Rafting Pennsylvania's mighty Yough

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine

Week of September 5-11, 1996
Rafting Pennsylvania's mighty Yough
Question: Could I get some suggestions for whitewater rafting in the mid-Atlantic region? Thanks.

Barbara Wahasek
Washington, D.C.
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Head west to the lower Youghiogheny River (FYI, it's pronounced yock-i-ganey), about two hours south of Pittsburgh near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. Wilderness Voyageurs, located just inside Ohiopyle State Park, runs four- to five-hour trips down seven panic-inducing sets of Class III-IV rapids for $29-$43 per person, depending on what day it is. Don't worry: I braved the mighty Yough when I was 12 and somehow lived to tell about it, so while the fast-running whitewater definitely deserves respect, it is doable. Guided trips go out most every day from April 1 to October 1 and usually require advance reservations (call 800-272-4141).

While you're in the area, plan on pitching your tent for a night at one of six primitive campsites in nearby Bear Run Nature Preserve. The camping is free, unrestricted, and perfectly situated on the banks of low-key Bear Run, close to a 17-mile hardpack mountain biking trail along the Youghiogheny. You could also try the Peninsula Trail, a hiker-friendly route that hugs the Yough and then climbs to a stellar outcrop overlooking the river gorge. Wilderness Voyageurs rents mountain bikes for $15 per day.

Getting there means heading west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70/76) to Exit 9 and following Pennsylvania 31 and 381 south about 22 miles to Bear Run Center. For more information, call the folks at Ohiopyle State Park at 412-329-8591 or the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (412-288-2777).

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