White-Water Rafting & Kayaking Destinations in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania abounds with diverse waterways that offer some of the most adrenaline-pumping white water rafting and kayaking experiences in the US.
From tackling the rapids on the Lehigh River to floating on the beautiful Youghiogheny, there are endless options for beginners and pros alike.
It has many state and national parks that are home to plenty of scenic streams and rivers.
These waterways nestled amidst stunning natural surroundings offer unforgettable kayaking and white-water rafting experiences.
Here are some of the 7 top-rated white-water rafting, kayaking destinations in Pennsylvania that you must consider for your next water adventure in the Keystone State: –
Youghiogheny River #1
This mighty river flows through the stunning Ohiopyle State Park in the Laurel Highlands region. There are different sections of the river, each of which offers a different experience.
If you’re a beginner, stick to the Middle Yough (pronounced as “yawk”) where you won’t find powerful rapids but can enjoy a more laid-back experience.
Got some more experience?
The 7.5-mile stretch of Lower Yough is perfect for tackling class III and IV rapids. If you’re a pro, the Upper Yough won’t disappoint as it’s popular for its aggressive class IV and V rapids.
Three Rivers Water Trail #2
Nestled in Pittsburgh, this urban waterway runs for around 75 miles and draws many rafters and kayakers. It includes the Allegheny, Monongahela, Youghiogheny, and Ohio Rivers.
Each of these has its own set of unique offerings. While the Ohio River is best for beginners, the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers offer challenging rapids and are best suited for pros.
Considered a National Recreational Trail, it has ample access points and is well-marked.
You can also find food and lodging options nearby. Permits are optional to launch from the access points.
You can rent your equipment from one of the numerous outfitters here or even hop along on a guided tour offered by many of them.
Lehigh River #3
Running between the beautiful Pocono & Appalachian mountains, Lehigh River has Class I, II, and III rapids, and offers something for rafters of all skill levels.
If you’re looking for an adventurous ride, go on dam release days when there is an increase in the volume of water which leads to more swells.
Many sections here are quite family-friendly and perfect for beginners.
This is also a preserved wildlife area so keep your eyes peeled for birds, plants, and animals along the way.
Schuylkill River #4
This beautiful river offers a special experience for history buffs, nature lovers, and adventure junkies alike. The river is a designated State and National Heritage Area.
There are many historical and cultural landmarks to witness along the 128-mile river. You’ll move past many old river towns which offer a peek into the region’s rich past.
If you’re interested to know more, go for a guided kayak tour. You’re also likely to spot wildlife during your journey.
Whether you’re going for a multi-day kayaking tour or a single-day trip, this scenic river won’t disappoint.
Visiting during spring?
Join many other boaters on water treks during one of the numerous Pennsylvania Sojourn events. It’s one of the best white-water rafting, kayaking destinations in Pennsylvania.
Presque Isle State Park #5
Soak in the tranquil vibe as you kayak on the calm waters of Lake Erie in Presque Isle State Park. It’s a peninsula that is sprawled across seven miles with the waters of Lake Erie surrounding it.
If you’re a beginner, you can hone your skills on the smaller lagoons in the park.
Got some experience to boast of?
Head to the waters that surround the park.
The scenic beauty of the park and the lake make the experience even more enjoyable. You can get kayak or canoe rentals from one of the many outfitters close to the park.
There are also ample boat ramps, picnic tables, and grills nearby, which make this place perfect for a fun family outing.
The Allegheny River Water Trail #6
Stretching for over 85 miles, the Allegheny River Water Trail is one of the best white-water rafting and kayaking destinations in Pennsylvania.
Whether you’re looking to tackle challenging rapids or wish to navigate calmer waters, there are various sections of the river that cater to beginners and pros alike.
For more experienced rafters, the rapids near Oil City are a major draw.
Beginners can explore the calmer waters outside Oil City. Since the river is considered a National Wild and Scenic Recreation River, you might spot wildlife along the way.
Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles. With so much to offer, it was selected as Pennsylvania’s 2017 River of the Year.
Delaware River Water Trail #7
Feel the adrenaline course through your body as you go for a thrilling rafting and kayaking experience on the Delaware River Water Trail.
Beginner rafters can enjoy the rolling rapids while the pros tackle the trickier ones.
The Delaware River Gap section is one of the most popular areas amongst kayakers. The Delaware River Gap National Recreation Area is also one of the most scenic natural areas on the river.
Most of the sections of the river have numerous outfitters and guides, which adds to the convenience.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the best white-water rafting and kayaking destinations in the country.
So, pick the one that attracts you the most and get ready for an epic adventure.
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Q. Which location is best for kayaking?
Located in northwest Pennsylvania, Lake Erie is one of the best places for kayaking in the state.
Q. Can you kayak at night in Pennsylvania?
If you’re kayaking at night, you’re required to have a light on your kayak to signal other boaters and avoid collisions.
Q. Can you kayak to the Statue of Liberty?
Yes, you can kayak to the Statue of Liberty & enjoy a close-up view of the monument.