Best Kayaking In Pittsburgh

Canoes and Kayaks

The Best Kayaking In Pittsburgh - 4 Unmissable Locations

Pittsburgh has plenty of options when it comes to connecting you to water with three rivers converging near the city center. With a plethora of natural and man made lakes also in the nearby area, Kayaking near Pittsburgh offers a vast array of paddling opportunities.

We’ve created a short guide of some great paddling spots and kayak rental Pittsburgh locations.

pittsburgh kayaking north shore
Photo by Div Shekhar on Unsplash

Allegheny River Kayaking

Downtown (formerly know as North Shore) is a great spot to rent a kayak and get out kayaking Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River.  This kayak rental location operated by Kayak Pittsburgh (Venture Outdoors), is a non profit-group.

Kayaking the Allegheny River is very popular as it’s located right in the very heart of the city.  Its proximity to the river junction allows you to paddle three rivers at the same time if you wish.

Kayaking Pittsburgh Downtown is suitable for all skill levels, novice to expert, offering breathtaking views of skylines, parks and countless bridges.

The kayak rental season usually runs May through October but could be reduced due to inclement weather conditions.

Solo and tandem kayaks can be rented for $16 and $23.50 per hour on weekdays and $19 and $26.50 per hour on weekends.

river kayaking near me

Laurel Hill State Park

Laurel Hill Lake is located about a 55-minute drive south east of Pittsburgh along the PA-51 S within Laurel Hill State Park. The majestic 63 acre lake has a large sandy stretch of beach on the south-west side of the lake.  This area is fantastic for swimming and kayaking activities for all levels of expertise.

kayaking in Pittsburgh

Laurel Hill Lake has a large floating jetty attached (see Google Maps 360 view below) to the beach. At the northern end of the beach you can rent canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and paddle boats from Hazelbaker’s Lake Rentals.

Boat rental will set you back $10 per person for 1 hour of paddling. There is no charge for kids under the age of 8 (accompanied by a paying adult).

Hazelbaker’s Lake Rentals are open for business 7 days a week 10 – 5pm between May and October.

If you’re kayaking in Pittsburgh, Laurel Hill Lake is definitely worth the 55-minute drive.

Youghiogheny River

The Youghiogheny River (Yough for short) lies to the south of Pittsburgh as it flows into the Monongahela River which then in turn flows into the Ohio River.

The Youghiogheny Water Trail has a 46 miles section of mostly flat water ideal for kayaking beginners or those seeking a more relaxed style of paddling.  For those seeking a bit more adventure, the river south of Connellsville has sections with up to Class IV rapids.

There are a many spots here where you can kayak on the Youghiogheny River, providing both short and long distance kayaking trip options.

Hazelbaker’s Canoe Rentals are located at Layton’s Bridge, east of Perryopolis about a 30-minute drive south of Pittsburgh offering canoe, kayak and fishing trips.

They specialize in canoe and kayak float trips – perfect for beginners, families and children.

If you have your own kayak or canoe, Hazelbaker’s also provide a shuttle service from Dawson for $20 per person.

Youghiogheny River

North Park Lake Pittsburgh

Located just to the north of Pittsburgh and 10 mins out of McCandless, you’ll find the 3000 acre North Park. The park features the 65 acre North Park Lake, which is an ideal place for all ages and skill levels to go kayaking and fishing. 

To the north of the lake you will find OTB at the North Park Boathouse. The boathouse includes an eatery serving delicious burgers & draft brews with patio seating overlooking the tranquility of the lake.

 There are several locations where you can launch your kayak or canoe, including the south-west side of the lake and a ramp on the east side. If you don’t have your own kayak, you can hire one from Venture Outdoors at the boathouse at the northern end of the lake. 

North Park Lake kayak rental have solo and tandem kayaks, SUP’s, canoes and pedal boats for hire. Prices range from $16-25 on weekdays to $19-$27 on weekends. If you are looking to go kayaking in Pittsburgh, North Park Lake is definitely worth a visit.

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