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  Allegheny Reservoir
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-18-11 3:55 PM (EST)
   Category: Destinations 

I was wondering if anyone here had kayaked here before and if it was a nice place for floating. I was thinking of camping a few days in the National Forest there and floating all day. Anyone with experience there, good places to go, where not to go, your thoughts would be appreciated.

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  I went there...
  Posted by: ByronWalter on Apr-18-11 4:07 PM (EST)
...once. What I learned was that you should consider going either early or late in the season. I went just before the labor day weekend and had planned to spend three nights at the water access camp sites (no road access).

What I found was a lake absolutely packed with power boats towing skiers & tubers at high rates of speed.

I headed to one of the water access campsites and it was standing room only. I headed back to the boat ramp and called it a day.

I swear that damn near every boater in a 250 mile radius was there that day. Hopefully others will provide a more encouraging counter point.
 
 
  I agree
  Posted by: willowleaf on Apr-18-11 5:57 PM (EST)
The reservoir is power boat hell. I would not paddle there any time from April to October. That is pretty typical of most reservoirs. Nasty diesel exhaust, reckless ski-boats and jet-skis churning up wakes. And the campgrounds are always overrun and noisy.

There are plenty of great lakes and rivers in PA that have limited HP, "electric only" or non-motorized boat designation. One of the loveliest in my experience is Yellow Creek just west of Indiana, a meandering lake with lots of inlets and beautiful camping areas and day-hiking trails.

Pick up a copy of "Paddling Pennsylvania" that was just published earlier this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Paddling-Pennsylvania-Kayaking-Canoeing-Keystone/dp/0811736261

Lots of good advice there on lakes and streams in the Allegheny drainage and points farther East.
 
 
  late oct
  Posted by: NCKT65 on Apr-18-11 9:16 PM (EST)
I think it may have been the 2nd week of Oct. Fall colors were peak. I paddled the length camping several night. With the exception of a few early morning fish boats, I had the entire waterway to myself. It was blissful. I have backpacked this area for many years and was happy to see it by water.
 
 
  not too bad early spring or late fall
  Posted by: Twilight_Paddler on Apr-18-11 10:10 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-18-11 10:15 PM EST --

if you can go early spring or very late fall it can be nice... if you want to paddle in camp, legally you have to use the designated campgrounds - $10 a night unless they changed pricing this year.... or you can hike back 1500 feet from the reservoirs edge to camp legally... i believe there are about 5 or 6 boat to or hike in campgrounds - no access via vehicles... others are accessible by vehicle but generally are only open during the warmer summer months...

between labor day and memorial day the reservoir is packed with powerboats - most are decent folk, but the usual drunken fools are around also... personally i enjoy the boat wakes to break the monotony of flat water....

the reservoir has a long fetch when the wind is in the right direction - it can really get rocking and rolling (lots of fun) but you need to be a decent paddler - it can get downright dangerous for the inexperienced paddler.... check weather forecasts before going.... during the summer, it is generally fairly calm early morning and evening, but the wind generally picks up during the day as the sun warms the air and starts the convection process.... weather can be completely different from the northern end to the southern end....

typically the campgrounds are fairly clean and the outhouses (pit toilets) kept up... (*note: during the summer, large groups of drunks will trash the place, but the maintainers do a fairly decent job of getting it cleaned up within a few days...

if you go during the summer, leave plenty of time in case the campground you wanted is full and you have to paddle to another - most are a few hours of paddling apart...

personally - i despise the reservoir during the summer months, but i do enjoy paddle in camping there in late october, november, and december (until it freezes over)...

early spring and late fall - plan for thick fog in the morning and evening, as in - you can't see the bow of your boat while paddling....

many nice scenic hiking trails are spread around reservoir - most pass through or near the campgrounds...

for canoing or inexperienced paddlers, i would recommend morrison run campground down at the southern end - about 45 minutes paddle from the boat launch and mostly protected from wind - i've never seen it so bad that i was nervous to paddle.... the northern end seems to experience worse conditions at times - i've stayed a day extra to wait out winds when canoing up at that end - i don't worry about it when kayaking though.... wind driven waves have been large enough to swamp my canoe there.... with that said, hooks brook is a nice boat to site - depending on your paddling speed, it generally takes about an hour and 1/2 paddle time if launching from willow bay....

allegheny site management takes care of most of the campgrounds - they are good people so don't try to rip them off... besides, the fines aren't worth it... most sites and parking are self pay - but they do check!!!

edit:
parking is $5 a day unless they changed pricing... this is in addition to the campsite fee...

also, don't plan on going during the opening days of deer season - many hunters boat to the sites that day and the night before... some of the campgrounds fill up fast....

 

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