Allegheny Wild and Scenic River, PA
August 19, 20, 21, 2022


Three segments of the Allegheny River are part of the National Wild & Scenic River System. On this trip we will paddle two of them:
7 miles from below Kinzua Dam to Buckaloons (near US Route 62 bridge in Irvine)
14 miles from Buckaloons Campground to Tidioute

The Allegheny River is one of the primary tributaries to the Ohio River. It joins with the Monongahela River at the "Point" in Pittsburgh, PA to form the Ohio River. The Allegheny starts in Pennsylvania, near Cobb Hill, meanders into New York and then back into Pennsylvania northeast of Warren. The course of the river forms much of the northwestern boundary of the Allegheny National Forest before reaching Franklin where the river turns southeast. Within the borders of the Allegheny National Forest the river is fed by Kinzua Creek, Conewango Creek, Brokenstraw Creek, Tionesta Creek, Oil Creek and French Creek. The Clarion River joins the Allegheny near Kittanning.

The river corridor boundary runs along the plateau ridge on both sides. There are extensive areas of privately owned lands with many homes and seasonal recreational residences along the shoreline. Public access is generally good from both sides, and few hazards make this an ideal river for novice and family canoeing. Oak forests predominate along steep side slopes and there is wooded-riverine habitat in some of the floodplains.

The Allegheny Islands Wilderness is located within the Allegheny Wild and Scenic River, and contains seven islands stretched between Buckaloons and Tionesta. The islands are popular for dispersed camping, exploration, and viewing scenery and wildlife. They are mostly vegetated with fine riverine forests of sycamore, silver maple, shagbark hickory, and green ash. Dense grasses and other thick vegetation make access limited. There are no developed trails or other facilities on the islands. We can stop for lunch at one of these islands.

We will be camping at the Buckaloons Campground, which sits at the confluence of the Allegheny River, Brokenstraw Creek and Irvine Run in near Warren, PA. This 61-site campground offers access to the Allegheny River via a one-lane concrete boat launch. I plan to reserve sites 54, 56, 58 (non-electric), and 02 (electric) when the reservation window opens. Buckaloons offers flush and vault toilets, a pressurized water system, hot showers, a dump station and electric hookups. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.

Once the site of an Indian trading post, the Buckaloons Recreation Area has numerous apple trees through the area, as well as mixed hardwoods. Water-loving species such as sycamore, willow, alder, silver maple, and butternut are frequent components of the riverine forest. Blue and green herons, bald eagles, egrets, and a variety of smaller birds can be seen along the Allegheny River. The Allegheny is classified as a warm-water fishery, but some cold-water species thrive as well. Freshwater mussels are abundant in species and number and indicate the high water quality of this river. Deer, bear, turkey, and squirrels are common, along with a variety of smaller mammals such as raccoon, opossum, and muskrat.