Frequently Asked Questions (Livery)
Do you have a liability form that is required for our paddling trip? Yes. Our liability form must be signed by each individual going on the trip (adult and child). Anyone under 18 is required to have a parent or guardian signature. Please download the form here.
Is there a fee to take personal boats out at your launch? If you've used our shuttle service there is no fee to park or use our launch. If you are doing your own transportation, there is a $5 fee to use our launch. These fees help us cover up-keep costs to the launch.
What days are you open – and do I need a reservation? Allegheny Outfitters is open April 15th through October 30th. We are open 7 days a week, weather pending, from the first weekend in June through Labor Day weekend (peak season). All dates before and after peak season, we are reservation only. As long as we know you're coming, we're happy to get you out there. Reservations are strongly recommended on weekends and around holidays. Anyone without a reservation should call before coming over to make sure we've got boats available and that we're open.
Can we bring alcohol on our trip? It is illegal in Pennsylvania to drink alcohol or be under the influence while operating a boat, even a non-motorized one. We cannot allow anyone to operate our equipment while under the influence of alcohol. Thanks for understanding.
What is your cancellation policy? We believe in karma. We don’t generally require deposits for reservations or slap folks with penalties for cancellations. We just ask that you be considerate. If you must cancel a reservation – no matter what size your party – please call us as far in advance as possible so we have the opportunity to re-rent your boats. There is no penalty or hard feelings for cancellations due to weather or emergencies. If, on the other hand, we’re holding half our canoe inventory for your group and at the last second you decide to nix the trip for no apparent reason – well, we’re going to be pretty unhappy about that (and so will the karma gods!) We’ll require you to make a non-refundable deposit the next time around.
How many people fit in a canoe? Two adults and up to two small-size children. You can also have three adults - but the third adult costs $5 extra.
Are there times when the livery cancels trips? Yes, if the water gets too high due to excessive rain, runoff or an increased outflow at Kinzua Dam we will not allow customers to go out in our boats. In the rare occasion the river floods, we offer trips on the Kinzua Lake as a back-up. Other severe weather conditions may also cause cancellations. We make every attempt to notify customers of a cancellation prior to them driving to the livery.
How fast, rough and deep is the Allegheny? The upper Allegheny is considered ‘Class One,’ the calmest official river designation there is. In some spots you can wade from one side of the river to the other without getting your shorts wet; in others, the water is deep due to dredging. The river has a few wild spots – such as the rapids behind United Refining Company, near Mile 7 – but for the most part the water is calm and slow. Part of the Allegheny’s draw is that Kinzua Dam regulates it, making it more predictable than many other waterways, even in times of heavy rainfall or drought (see our “Links” page for the Army Corps of Engineers dam outflow reports). The river is popular among families, novices and large groups, such as the Boy Scouts, who are looking to take multiple-day trips. The Allegheny River is also a favorite among professional paddlers. It is home to the annual Pennsylvania State Canoeing and Kayaking Championships, for example, and the U.S. Canoe Association has started holding its national championship races on the Allegheny every other year.
Are there places to camp along the river? Yes, you can pay to stay at a developed campground (where you’ll have access to bathrooms, showers and other amenities), or you can opt to camp on public lands along the river. People in the latter group often chose to stay on one of the Allegheny’s many forested islands, including the seven federally designated Wilderness Islands. Feel free to ask livery staff for camping suggestions when booking your trip.
What wildlife are we likely to see along the Allegheny? Many wild critters inhabit the Allegheny and the lands surrounding it. These include white-tailed deer, Bald eagles, muskrats, Northern Snapping Turtles, Northern Water Snakes, Long-Tailed Weasels, Great Blue Herons, bats, mussels, clams and frogs. Paddlers typically see a combination of these animals. In 2007, one customer even reported seeing a black bear swimming across the river.
What supplies do you recommend we bring? Sunscreen, water and snacks are at the top of the list. Other items you might want to pack include a cell phone, rain poncho, first aid kit, waterproof bags, matches, towels, a bag for trash, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent, knife, tie down ropes, flashlight, lightweight shoes and camping gear.
Do you do guided trips? Yes, please check out our "Guided Trips" tab. You can also purchase a copy of the Allegheny River Paddling Guide, a water resistant river map book that uses text, photos and illustrations to explain the many sites paddlers come across on the first 45 miles of the Allegheny. The book is available for purchase at our livery or our online store (just click the "store" button above".)
How far will I be from civilization? The upper Allegheny has many quiet, out-of-the way spots that are great for viewing wildlife and enjoying nature, but mankind is never far off. The river winds along the 500,000-acre Allegheny National Forest, but it also passes quaint small towns. Modest summer camps dot the riverbanks in many areas. We like to think of it as the best of both worlds: a chance to get away, but with the comfort of knowing that if an emergency comes up or you run out of supplies, help isn’t far off.
What is the age limit for canoes? No one under the age of 2 is allowed in our boats. Minors are allowed to operate our boats solo with the permission and guidance of a parent or guardian – and as long as we’re confident it’s a good idea. To us, it’s more a question of experience than age. If your 11-year-old has never been in a boat before, we’re going to want them paired up with someone more experienced. All customers – adults and children – must have a liability waiver on file with us prior to renting our equipment. Anyone 17 or younger must have a parent or guardian sign for them.
What does my rental include? Trip prices include boat rental, paddles, life jackets, and transportation to and from the start and end points.
What are the state laws and livery rules regarding life jackets? Children 12 and under and non-swimmers of any age must wear a life jacket at all times, no exceptions. People 13 and older shall have a properly fitted life jacket for every person in their boat, and it cannot be lashed to anything. We strongly recommend everyone wears their life vest at all times.
Do you have kid-size life jackets? Yes. While adult life jackets come in just two basic sizes – regular and extra large – we have many different sizes for small children. All children must be fitted for life jackets prior to entering our boats.
Is there cell phone reception along the river? Cell phones work along some parts of the river but not others. Livery staff can give you a better sense about cell phone reception once they know which trip you are taking. Verizon currently has the best coverage, with less than two miles of coverage loss in the first 52 miles of the Allegheny, from Kinzua Dam to President. AT&T has poor coverage along this stretch of river.
What do I do in the event of an emergency? Dial 911. In places where cell phones don’t work, paddlers should go to the nearest house for help. The livery’s phone number is also written on the boats, paddles and life jackets in the event of a pressing but non-emergency situation.
What do I do in the event of a thunderstorm? If you hear or see lightening or thunder, get off the water immediately. Many homeowners along the river are kind enough to let paddlers take refuge from a storm on their porch. If you are in a more remote location, it is better to take cover under a group of trees rather than a single tree.
Can we drink the river water? Even though the Allegheny has been rated one of the nation’s cleanest and most scenic rivers, wildlife officials still strongly advise against drinking the river water.
Do you offer group discounts? Yes. Groups of six or more canoes on a weekday get a 10 percent discount. Tax-exempt groups should take 6 percent off the listed trip prices.
Do you take credit cards or personal checks? Yes. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, organization checks or cash. Organizations that have been coming back to us for three or more years can also arrange to be billed.
Do you sell supplies or rent camping and other equipment? Our downtown outdoors store has everything you may need for canoeing, kayaking, backpacking and camping; and is also where our backpacking gear rentals are checked out. It's located at 430 Pennsylvania Avenue West, Warren, PA. We have a fairly nice selection of paddling supplies for sale at our livery, too.
Do you shuttle personal vehicles or canoes? Yes! Please see our "Private Shuttles" page for details.