By Anietra Hamper for PlanetWare.com
The abundance of natural waterways in Pennsylvania makes it an attractive destination for all levels of water lovers. From white water rafting on one of the many raging river sections of the Lehigh River to kayaking The Loop on the quieter section of the Youghiogheny, it's easy for both beginner and advanced outdoor paddlers to find suitable outings in Pennsylvania. Many outfitters along most waterways offer guiding services, whether you want a guide in the boat with you or a guide that just shows you where to go on the water.
Kayaking, both in calm water and white water rapids, is popular across the state due to the vast number of natural streams and rivers running through hundreds of national and state parks in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that non-powered boats launched within in a state park must have proper permits from the Pennsylvania State Parks Department. You can find out what you need and obtain permits from most state park offices.
1 Youghiogheny River
The Youghiogheny River flows through one of Pennsylvania's largest state parks, Ohiopyle, in the Laurel Highlands region in southwestern Pennsylvania. Locals call it the Yough (pronounced "yawk"). The river is popular for white water rafting and kayaking, especially in "The Loop," which is a mile-and-a-half section of the Lower Yough. The loop is perfect for kayakers since they do not need a transport vehicle. The river offers the best in white water rafting because each section caters to a different kind of experience. The Lower Yough is 7.5 miles of class III and IV rapids. It is ideal for beginners to intermediate rafters. If you aren't familiar with the river, you may want to sign up for a Lower Yough Escorted White Water Rafting Tour. The Middle Yough is a nine-mile family-friendly stretch, perfect for first-timers or for those who prefer light rafting. The Upper Yough is reserved for adrenaline junkies who are looking for aggressive class IV and V rapids. There are four experienced outfitters on the river: Wilderness Voyageurs, White Water Adventurers, Laurel Highlands River Tours, and Ohiopyle Trading Post.