Loyalhanna Creek

A.  Rector to Ligonier                                       4.9 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

     II              8/20                       Small (70/117)                         B/A               4.7-5.7
                                                            estimate                                                  Kingston

Topographic Maps: Ligonier

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: The first 2 miles are very narrow with downed trees. This section has excellent scenery through Rolling Rock Farms. The lower 3 miles are lined with cottages. [Reported 1992]

Difficulties: Downed trees.

Shuttle: Put in at the State Route 381 bridge near Rector. Shuttle on State Route 381 and US Route 30. Take out by the State Route 711 bridge at Ligonier.

Gauges: Kingston. This gauge should read between 4.7 and 5.7 feet (2003 rating table). This corresponds to a flow of 1,040 to 1,770 cfs.

Normal Wet Period: This section does not have a normally runnable season nor a normally too high season. The Kingston gauge is above 4.7 feet 5% of the time and above 5.7 feet 2% of the time.

B.  Ligonier to Kingston Dam                        6.9 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

     II             18/50                    Small (120/200)                        C/A               3.2-5.7
                                                           Kingston                                                 Kingston

Topographic Maps: Ligonier, Stahlstown, Derry

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: This is an excellent spring and autumn whitewater stream. The difficulty of this run does not vary too much with water level changes. At low levels, there is much maneuvering. At higher levels, there is less maneuvering, but faster water and larger standing waves. The stream roughly parallels US Route 30. It passes through Story Book Forest, Idlewild Park, and along many summer homes. At Kingston Dam the shores are industrialized. [Checked 2002]

Difficulties: There are two high ledges that should be scouted and a low-water bridge which must be portaged. The low water bridge at high levels of water acts like a dam with a recirculating hydraulic.

Shuttle: For the whitewater stretch, put in between Story Book Forest and Ligonier where the stream comes within 20 yards of US Route 30 (about 0.5 miles west of Ligonier). By putting in at Darlington (below Story Book Forest) a mile of slow water can be eliminated. Take out above Kingston Dam. Alternate put-ins are available at any of the several cross-roads above Story Book Forest.

Gauges: Kingston. This gauge should read between 3.2 and 5.7 feet (2003 rating table). This corresponds to a flow of 315 to 1,770 cfs. The dam where State Route 217 crosses US Route 30 can also be used as a local gauge. At low levels all of the water flows on the river right side of the dam and it is too low. At a minimum level the center and river left side of the dam will have just a small amount of water flowing over.

Normal Wet Period: This section is normally runnable from late December through late May and does not have a normally too high season. The Kingston gauge is above 3.2 feet 30% of the time and above 5.7 feet 2% of the time.

C.  Kingston Dam to Latrobe                         4.6 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

   I-II             9/15                     Small (172/303)                        B/A               3.4-5.4
                                                           Kingston                                                 Kingston

Topographic Maps: Derry, Latrobe

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: Below the dam the stream runs between the east and west lanes of US Route 30 for about 0.5 miles before it leaves the main road. The stream is wide and winds through a series of lazy S turns. The bottom is generally rocky except for the slab rock that creates a river-wide 6-inch ledge about 0.5 miles past the first bridge. Used in conjunction with the pool above the dam and the last rapid above the pool, this section could be a good afternoon run for a solo open canoe school or a poling school. [Checked 1992]

Difficulties: Dam just above the put-in can be portaged. At high water levels, there are no eddies and two river-wide ledges produce hazardous hydraulics. Ledge under the railroad bridge at Legion-Keener Park should be run center or right.

Shuttle: Put in on the westbound side of US Route 30 below the dam at Kingston. Go west on US Route 30 to State Route 982 North. Cross the bridge. This is the second bridge crossing the stream and is a good alternate. The take-out is in Legion-Keener Park on Spring Street. Follow signs in downtown Latrobe to the stadium.

Gauges: Kingston. This gauge should read between 3.4 and 5.4 feet (2003 rating table). This corresponds to a flow of 380 to 1,470 cfs. The dam where State Route 217 crosses US Route 30 can also be used as a local gauge. At low levels all of the water flows on the river right side of the dam and it is too low. At a minimum level the center and river left side of the dam will have just a small amount of water flowing over.

