Allegheny River Kayak – Trip Report

This was my second overnight paddle trip – the first being the Delaware River.  Both are technically easy kayak trips but I found them to be much different from one another.

The scenery is beautiful in parts, but the majority of the trip is through populated areas with cottages, and with the cottages comes the noise, boats and seadoos.  There are parts that have the feeling of seclusion but I was disappointed with the serenity of the trip as a whole – I never really felt like I was in deep woods.

However, if you are ever in an emergency situation help is never far away.

Checkout the map posted below for more trip details.

Day 1 – Starting at the Visitor Center Near Kinzua Dam

I find one of the most difficult parts about kayaking rivers is getting back to my vehicle at the end. For this trip, I found an outfit called Allegheny Outfitters that offers to shuttle your car for you.  For a fee, they drive your car and leave it at a designated parking lot downstream.  While I was a bit nervous with someone else having my car for the weekend, it ended up going without a hitch and my car was exactly where I expected it at the end.

I started my kayak trip down the Allegheny River at the Visitor Center just below Kinzua Dam. From here, it’s a relaxing paddle downriver to the city of Warren, PA.  The paddle is fairly easy as the current is not fast but steady.  You’ll know you are in Warren when you see the massive refinery to your right.  I averaged about 10-11mins/km for this first stretch of about 13km.

In Warren, I stopped at a park on the left-hand side that has some steps.  Up the steps there was a water fountain and some benches so I took this opportunity to refill my water bottles and have a few peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

After Warren, the current slows – I was averaging about 12-17mins/km.  I passed by Buckaloons Recreational Area, which is a possible place to camp and continued another 2km to Crulls Island.

Buckaloons is a regular campsite with all the amenities you’d expect at such a site.  If toilets and picnic tables are more your thing, I’d recommend staying here.

Crulls Island is roughing it.  There are no toilets, no picnic tables, basically there is nothing.  This was more what I wanted – peace and quiet.  There are a few sites acceptable for camping on the island.  I went to the right side of the island and choose one of the first spots I saw.  There aren’t too many, so I’d try and get there early if you can.  There are a few more islands downstream as well if you cant find anything on Crulls Island.

It took me just over 6 hours to make the 28km trip from the Visitor Center to Crulls Island. (4.55 km/h avg)  This includes a quick stop for lunch and some time taken for photos along the way.

Since I arrived early afternoon I took my time setting up my campsite, gathering some wood, swimming in the river, which was quite cold, and then relaxing with a book before retiring for the night early.

Day 2 – Crulls Island to Courson Island (Tidioute)

My plan for Day 2 was the easiest of the trip.  At just 20km it took me only 4.5 hours to complete.  This section had some fairly flat sections mixed in with some flowing sections with no large rapids of any kind – it’s really quite a leisurely day.

Once you start getting close to Tidioute, keep an eye out for potential campsites.  Once you get into Tidioute there aren’t really many places to camp.

I stayed on Courson Island which was quite similar to Crulls Island.

Day 3 – Tidioute to Tionesta

The last leg of my trip was as long as the first leg at 28km and again, took me slightly over 6 hours to complete. It was generally fairly flat except right near the end. Near the end, there are some large rapids that you can optionally bypass to the right or hit it straight on staying to the left. I stayed in the rapids for awhile surfing the currents – by far this was the most exciting part of the river.

The pullout point is a bit hard to see at first, but its just a bit past these rapids, on the left.  You will also see a lighthouse.  The pullout point is before the lighthouse.

Highlights

I did see a few Bald Eagles along the way. There were plenty of birds and a few other small critters but I really didnt encounter much wildlife which was dissapointing .

Allegheny River Map

Equipment

This is the equipment list I created for myself of things to bring.  Its probably a good starting point as an example overnight kayak packing list.  Different situations will cause for slightly different gear, but I believe this would be a good base for most people.  Be sure to leave a comment if you think I missed something.

  • BBQ Lighter
  • Water proof matches
  • Butane Burner
  • Butane
  • Newspaper
  • Hot Dog Cooker Stick
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Tent
  • Travel Pillow
  • Blanket(s)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Rechargeable batteries (AA)
  • Flashlight
  • Head Lamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe
  • Lip Chap
  • Advil
  • Sun Glasses
  • Rope
  • Maps (sealed in plastic)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Tenacious Tape
  • Cell Phone
  • Power Bank
  • USB Cable
  • Toilet Paper in Zip Lock Bag
  • Soft Cooler
  • Paper Plates/Utensil Set
  • Flipper
  • Cooking Pot
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Water Bottle (Camelback x2)
  • Filtering Water Bottle
  • 10L Dry Bag & 20L Dry Bag

Clothes

  • Singlet
  • 5-Finger Shoes
  • Merrell Running Shoes
  • Hat
  • Hoodie
  • Jeans/Long Pants
  • Bathing Suit
  • Shorts
  • T-Shirt
  • Underwear
  • Bandana
  • Socks
  • Towel

Camera Gear

  • A6000 with Case
  • Sony 16-50mm Lens
  • Sony 55-210mm Lens
  • Sigma 30mm Lens
  • Battery x3
  • SD Cards
  • Mini-tripod
  • Lens Cloth
  • Lens Polarizer
  • Camera Timer

Paddle Gear

  • Paddle
  • Paddle Leash
  • Bailer
  • Sponge
  • PFD
  • Whistle

Photos of the Delaware River

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