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12 Mile Full Moon Paddle down the Kiskiminetas River

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. We will cover 12 miles down river.  I do not recommend this trip for first time kayakers, canoeists, etc. since we may have fast current and possibly small class 1 rapids.

Lets meet by 6:30PM at the North Vandergrift boat ramp (Kiskiminetas River) to kayak/ paddle to the Freeport community Boat Ramp (Allegheny River).  Plan to have boats and gear offloaded and staged near the boat ramp by 6:45PM at the latest.  Do not get in your boats when you arrive as we will be shuttling vehicles.  Click on the link below if you are curious about water levels at North Vandergrift (provided courtesy of the US Geological Survey- USGS)

The 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 North Vandergrift, PA where the paddling will begin.  The estimated drive time to Freeport is 20 minutes each way (which means starting to paddle at 7:15- 7:30PM.  We will start in the daylight and hopefully (if it is not cloudy) see the sunset and moonrise.  I did this trip last year on September 20, 2013 as the "12 mile exploratory Kiskiminetas Harvest Moon (almost) Autumnal Equinox paddle" in spectacular conditions.  The estimated paddling time is 3 hours on the water +- 45 min depending on current and how fast or slow the group wants to paddle.  Any rapids will be small class I or just faster water.  The last 4 miles are in the slack water of the Allegheny River with less current than the beginning of the trip.  We will need one person who's vehicle is at the takeout in Freeport to go back to North Vandergrift 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.

If only one other person besides me comes, then we can go to Freeport and paddle a section of the Allegheny River out and back with no shuttle.  This is also the plan if the river is running extremely high- (flooded) or low.

We will pass through the communities of North Vandergrift, Hyde Park, Leechburg, West Leechburg, Schenley, and take out in Freeport.  On the way we'll pass under a walking bridge, through wooded areas, probably see a few trains running along the river, and see the lights of the Allegheny Ludlum Bagdad plant.

Sunset: 8:50pm
Civil Twilight: 9:23pm
Nautical Twilight: 10:04pm
Astronomical Twilight: 10:51pm
Moonrise: 8:51pm 
Day length: 14 h 59m
*Technically the full moon occurs on Saturday morning but it should be just as full on Friday or Saturday nights.

I think the put in at North Vandergrift is not a Fish and Boat Commission Launch, and I know 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.  Expect to use your light source for at least 1.5 hours.  The completion time is my best guess (90% chance) that we will be finished loading boats and completing the return shuttle- probably earlier.  Depending on the group & current we may finish much sooner.

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 but we may not get too many pictures in the dark- we can try.  (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 or changed to the Allegheny River at Freeport.  I will not be able to see the conditions until I arrive at 6:05- 6:10PM, but if you have doubts- please call, otherwise a decision will have to be made based on what we see upon arrival.

Directions from Pittsburgh

Take Route 28 North 23.4 miles to exit

Turn Right on Bakerstown Road and go 0.6 miles

Left on Freeport Road and go 0.7 

Merge onto PA 356 North (0.5 miles)

Turn Left on PA 356 South and go 5.4 miles

Make a quick left on PA 56 and a left on PA 356 and go 3.8 miles

Cross the bridge making an immediate left onto Jefferson Street followed by another immediate left to access area.  You should be under the bridge

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)  I make no promises about the accuracy of the Latitude and Longitude data- if in doubt please refer to written directions, a paper map or call me at[masked]-8045.

Lat: 40° 36' 24"
Long: -79° 33' 40"

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

Go 0.1 miles on alternate rt. 66 to rt. 66 go 3.7 miles

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 leave the group please let me know so that I am not looking for you.


FYI-  This trip has been cross posted with the Butler Outdoor Club and The Explorers Club of Pittsburgh.

Join or login to comment.

  • Devam S.

    Is there anyway, i can cut short the trip at 10 pm ? I have to work the next day.

    July 10, 2014

  • Michael C- A.

    I do not have a phone due to my company paid cell phone dropping into the Allegheny River during a fireworks paddle on July 4, 2014. I hope to have one by the weekend, however if you need to communicate with me before Tuesday July 8, 2014 it is best to do e-mail

    July 6, 2014

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