Riversport School of Paddling

Since 1981 Riversport School of Paddling has been teaching quality canoe and kayak instruction to thousands of beginner to advanced paddlers. They are the only outfitter who’s sole focus is teaching kayaking in the area. Their week long kids summer camps are wildly popular. They also do a parent/child week along with their standard group or private lessons by the day, weekend or week.

Confluence is arguably one of the very best spots in the world to learn to kayak. It’s like visiting Aspen, Colorado in the winter and not skiing.  We’ve got clean, warm, consistent water year round along with the perfectly progressive whitewater for a beginning paddler up to class V. Learn to roll on the warm Yough Lake, then learn to steer your kayak on the slow moving current of the Yough below the dam. Just downstream at Ramcat Rapid, you’ll learn to catch eddies, peel outs and ferries. Next it’s on to another local class II river like the Casselman, Laurel Hill or Cheat Narrows. From there you’ll have your choice of a variety of class III runs in the area like the Loop, Lower Yough, Upper Casselman, Cheat Canyon and other rain fed creeks and streams. For the experienced boater, you’ll most likely spend time on the Lower Yough working on technique to get you ready for the harder class IV-V runs in the area like the Upper Yough.

Riversport is on the bike trail, next to Lucky Dog Cafe (near the Tree and Riverhouse and a short walk from the Stonehouse). They also rent rafts, SUP boards, canoes and recreation kayaks for the Middle Yough float trip. They also have bike rentals and a whitewater retail shop.

If you are interested in a float trip but don’t want to spend the entire day on the river, ask about the Mini float. It’s perfect for families with small children or if you don’t have a lot of time.

Ohiopyle State Park

Located on the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, Ohiopyle State Park encompasses approximately 20,500 acres of rugged natural beauty and serves as the gateway to the Laurel Highlands. Close to major metropolitan areas and offering vast choices of activities, Ohiopyle State Park attracts millions of visitors annually. Confluence is 5 miles from the park. It’s a 15 minute drive to the Falls.

Passing through the heart of the park, the rushing waters of the Youghiogheny [yawki-gay-nee] River Gorge are the centerpiece for Ohiopyle. The “Yough” [yawk] provides some of the best whitewater boating in the eastern United States, as well as spectacular scenery.

Ohiopyle is the southern gateway into the Laurel Highlands and represents the beautiful natural resources and unique sense of community that visitors can find throughout the region.

More information here

Yough Lake

The Yough Lake is 2 minutes from our house. Turn left at the end of our road and make your next left. It’s a nice view crossing the top of the earthen dam that you won’t want to miss. The lake has a sandy beach for swimming (no lifeguards) and there is a dock for launching boats. Please obey Coast Guard rules. The fishing is great and there are folks waterskiing and jetskiing. The water is warm and clean. Picnic tables and grills are available. The marina is located on the other access point where route 40 crosses the lake.

More info:

In the heart of the Laurel Highlands and spanning the Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland lays Youghiogheny River Lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to experience the clean waters, mountains and steep-sided valleys which encompass the project and provide an unsurpassed setting for outdoor recreation opportunities.

A popular location for recreation, Youghiogheny River Lake attracts numerous visitors each year.  Boating, hunting, camping and many other outdoor activities are enjoyed by visitors with outstanding facilities provided for the public’s convenience.

Boaters consider Youghiogheny River Lake, with all of its 16-mile length and channels up to one-half mile wide, the best power boating and water-skiing lake in southwestern Pennsylvania.

For the angler, there are numerous coves and backwater areas along the lake which provide excellent fishing. The lake is inhabited by a large variety of game and panfish and is especially known as a hotspot for walleye and smallmouth bass. A license has been granted to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for fish management purposes in the Pennsylvania portion of the lake. The Fish and Boat Commission has also developed and maintains the Jockey Hollow Boat Launching Area. The tail waters of the dam are very popular for trout fishing. Youghiogheny River Lake’s outflow area is one of the few areas in Pennsylvania open for trout fishing year round (except for the two weeks immediately preceding Opening Day) and is stocked by the Fish and Boat Commission on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer.

For those who prefer to propel their boats with a paddle, the Youghiogheny River has plenty to offer. From the outflow area of the dam and extending for approximately 20 miles downstream is one of the most popular rafting and canoeing rivers in the eastern United States. The boulder strewn stretch of river below Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, is renowned for its whitewater and is often the scene of national kayaking competitions.

The Middle Yough- a river trip for the family

The Tree and Riverhouse sit just below the Dam on the section of river called the Middle Yough. It’s an 11 mile float trip to Ohiopyle (from the houses) with mild class II rapids at the beginning and end and lots of flatwater in the middle. A great float trip for families or fishing.  Riversport (at the end of our road) rents canoes, rafts and provides shuttle.

If the 11 miles seems like too much for your group, consider the Mini float from the houses down to the State Park put in, about 2 miles. It’s just moving flatwater. Riversport can help you arrange this.