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Sunset Exploratory Paddle from Leechburg to Freeport

This trip is open to kayaks, canoes,
paddle boards, and similar types of boats.  If in doubt- please call me at
[masked]-8045.  If paddling something other than a kayak- consider whether
or not you can keep up with kayaks.  I expect that we will cover 7
miles down river.  I do not recommend this trip for first time kayakers, canoeists, etc. since we will have fast current and possibly small class 1 or less rapids.


Lets meet by 6:15PM at the Leechburg boat ramp to kayak/ paddle to the
Freeport community Boat Ramp.  Plan to have boats and gear offloaded and
staged near the boat ramp by 6:20PM at the latest.  Do
not get in your boats when you arrive like we have done on other recent trips I
have done. 
(This trip was changed after spending 50+ minutes
to go only 1.3 miles up river on 9/3/2013 (paddling very hard and barely moving
upriver), followed by a very fast 15 minute return.  If the river is this
fast we could easily do a downriver trip with a shuttle if people are OK with
possibly finishing a little later (since a shuttle means starting later). 
Paddling downriver with the intent of getting back up river is not a good idea
since we could very easily misjudge the speed of the current and spend way more
time paddling back than intended- or get stuck if we cannot make progress

The new plan will involve a shuttle (if we have at least 3 people).  One person will stay to watch boats and gear.  All others will drive to the Freeport Takeout area (parking is along the road in Freeport).  We will then get into as few
vehicles as possible to get all people back to Leechburg, PA where the paddling
will begin.  The estimated drive time to Freeport is 15 minutes each way
(which means starting to paddle at 6:45-7PM.  It will definitely get dark,
but we will move fast and should arrive at the take-out by 8:15PM to 8:30PM
estimated- possibly much sooner.  This is exploratory so an exact end time is difficult to judge.  Any rapids will be small class I or just faster water.  We should be done with these early on (before dark).  We will need one person who's vehicle is at the takeout in Freeport to go back to Leechburg to get the (person who watched boats at the beginning)'s vehicle.  Others are free to leave when their boat are loaded as long as one person watches the remaining boat(s) from the people involved in the end shuttle.


We should see train tracks on both sides of the river, lots of trees, and remnants of mining after leaving Leechburg.  Near the Allegheny River we will pass a marina and under a bridge over the Kiski, followed by a bridge over the Allegheny River.  There is some motor boat traffic on the short stretch of the Allegheny River, so it is essential that we stay together with lights on when we reach it.

Sunset: 7:39pm

Twilight Civil: 8:06pm

Twi Nautical: 8:39pm

Twi Astronomical: 9:13pm

Moonrise: 11:15am

Moonset: 9:51pm

Day length: 12h 46m


Both the put in at Leechburg, and the
takeout at Freeport are not Fish and Boat Commission Ramps and do not require
Fish and Boat Commission Stickers.


I believe a lifejacket and whistle
must be on board on all PA waterways.  Please bring at least
one light source for after sunset.  Head lamps and flashlights are
good as are lights made for boats.


I recommend bringing something
to drink or a snack, and an extra layer if it is going to be cold.


bilge pumps, paddle floats and other
safety equipment to get back in you boat are good to bring if you have
them.  I don't plan to tip, but it has happened unexpectedly and I was
glad to have my pump.  It is also good to have a cell phone in a dry bag,
ziplock or other water proof container just in case.  In the event of rain
(not storms) this trip will still go- but you may want a spray skirt to keep
your boat dry.  A camera is nice too- so that we can have pictures to
post- I will try to remember to bring mine.  (I don't think we'll be in
water that is very deep so it should be possible to push your boat to shore
standing or get back in on the water if you tip)


This trip will run unless there is
lightening or thunder at launch time (or storms are predicted on the radar) to
arrive during the time we will be on the water.  A low chance of storms
may mean shortening the trip- or turning around if we hear thunder when on the
water.  If the weather is questionable please call me at[masked] to
see whether the trip is still on.  If the river is at flood stage or
obviously unsafe due to recent torrential rains- this trip will be
cancelled.  I will not be able to see the conditions until I arrive at
6:00- 6:10PM, but if you have doubts- please call, otherwise a decision will
have to be made based on what we see upon arrival.  I will be in Canada (wilderness type area) from Thursday night (after midnight) until evening on Sunday.  I have phone service, but no e-mail or internet, and may be able to make and receive calls on the way up (Friday and back Sunday) but probably not on Saturday.


