As far as sheer excitement goes, few sensations compare to that first trip over a raging wall of white water. There is the force of the river, wild and fast, the chill of the water as it drenches you after the first cascades over the bow and before long, everyone is screaming for that next big plunge. There are countless opportunities for unforgettable whitewater rafting and tubing adventures in a city defined by its three rivers. Some of the best spots, however, are found on the rivers to the south and east of the city. The majority of them are located along the Youghiogheny and Cheat Rivers in the Laurel Highlands area that connects Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Here are the best rafting and tubing adventures near Pittsburgh.
White Water Adventures
6 Negley St.
Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Ohiopyle State Park, located in Fayette County, is synonymous with whitewater rafting. White Water Adventures is an authority on the area’s rafting and tubing scene. It offers a wide variety of packages for groups that range from beginners to Class V rafting vets. The family-friendly trips provided concentrate on Class I and II stretches of water so it’s not too strenuous or dangerous. Most of the more challenging Class V packages take place on the Upper Yough near the Maryland border. Visit the website to find out more about rates, trip lengths and booking information.
Upper Yough Expeditions
PO Box 158
Friendsville, MD 21531
Friendsville, Maryland is a tiny town that resides along the banks of the Upper Youghiogheny River. It’s one of those places that when the rafting, kayaking and tubing is at its peak, its population doubles. Upper Yough Expeditions offers rafting adventures on both the Yough and Cheat Rivers from April through September. It is an expert organization that is well known for unforgettable rafting adventures. For information on the best times to plan a trip or to find out just about anything else rafting related, contact Upper Yough Expeditions by phone or email.
Related: Weekend Guide To The New River Gorge
Cheat River Outfitters
2764 N. Preston Highway
Albright, WV 26519
Book a trip with Cheat River Outfitters through the awe-inspiring Cheat River Canyon for some of the most “white knuckle” rafting anywhere around. Or, for rafters still working towards that first Class V expedition, try the Class III trip it offers through the equally beautiful Cheat River Narrows. CRO is more than just a whitewater rafting outfitter and many visitors come for the rafting and stay for everything else. There is paintball, rock climbing and caving adventures available through CRO, in addition to the first-rate rafting packages. Check out the website and contact Cheat River by phone or email to book your trip before the summer slips away.
715 Morris Ave.
Friendsville, MD 21531
Precision Rafting is another exceptional whitewater rafting outfitter located in Friendsville, Maryland. In a town with one gas station, one market, one pharmacy and one bank, Friendsville is a town where riding the river takes precedent over just about everything else. Precision offers several trips on all of the region’s best waters, including the Youghiogheny, Savage and Cheat Rivers. For a more relaxed “float” style trip, well, Precision does that too. There are several styles and varieties available so check out the Precision website and choose from the extensive list of recreational adventures.
Swallow Falls State Park
222 Herrington Lane
Oakland, MD 21550
For a do-it-yourself approach to riding the river, check out Swallow Falls State Park. Located near Deep Creek Maryland, Swallow Falls is an outdoor enthusiast’s “Shangri-La.” There’s fishing, camping, hiking and climbing available as well as tubing and rafting. Bring a canoe and paddle along some of the slower stretches or map the best waters for adrenaline-filled rafting when the water is high and conditions are prime.
Marcel Tourdot is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.