Normal Wet Period: This section is normally runnable from late December through late May and does not have a normally too high season. The Kingston gauge is above 3.4 feet 25% of the time and above 5.4 feet 3% of the time.

D.  Latrobe to New Alexandria                     12.0 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

   B-I              3/8                    Medium (265/439)                     C/D                          
                                                    New Alexandria                                          Kingston

Topographic Maps: Latrobe, Saltsburg

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: This section below Latrobe is entirely within the boundary limits of the Loyalhanna Reservoir flood control project, and as such is subject to water backed up from the lake below New Alexandria. However, except for extreme flooding, water rarely backs up beyond the last bridge above New Alexandria. The stream is essentially flat and contained by flood control levees until the third bridge (below the brewery). Below here the stream flows among wooded hills marred only by a few homes and one reclaimed strip mine. Below the piers of an old bridge (fourth bridge) there is a boulder section of no special difficulty but good playing for beginners. Plan your take-out according to reservoir level and beware of mud banks in New Alexan­dria. [Reported 1992]

Difficulties: New Alexandria mud banks. This mud is thick and not very solid. You will sink into it and will have to pull your feet out with each step.

Shuttle: Put in at Latrobe's Legion-Keener Park on Spring Street or at the Rolling Rock brewery or the third bridge. Shuttle on State Route 981 and take out at the site of the old bridge upstream of the present US Route 22 bridge. There is now a boat launching ramp on river left. One could continue downstream to the bridge 2 miles upstream of New Alexandria.

Gauges: Kingston. We do not have enough information to report runnable levels on this section. Readings comparable to the section above would be a good guess.

Normal Wet Period: No available statistics on seasons. Since this section is medium-sized, it should normally be runnable approximately December through May.

E. New Alexandria to Loyalhanna Dam      8.0 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Pol              Level

    A              pool                   Medium (265/439)                     B/A                           

                                                    New Alexandria                                          Kingston

Topographic Maps: Saltsburg

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: We have no information on this section.

Difficulties:

Shuttle:

Gauges: Kingston. We do not have enough information to report runnable levels on this section. Readings comparable to the section above would be a good guess. You can call the Corps to get a recorded message with the current lake level and dam outflow. (724) 639-3785

Normal Wet Period: No available statistics on seasons. Since this section is medium-sized, it should normally be runnable approximately December through May.

F.   Loyalhanna Dam to Saltsburg                 4.0 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

   B-I           10/15                  Medium (292/481)                      B/B

                                                   Loyalhanna Dam                         Loyalhanna Dam

Topographic Maps: Saltsburg

County Maps: Westmoreland

Description: This section depends on water release from Loyalhanna Dam. The run starts in a minor wooded canyon and joins the Conemaugh among farm fields. [Reported 1991]

 

The Loyalhanna is part of the Pennsylvania Water Trail program. See page 12 for information on Water Trails

Difficulties: None.

Shuttle: Put in at bridge on access road to Loyalhanna Dam from State Route 981. Take out in Saltsburg across from the mouth of the Loyalhanna.

The Saltsburg River & Trail Co. operates a canoe and bike livery at 111 Market Street. 1-877-890-5900

Gauges: Loyalhanna Dam Outflow. We do not have enough information to report runnable levels on this section. A reading of 2.1 feet on this gauge corresponds to the mean flow of 481 cfs. Since this is a medium-sized river, we speculate that the river will be runnable at 2.1 feet and may be on the high side of runnable at that level. You can call the Corps to get a recorded message with the current lake level and dam outflow. (724) 639-3785

Normal Wet Period: The Corps of Engineers will be adjusting water releases from the dam as part of a three-year test/study of the effects of small changes in weekend water releases from Conemaugh and Loyalhanna Dams for downstream recreation. These adjustments will begin Memorial Day weekend and continue through the summer. A web page [2003] is provided to let users know what the release schedule is.

http://wmw.lrp.usace.army.mil/misc/Kiski_Outlook.html (2004)