Directions from Pittsburgh

Take Route 28 North 16 miles to exit

Make a slight right on Crawford Run
Road (0.06 miles)

Right onto Freeport Road and go 1.3

Turn left onto the CL Smith Bridge,
and go 0.3 miles across the Allegheny River

Make a slight right onto Industrial
Blvd./ PA 56

2nd left onto 7th street/ PA 56 (0.7

Left onto Stevenson Blvd./ PA 56 East
(which merges with PA 366 for a while)- Stay on 56 for 9.1 miles until it
becomes Leechburg Hill Road

Go 0.9 miles down Leechburg Hill Road
and cross bridge over the Kiskiminetas River

Turn right on Market street (0.2
miles- estimate)

Turn right onto First Ave.- Boat Ramp
is about 0.1 miles (a little past Canal Street and Fire Dept.)

We can park behind the Fire Department in the large lot.

For those who use GPS- plug these
numbers in- they should work, but if in doubt call me or consult the written
directions since I do not use GPS and can't verify them.

Latitude - Longitude:  (put in- where we will meet)

[masked], [masked]
Lat: 40° 37'[masked]"
Long: -79° 36'[masked]"

Take Out (where we will shuttle to and the river will take us)

Go 0.1 miles to Market Street

Turn left on Market street and go 0.2 miles

Turn left onto Rt. 66 and cross the Kiskiminetas River

Go 1.2 miles up Leechburg Hill Road, and another 0.4 miles on Rt. 56.

Make a slight right on 356 and go 5.4 miles

Make a slight right toward Freeport Road after crossing the Allegheny River

Take the 1st right on 2nd street (follow it to the Allegheny River- about 0.3 miles) then go left on Riverside Road.  The boat ramp is on the right across from a Nursing Home.

[masked], [masked]

Lat:  40 40' 16.31"

Long:  79 41' 7.083

Source for Latitude and Longitude

If you paddle with us and must turn
back early- please let me know so that we aren't looking for you.  The
same goes if you need to race ahead.

Join or login to comment.

  • Michael C- A.

    I checked the river gauges for USGS (the river will run faster than normal tonight but not as fast as last week. I don't expect to have any problems making the 7 miles from Leechburg to Vandergrift within the posted timeframe (unless something were to get delayed with the shuttle). The river has dropped a foot and discharge at Vandergrift went down from 3500 CFS to 2000CFS. I don't think we would make much progress upriver with the river running higher than normal. I will probably do one more evening trip at the Tarentum Access point in the next few weeks (to be posted soon)- upriver and back, and a full moon paddle (also to be posted soon).

    September 9, 2013

  • Michael C- A.

    I don't want to change the meeting location since it might not be communicated to everyone. If conditions do not warrant doing the plan I have here then we can do something else nearby. I am not familiar with the other access point. I do know that we will not get anywhere near Leechburg doing the upstream paddle + I did this paddle 2/3 of the way to Leechburg last month so only the first mile or 2 at the beginning (when it is still light) will be new). I hope something will work out this evening.

    September 9, 2013

  • Rob

    Might I suggest that if you aren't sure about the current it would make sense to do this starting at Freeport and go upstream while fresh? Maybe put in at the Buffalo Ck bike trail access and try to go as far as Leechburg, but turn around if the current is bad or it gets too late.

    If you guys do the upstream first then I'll come out and paddle with ya'll.

    September 9, 2013

    • Rob

      nevermind...I misunderstood the plan. Yes, leechburg downstream to freeport is a fun run. I'm in!

      September 9, 2013

  • Mary Jo H.

    Plans changed. I had to bring my guests to Pittsburgh last night instead of today to meet up with his friend because they couldn't connect friday. So im not driving back down today. Hopefully another time. I do work weekends so it isn't easy.

    September 9, 2013

  • Michael C- A.

    There are not any huge waves. They biggest waves might be 1' or a little more. I mentioned that the gauge level is 6' (how deep the water is at a certain place where they keep track of that). I have removed this to avoid confusion. If we get a lot of rain and the river gets deeper it will run faster, and some rapids and waves may get a little bigger.

    September 5, 2013

  • Mary Jo H.

    I kayak the middle yough eith sn instructor but with a different kayak with a skirt. You are saying six feet waves? I kayak Niagra Falls river with a current and French creek. Maybe I dont have the right type of kayak. I will check the website!

    September 4, 2013

  • Michael C- A.

    Please note the trip plan has changed due to a recent similar trip from the Leechburg Access Point. Please read the new description and consider changing your reservation if this no longer interests you. I think that the new plan will be more fun, and maybe a little safer than the original plan

    September 4, 2013

  • Mary Jo H.

    I will be taking my cousin and his gf to the Pittsburg airport at 1pm so Before I make my way home (Meadville) I'm thinking of joining you. We do keep together somewhat, right? I like exploring too!

    September 3, 2013

  • Sue B.

    Looking forward to paddling with you again and others.

    September 3, 2013

3 went

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