PA - Allegheny Islands Wilderness Area

Taking the Kinzua to Emlenton trip this June. Anyone on here done this trip before? Just wondering about others’ experiences with this stretch of river…I hear it’s pretty nice.

Allegheny River trip
My wife and I took a trip from Buckaloons to Kennerdell which is most of the way to Emlenton.

The river is quite pretty. Some cottages. Some places where there are motorboats but not too many.

The river is below class I water, suitable for beginners. The islands in the upper portion are great for camping.

The river speed depends on the Kinzua Dam release. Last time we expected to go from Buckaloons to Oil City in 3 days and wound up far downstream in Kennerdell. As we had stashed our bicycles in Oil City we had to arrange a rural transport ride from Kennerdell to Oil City and then rode Rt. 62 up to Buckaloons to complete the shuttle.

A very nice trip.

Marty Cooperman

Allegheny River
Have done the Allegheny from Tionesta to Emlenton and Franklin to Emlenton about a dozen times, last time about 10 yrs ago. Lots of power boats and ATVs on shore, good trip, not as good as it was. Mostly all flat water, head winds starting about 11am, get on river early. You can get water from camps along river in season. fishing runs hot and cold, mostly smallmouth

Is there anywhere to find out what islands are public land (or at least legal to be camped on)? Especially down by Oil City I’m having trouble figuring out where we’re going to camp…or can you pretty much camp anywhere along the bank?

The state has water trails maps at

and some links to outfitters who may be able to give you the lowdown on camping. These guys have an outdoors forum where you might find some info

I only paddled there once a long time ago. We camped on an island somewhere near Tidioute. The fishing was lousy that weekend but it was a nice trip.

Yeah I have that map actually, but do you know what the white islands are as far as ownership? There’s nothing in the key for them, so I’m not sure if they’re privately owned or if they can be camped on.

Crulls and Thompson
You can camp on either of those two islands. Maybe it is Thomas Island.

As you get below Tidioute, I cannot help you.

Island camping
As far as I know, the only problem you might have is an island near Tidioute that has a cottage on it. I’ve camped on most of the islands betwenn Warren and Tionesta without incident. It’s been many years since I’ve camped between Tionesta and Oil City and I don’t remember much other than finding a good site isn’t easy. Oil City to Franklin camping is almost non-existent. River right is PA Rt. 8 (4 lanes) and river left is the bike trail and lots of private property. River left just below Franklin is a multiple party site with shelters, tent pads and port-a-pots that I think is part of the bike trail. Downriver from there to Emlenton, there are some nice sites but difficult to spot from the water. Most of them are river right. Below Kennerdell is a great site with a small waterfall and pool just a few hundred yds up the hill.

Paddled Warren to Emlenton
Two summers ago. You can camp on just about any island. We camped our first night at the Buckaloons. The first island past the Buckaloons is Crulls island and has two well established campsites on the right side. Next is Thompsons island which also has extablished campsites on the right side. J.R. Thompsons island follows and is also avail. to campers. There are many islands between Kinzua and Tidioute all open for camping. Two of the islands towards Tidioute are privately owned. They are not posted. One of them has a cottage on it. I would not camp there. The last island before Tidioute and the first one after the bridge both have established campsites on them. The one before the bridge has a campsite on its left. There are actually two islands below the bridge. Go either between them or river right. The campsite is about center of the island to the right. In Tionesta we camped at the Eagles Nest. There are a couple of islands before Tionesta but due to past tornado damage not much shelter on them. There is Outback Outfitters past the bridge on the right. They rent teepees! They would have information on camping along the river there. The next campsite is in President. I remember a couple of islands that looked OK for camping between Tionesta and Oil City. We had booked a room at the hotel next to the bridge in Oil City. Nice little break with hot showers and Mexican food for dinner. The Oil City rapid is next to and runs under that bridge and was how we started out the next day. Wasn’t nearly as scary as all the warnings. The river moves rather slowly between Oil City and Franklin. We wanted to make the Danners Rest campsite that day and we didn’t make it. We set up camp on the river bank at dusk. Next morning set out and just around the first bend was Danners Rest. There is a campground at Kennerdell. We visited with some folks putting in at Kennerdell as we floated by. We had a friend waiting for us when we arrived in Emlenton. We spent six days on the river and averaged between 18 - 20 miles a day. When we do it again we plan on taking more time and keeping the paddling to 12 - 15 miles per day.


camping on river islands
I would like to add to this, that the island with two cottages one yellow and one grey just down river from oleoplise, are privatly owned. We don’t like to post our property, and really don’t have to. In years past we didn’t mind people stopping and camping on the island. But now because of the needless vandalism of our trees, and the repeataly breakins to our cottage have cause us to change our minds. If found on the island we will have you arrested for tresspassing, and yes we own to the rivers edge.