Rust Belt Paddling: Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Water Trail

70 miles of paddling along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers

Photo courtesy Venture Outdoors

Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Water Trail

Pittsburgh's rebirth has garnered a lot of press, but it’d be hard to find a better way to appreciate its dapper new duds than by boat. The Three Rivers Water Trail is 70 miles along three rivers: the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio. The Department of the Interior named it a National Recreation Trail, a designation garnered by its many fine features, such as 18 ADA compliant access points, all with boat racks and signage. If you've never used a lock to bypass a dam, they're an added attraction.

Thomas Baxter, the Executive Director of Friends of the Riverfront, said, "There are locks and dams on all three rivers and canoes and kayaks are able to lock through free of charge. You'll find a map at our website."

The three rivers green the Steel City.

Baxter said, "I like the Three River Water Trail because it doesn't feel industrialized. The river has gone green again. You see skyscrapers in the background, but you're surrounded by trees and trails."

Variety is the rule rather than the exception on the three rivers.

"You get different experiences on different sections, from industrial to post-industrial to secluded islands. Watching the fireworks from the rivers when the Steelers win is hugely popular."

Kayak Pittsburgh rents kayaks and canoes and you'll share the rivers with other self-propelled boats.

"We also have a lot of rowing facilities. Rowing goes back over a hundred years here," Baxter said.

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