ASP_canoeBy Brian Minich

It’s beginning to feel like summer. Finally. The temperatures are warming up and so is the water. It’s time to grab the paddles and jump in. Here are some of the best places to take your canoe or kayak to cool off this season.

Allegheny River: One of the best sections of this river to float is from the Kinzua Dam down to Warren, Pa. This portion of river is 6.5 miles of great scenery and gentle flow. This float makes for a relaxing day since it requires very little thinking because of the lack of big rocks or rapids. This also makes it very beginner friendly for anyone new to the sport.

This section follows PA Route 59 through the Allegheny National Forest. The potential is high for viewing eagles, ospreys, and other wildlife, including the occasional black bear or whitetail deer crossing the river.

Allegheny Outfitters is located in Warren, Pa., and offers boat rentals along with a shuttle service for this float. They also offer options for longer floats to locations further down river.

Clarion River: The Clarion River is another watershed that runs through portions of the Allegheny National Forest. The closest option for this river is from Ridgeway, Pa., down to Portland Mills boat ramp. This section is roughly 8.5 miles with nothing but forest along its banks. There is very little development along this section and is also another great float for viewing wildlife. Many birds of prey, deer and turkey frequent this area. The Clarion is a much smaller river compared to the Allegheny, so you may have to pay attention for some rocks and shallow gravel bars depending on how high the river is flowing.

Country Squirrel Outfitters is based on Main Street in Ridgeway and offers boat rental and shuttle service for this river. Once again, longer floats can also be arranged with this outfitter.

Allegany State Park: Located just north of Bradford, Pa., and between the Salamanca and Onoville exits on Interstate 86, the park does not offer any moving water but does have a couple of nice lakes. Red House Lake seems to be the most popular since it is right next to the park headquarters and offers paddleboat rentals. On the other side of the park is Quaker Lake, which also is a great lake to float around on and has access right next to the spillway for getting to the water. Allegany State Park also offers cabin rentals and is a very popular weekend retreat.

Cattaraugus Creek: This creek, also known as the “Catt,” is for anyone that may be seeking a little more adventure. These waters can offer up to Class III rapids depending on the flow. The Catt serves as drainage for an area of over 400 square miles and can rapidly rise with a little rain, so caution should be used when planning a trip here. This is, however, one of the most scenic of trips as it flows through the famous Zoar Valley, located between Springville and Gowanda, N.Y. With high cliffs and cascades pouring down, it resembles one of the many canyon rivers from the western U.S. This water is not for the inexperienced and is best floated by kayak or a whitewater certified raft. Only seasoned rowers should attempt this as it is dangerous at higher levels.

So far, we have had a good start to the summer season for these water sports. Frequent rains have kept all the creeks, lakes and rivers at good levels. We are also entering the time of year that you may start finding good deals on kayaks and canoes as well, so be on the lookout.

Hope to see you on the water!


Allegheny Outfitters: (814) 723-1203 (Allegheny River)

Squirrel Country Outfitters: (814) 776-6285 (Clarion River)

Whitetail Country Sports World: (716) 373-2144 (Canoes, Kayaks and Info)