The Northern Segment:
Kinzua Dam to Tionesta, 45 River Miles
This water trail segment begins at the developed boat access at the base of Kinzua Dam and ends at the boat access in the borough of Tionesta. It is characterized by pastoral/rural landscapes and a large number of islands. It contains 24 public islands that are part of the Allegheny National Forest (including seven federally designated Wilderness Islands), in addition to 60 islands under other ownership. All of the public islands are open for camping and recreation.
Kinzua Dam and Visitor Center - Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kinzua Dam was constructed in 1966, for flood control and river-flow augmentation. The visitor center offers exhibits and slide shows about the operation of the dam, hydroelectricity, regional attractions and the area’s ecology. The top of the dam offers scenic views of the Allegheny Reservoir and the impressive dam outflows. Restrooms and telephones are available. Ample free parking is available in the visitor center parking lot. Canoes can be portaged around the dam if you wish to start on the Allegheny Reservoir, but this must be coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers. Call ahead to arrange a portage, or to verify tour availability at (814) 726-0661.
Allegheny National Fish Hatchery - Across the river and slightly upriver from the boat launch lies the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery and visitor center, operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This state-of-the-art coldwater hatchery is dedicated to the restoration of lake trout in the lower Great Lakes. However, there is no river access to this site.
United Refining Company - The United Refining Company was built in 1902 to process crude oil, and it has played a key role in Warren’s history. About halfway down along the refinery there are standing waves and riffles created by shallow water and rocks. If your boat is heavily loaded, scout this area out ahead of time. Immediately below the riffles, there is a small island with a burning flare. This is part of the refinery operation. Do not trespass on the island with the flare. River Mile 193
Point Park - A public park operated by the city of Warren is located where the Conewango Creek enters the Allegheny River along the right side of the river. “Conewango” is an Iroquois word meaning “below the riffles.” You’ll find an undeveloped boat access site here, along with picnic tables, grills and a day-use pavilion. River Mile 191.3
Downtown Warren/Soldiers and Sailors Park - As the trail passes through downtown Warren, just above the Hickory Street Bridge, on the right side of the approach, lies Soldiers and Sailors Park. This is a small municipal park operated by the city of Warren. The natural center of the region’s lumber economy, Warren was used as an early river port for rafts and boats of all descriptions. Steamboats made the difficult trip upriver from Pittsburgh starting as early as 1830. Warren has Victorian homes that are on the National Register of Historic Places, a professional summer theatre, and is the seat of government of Warren County. Warren is a full-service community, with restaurants, lodging and stores available in town. River Mile 191
Crescent Park - This small park, located on the left bank, offers a tree-lined path along the riverbank, and a picnic shelter at the south end of the park. The Warren County General Hospital is located next to the park.
River Mile 190.8
Clifford Betts Park - Undeveloped boat access, picnicking and sporting facilities, pavilions, and a short walking trail are available at this public park operated by the city of Warren along the right riverbank. Seasonal restrooms, and ample free parking are available. River Mile 189.5
Starbrick Access – The access is located on the right riverbank. Operated by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, the access has a paved ramp and a small parking area. River Mile 186.6
Buckaloons Recreation Area - Buckaloons lies on the site of a former Native American village, at the confluence of the Allegheny River and Brokenstraw Creek on the right riverbank. It is operated by the Allegheny National Forest, and has direct river access. The name “Buckaloons” means “broken straw” in the Seneca language, named for the tall grasses that used to prevail on fields around the village. Developed campsites, picnic areas, restrooms, an interpretive trail, and a boat launch are available at this developed boat access site. Note: Digging for or removing artifacts from National Forest or state lands is prohibited by law. Fee and site availability information is available by contacting the Allegheny National Forest. River Mile 183.6
Anders Run Natural Area -This 96-acre old-growth white pine forest offers a 1.8-mile hiking trail. The area is administered by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. You can access the area by hiking approximately a quarter-mile up Anders Run, found along the right riverbank. River Mile 182.1
Thompson’s Island - This 67-acre Wilderness Island was the site of the only Revolutionary War battle fought in northwestern Pennsylvania. River Mile 181.3
Bonnie Brae Access - Located on the left riverbank this access area has a paved ramp and a small parking lot. It is operated by the PA Fish and Boat
Commission. River Mile 170.8
Tidioute Borough Access - This is a developed boat access site, operated cooperatively by the PA Fish & Boat Commission and the borough of Tidioute. It is located on the rightbank. A dock, parking, and seasonal restroom facilities are available. Tidioute is a full-service community with restaurants and stores available. River Mile 168.5
West Hickory Access - Located on the left riverbank on the downstream side of the West Hickory Bridge this is a developed boat access site with ample parking, interpretive display, and picnic shelter. No restroom facilities are available. River Mile 159.9
Baker Island - This 67-acre Wilderness Island stood in the path of two tornadoes that crossed the Allegheny National Forest on May 31, 1985. Most of the larger trees blew over in the storm, with younger saplings and shrubs now filling in the island. River Mile 157.4
Tionesta Access -This is a formal, developed boat access site, operated by the PA Fish & Boat Commission, and is located on the left river bank. At the time of the printing of this edition of the guide, this access was noted as not being suitable for trailered boats. Ample free parking is available, but restroom facilities are not. This access is the end of this trail segment, and also serves as the starting point for the southern segment of the water trail. River Mile 154.7
Tionesta Fish Culture Station - Located across State Route 62 from the boat access site, this hatchery offers a visitor center.
The hatchery is operated by the PA Fish & Boat Commission, and raises steel-head trout for stocking in Lake Erie, and walleye and muskellunge for stocking throughout the state. Additional information can be found at www.fishandboat.com/Fish/Stocking/StateFishHatcheries.
Tionesta- During the 1860s, Tionesta was a main assembly point for both rough-cut timber rafts, some as long as 300 feet, and loads of semi-finished
lumber. This lumber was shipped downriver on shallow-draft flatboats as far as Pittsburgh and even New Orleans. Until the late 1700s, Tionesta was a Native American settlement and home of “Council Run,” a stream where tribal leaders met. Eventually, Tionesta became the seat of government for Forest County. Tionesta is a small full service community offering a visitor center, restaurants, lodging, camping, and stores. Private camping is also located between Tionesta and the Hunter Bridge.
Lighthouse Island Access -This 22.5 acre island is privately owned, but offers a developed public boat launch with ample parking. There are no restrooms at this site. The island also offers a handicap-accessible fishing pier at its southern end at the mouth of Tionesta Creek where it flows into the Allegheny River. This is where you can find the remains of an 1893 timber-crib dam, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is the last of its kind on the Allegheny River. River Mile 153