Pittsburgh Kayaking?

Hello -

I may be looking at an eventual relocation to the Pittsburgh Area.

I see that 3 rivers come together there. Can anyone tell me about how clean the water is, any physical dynamics (fast moving current etc.). Is there much of a paddling community there? I’m typically out on the upper Hudson (paddle a tempest)…so I’m not really talking about little creeks n’ such. I’ve never been to the town, and hoping that the post-industrial images that come to mind are not how it really is.

What’s the scene like over there?

Thanks for any info.


I am a former "Burger
There is a growing flatwater paddling scene in Pgh. Exkursion has a paddling shop branch of their outdoor store nearby, ther is a non-profit renting kayaks, and water quality is apparently always improving. Herr’s Island, once the location of slaughterhouses, is now redeveloped as a business park/condo place and the rowers op[erate out of a club there. The Three Rivers Paddling Club is very active (Google TRPC).

A great place to live now.


America’s Most Liveable City
Last year Pittsburgh was identified as one of the five best “outdoor” cities in the country. The availability of paddling opportunities was one of the criteria for the selection.

How clean is the water? Normally the water is very clean. There is a boat that does environmental tours of the three rivers. According to them, the water flowing by the point is as clean today as it was when the city of Pittsburgh was founded. Unfortunately, like most big cities, the sewers and the street water-runoff use the same pipes. Consequently, when there is rain of much quantity, sewage does go out into the rivers. (The good news on this is that last week, the city and surrounding communities agreed to make the necessary investment to correct this.)

Is there much current? It’s 2 big rivers forming a really big river! All that water is going somewhere. Generally there isn’t much current (a lot of sloshing from motor boats) because of the dams, but with wind and a big rain storm, it can be a force. There is a kayak rental facility right at the point; so, obviously there are a lot of neophytes paddling around there.

Paddling at Pittsburgh’s point could get old in a hurry. It’s very scenic; you’ll probably have plenty of company; but it’s not very challenging. There are a number of rowing clubs up the Allegheny river - it’s probably more interesting for paddling up there - but its still paddling in a river.

A paddling community in Pittsburgh? A surprising number of the PNet regulars are from western PA. There are good lakes north of the city with paddler orgs and the white water within an hour drive is pretty good. You will always find people there to paddle with.

One more note … last month Pittsburgh was named once again “America’s most liveable city” for 2007.

very dynamic whitewater community
… can’t really say much about the paddling downtown.

The Three Rivers Paddling Club is a fantastic resource for learning and doing whitewater. If you are single or otherwise have a fair amount of free time, I’d strongly suggest you hook up.


As far as how good the paddling is in and around Pittsburgh, I guess it depends on where you are coming from. It’s certainly not bad.

If you do relocate here, buy/live in the northern suburbs (if the “burbs” are your thing). That’s about the best advice anyone could give a newcommer. Fortunately, I married a local, or I probably would have screwed up.

South Hills
aren’t too bad either.

All rivers are clean…

– Last Updated: May-31-07 10:37 PM EST –

just some are cleaner. I paddled the nastiest river in the state...because it was the nastiest.
Paddle & have fun

Look at WV
Plus you are a short drive from some great water in WV.

I miss Ohiopyle!
Good, fun ww area. Great atmoshpere, too.