Day 1: we had a friend drive us to the Kinzua Dam visitors center. We launched from there. We actually had no idea how long the day would be because we had never been on the river and had never taken an extended kayak trip before. I planned 15 miles or so each day and had looked ahead to camp on the island just past Buckaloons (campground) and just before Tidioute bridge.
We were on the water by 11AM. It was cold for July; not more than 70. I was surprised at how clear the river was. We floated along for about an hour and a half with minimal paddling. The river was moving well. We stopped off at an island when we wanted lunch. I was actually looking for Allegheny Outfitters because I wanted to buy the guide book. About a half hour after lunch I was surprised when we passed Allegheny Outfitters. I didn't know how we had gone 7 miles in less than 3 hours with a stop for lunch.
Just after Allegheny Outfitters you get to an industrial part of the river. There was a small section of rapids and I took on a lot of water. We had to pull off at the next island to get the water out of my kayak. It completely covered my legs. Within 2 hours of that stop, we passed Buckaloons.
5 hours to go 15 miles. I was pretty impressed.
We stopped at the island right after Buckaloons and set up camp for the night. We had decided on hammock camping so we strung our hammocks and tarps and made dinner. We had a problem that night with raccoon. They were digging though our kayaks and creeping around under the hammock. We awoke the next morning and waited for the other half of our party to join us. We took off from the island around 10AM.
Our second day was pretty interesting. There was an "anything that floats" race going on. People had built platforms and floats and all kinds of crazy things and were partying on the water. There was a lot of drinking going on in that race and on boats in general. I was surprised because I thought it was against the law to drink on the river.
We saw many bald eagles along the way. The second 15 miles was faster than the first about 4 hours into the day we had already made it to Tidioute. We stopped off at the island just before the bridge and set up camp. We went swimming (or tried to) after we got in the water I realized why we were making such good time. The current was so fast it was very difficult to stand in the river. Another group of people that we did not know joined us for camping on the island. We stayed up pretty much all night.
We headed off for Tionesta about 9am the next day. Finally summer weather. It was 90 degrees by 10am. We all got so sunburned. The river was very crowded this day. About an hour into our day the river turned left sharply and the current slowed way down. It took us approximately 8 hours to reach Tionesta.
When I do this trip again I will go much father on the second day and not have to paddle so much on the third day. It was an amazing trip that any beginner can do. I will be making this a yearly adventure.
Kinzua visitors center start.
Tionesta light house finish.
1 established campground or primitive camping on route.
Jackson Day Tripper 10
The Kinzua Dam is located just outside Warren PA along route 59.
I have not used it, but would love to check out the book "The Allegheny River Paddling Guide"