Lower and Middle Youghiogheny River

Rafting: Lower and Middle Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania
Hitting the hard stuff on the Lower Yough (Kate O'Mara/courtesy, Wilderness Voyageurs)
Lower and Middle Youghiogheny River at a Glance
Price: $
River Rapid Class: Middle: I-II; Lower: II-IV
Trip in Miles: Middle: 8 miles; Lower: 7.5 miles
Trip Duration: 1 day
Season: Middle: June-September; Lower: April-October
Raft Types: Paddle Raft
River Sections: Middle, Lower (Ohiopyle to Bruner Run)
Nearby Towns: Ohiopyle (PA)
Gateway City: Ohiopyle (PA)
Driving Times: Pittsburgh (PA): 1.5 hours; Washington, D.C.: 3.5 hours

"The Yough is the mother of commercial rafting--not only because it's perhaps the first river to host commercial rafting, but also because it's the first whitewater experience for thousands. The river is easily reachable from Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, and a reasonable trip from the greater New York metro area.

At its wildest in Maryland, the middle and lower sections of the Yough get a little more manageable as the river runs north into Pennsylvania past Ohiopyle State Park (camping available). The Lower Yough, which is fed by regular water releases from the Youghiogheny Dam, is a good introductory river for beginner and intermediate rafters, with some fun Class III-IV rapids--including some memorable collisions with Dimple Rock at the Dimple rapid--that are interspersed among more relaxing floats through deep, benign pools. Outfitters run the river from below Ohiopyle Falls to Bruner Run, a 7.5-mile stretch that's also wildly popular. To reduce overcrowding, put-in times are carefully managed by Pennsylvania's Bureau of State Park so advanced reservations are recommended, particularly for summer weekends.

Compared to the lower and upper sections, the middle Yough is an easy summer float ideal for kids and beginners. The water on this eight-mile stretch doesn't get much rougher than a mild Class II riffle, so makes for a great spot to enjoy a scenic and fun day on the river without having to sweat the big stuff. However, given that rafting trips on the middle Yough are also scheduled on demand, you should book in advance to secure the days and times you want."

Published: 31 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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