I was looking at paddling the allegheny river, in a few weeks here and it appears my options for a shuttle are very limited. It has been years since I have paddled this river, and I was wondering how difficult it would be to paddle upstream back to where I put in. I was thinking of putting in right at the Kinzua Dam and going down to Buckaloons or Crulls Island staying the night and paddling back upstream… Would this be feasible? Any better ideas?
I suggest doing it the other way.
Find a put in downstream of your targeted camping islands, and paddle up to them. I haven’t seen Kinzua Dam in many years, but I would wonder if current below the dam might make coming back upstream more difficult.
That’s the way to do it
If you can paddle upstream to the dam from Buccaloons, you are the MAN or WOMAN whatever. You got 15 horsepower arms and back you are all set.
Allegheny Outfitters has livery by reservation only until Mem Day. We unfortunately found that out last weekend when we had to cancel our river paddling plans.
But you could fight your way upstream from Buc’s. You might have to step out around a couple of frothy areas. Going will be pretty slow on most areas. Flow has been low lately and frankly I do not know if that will make it better or worse. Low and scracthy = tighter shoots = bounce paddle off bottom = go backwards.
So it has been low lately? I thought because of the dam the water levels would be ok… hmm. Any other shuttle services besides allegheny??
Allegheny too low? No way
Below 2 on the Franklin gauge may be a little low for loaded canoes but kayaks are good to go. It is almost never too low but can be too high at times. It’s perfect ( High) right now at 5.12 Maybe too high for some paddlers http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv/?site_no=03025500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00010
I would never try to paddle upstream from Buckaloons to the dam. But that’s just me, I’m lazy.
Western Pa canoe guide AYH says it’s low if it’s below 1.7 at Franklin. It is below 1.7 only 1% of the time and above 4.9 at Franklin only 38% of the time. I have run it as high a 7’ but it is not as much fun as when it’s low. Everything is washed out, It’s just one huge mass of water and a fast trip downstream
Outflow at Kinzua Dam
I went down there when they were letting out 900 cfs. That was low and bumpy. We actually got stuck on the bottom a few times at the deepest point in the river. I went down when it was 10000 cfs.. whee!!.. River was smoother but current kind of quick. Don't know what the maximum recommendation is though. Between 1400cfs and 5000cfs is best paddling IMHO.
Here is the guages page.
I would not try paddling up this section either because, what is the point? Water and boats are meant to flow downhill.
If it were me
I’d go to Warren, Tionesta or Tidioute, hang out at a gas station/convenience store for a little while and find someone who would take 20 or so dollars to follow me up to my chosen put-in, there I’d lock up my boat, and then have the guy follow me to the take out where I’d drop my car and have him take me back to the put in. Or something like that.
A guy with a pick-up woud be best, that way you don’t have to leave your gear with the boat while setting up shuttle.
I wouldn’t try paddling back up to the dam from Buckaloons either. If you were a poler, then maybe.
I’d take a bicycle
And I have taken a bicycle.
My wife and I went from Buckaloons to Oil City on a several day outing, locking the bikes at the police station at Oil City (they have an impoundment area fenced in for recovered stolen bikes).
We dropped the bikes off in Oil City, drove to Buckaloons where we left the car, paddled down to Oil City, cycled back to Buckaloons (a lovely ride) and took the car back to Oil City where we’d locked the canoe (using the bike locks).