should have a car parked at your pick up point as well, unless you have someone picking you up.
The first stop is Foxburg - That is about 2 miles down the river this should take you about 4 hours of floating. There is a little bait shop/store at the ramp area that you can park your pick up car. Just stop inside and let them know what you’re doing, they are more than happy to accommodate you.
Keep your eyes open
Unless you are taking little ones there should be no need for life preservers, the water never gets really deep, in this area. There is one point where it is quite shallow and unless you like having your butt hairs scraped off, you might want to walk your rafts through. There is a divide you will come up to, you can go around to the ‘deep’ side, we chose the shallow side.
You do not need paddles, the river runs smoothly, if you find a need to ‘paddle’, your arms will get you going along just fine. There are a few houses along they way and you might catch a glimpse of a human from time to time, just give them a wave. These folks are very friendly and will surely wave back at you.
There are a couple of sandy spots along the way should you want to stop and have a look around, just pull up your rafts and get out. Have lunch, relax and enjoy the view. You might see some wild life coming to the water to get a drink. If you're too noisy, they will just leave you alone.
The rocks along the way will probably be the biggest you’ve ever seen in your life. Some as big as houses. You will go under I -80, make sure you wave at the Truckers, they will be the only ones to see you. There are several bridges along the way that you will go under as well, even and ‘old time’ train trestle.
It was as though someone designed this particular spot in the Allegheny River just for those who want to go floating.
If you choose to take the longer route into Parker, Pennsylvania (about 5 miles), there is a large parking lot in which to park your vehicle. The river opens up much wider at this point and is quite busy with boaters and such. Of course the water is much deeper in this area.
This trip can be made again and again once the rafts have been purchased, for just the cost of your food and gas to get there. Once you have made one trip down the Allegheny River you are going to be looking at other rivers which you can traverse.
If you don’t get to make it this year, make sure you include it in your plans for next year. Mark ‘Floating down the Allegheny River’ on your calendar, the sites are something that you don’t want to miss!