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Water Trails > Clarion River Water Trail

Clarion River Water Trail (PA)

Location: NW Pennsylvania
Length: approx. 52 miles long
24 documented access points

The Clarion River, once believed to be the most polluted river in Pennsylvania, is now well on its way to full recovery. Today, the river is recovering from degradation because many people from local industry, government and nonprofit organizations have been working together to restore it for all to enjoy. The main-stem Clarion Riverís most recovered portion is in its middle section, from the area of Hallton to just above the Piney Dam impoundment near Clarion.

Today, the river meanders through narrow valleys of hardwood forests. Wildlife, intermittent riffles and rock outcrops provide inspiring scenery. Outstanding features include a nationally recognized area of virgin white pine and hemlock, a federally designated 51.7-mile stretch of Wild & Scenic River, and a prehistoric animal footprint.

The Clarion River is considered a Class I river. Its characteristics make the Clarion a desirable river for canoeists of all abilities. On a scale of I-VI, the I denotes fast-moving water with riffles and small waves; few or no obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training; risk to swimmer is slight; and self-rescue is easy. Keep in mind that classifications can change with high water levels.

The best time to float the Clarion River is in early summer. The normal summer flow of the Clarion River along the length of the trail accommodates small, shallow-draft powered and non-powered watercraft. In late summer, the river becomes shallow at times and boat bottoms can drag on the streambed. Your float time will vary according to the season and weather. Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for updated information about river conditions.

View maps of Upper & Lower sections
These Clarion River maps list a number of river access/take-out points and a short description of each. Local citizens suggested most of these access points for listing, which were then field-verified by WPC. Many of these access sites are undeveloped, receive minimal maintenance and have limited capacity to support large groups. Please refer to the description accompanying each access point for more information. Use your best judgment when planning your trips with respect to water levels, weather conditions, trip length, nearby accommodations, property ownership and safety. Respect the rights of private property owners.

View pdf file on the Clarion River (large 2.4 MB download)

Contact Info:

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
800 Waterfront Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
phone: 412-288-2777
toll-free: 1-866-564-6972 Watertrail Index

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