Clarion River Water Trail Map
Water trails are recreational waterways on a lake, river or ocean between specific points, containing access points and day use and/or camping sites for the boating public. Typically, water trails emphasize low-impact use and promote stewardship of the resource. Explore this Pennsylvania water trail!
View the map
View the map in printable sections on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Website.
The Clarion River Water Trail map project is a joint effort by the residents of the area, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, US Forest Service - Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The Clarion River Water Trail map marks points of interest and river features along or nearby the Clarion River, including the East and West Branches.
Floating the River
The Clarion River is considered a class I river. Its characteristics make the Clarion a desirable river for canoeists of all abilities. On a scale of I-VI, the I denotes fast moving water with riffles and small waves; few or no obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training; risk to swimmer is slight; and self-rescue is easy. Keep in mind that classifications can change with high water levels.
The best time to float the Clarion River is in early summer. The normal summer flow of the Clarion River along the length of the trail accommodates small, shallow-draft powered and non-powered watercraft. In the late summer, the river becomes shallow at times and boat bottoms can drag on the streambed. Your float time will vary according to the season and weather conditions. Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for updated information about the conditions of the river.
Boat only at water levels appropriate for your capabilities and never when the river is high or flooded. Water trail use by canoers and kayakers is not recommended when river flow levels are high, or when water temperatures are below 55 degrees. Plan to travel in a group or with another person for safety. Always wear a life jacket.
The Baker Trail is a 140-mile trail in western Pennsylvania extending from the Pittsburgh area to the Allegheny National Forest. The Baker Trail was built and is being maintained by Pittsburgh Council of American Youth Hostels and by dedicated volunteers. A portion of the trail is also used by the North Country National Scenic Trail. The North Country National Scenic Trail is a premier footpath that currently has over 1,700 miles completed and will one day stretch more than 4,000 miles to link communities and wilderness areas across seven northern states. When completed, it will be the longest hiking trail in the United States. In Pennsylvania, 95 certified miles of the North Country Trail meander through the hills and valleys of the Allegheny National Forest. The section that was certified in 2003 is marked on this Water Trail Guide. For more information, visit www.northcountrytrail.org/.
Clarion-Little Toby Creek Trail is a 19-mile multi-use (hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing), non-motorized trail developed by the Tri-county Rails-to-Trails organization. This greenway follows the Clarion River and Little Toby Creek and passes through several old ghost towns in Elk and Jefferson counties, with trailheads in Ridgway and Brockway. For more information, call 814.772.7657.
Laurel Mills Cross County Ski Trail is a 9.1-mile ski trail. The trailhead is located approximately three miles west of Ridgway on Township Road 307. It offers excellent solitude and quiet with beautiful scenery. The Elk Loop, Cook-Eli Connector Trail, Half Mile Loop, and Big Oak Trail are for beginning skiers and up. The Scout Loop, Hemlock Loop and Sparrow Nest Loop are for experienced skiers. Ski with caution. The trail consists of old National Fuel Gas roads, pipelines, old skid roads, and trails through the woods. Some trails are maintained by volunteer labor only.
A number of trails of varying uses and difficulty exist in the State Parks, State Forests, and Allegheny National Forest. Contact PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: 888.PA.PARKS or visit DCNR's website or Allegheny National Forest: 814.723.5150 or this site for additional trail information.
Parks and Forests
Elk State Park
The 3,192-acre park contains the 1,160-acre East Branch Lake. Recreational opportunities include boating, fishing, hunting, picnicking, camping, ice fishing, and icebaoating. The US Army Corps of Engineers operates the 41-site campground near the East Branch Dam. For more information, call 814.965.2646.
Bendigo State Park
Formerly a logging community named for an English boxer, this small 20-acre park is located in a valley on the bank of the East Branch of the Clarion River. Recreational activities include swimming, picnicking, and fishing. For more information, call 814.965.2646.
Clear Creek State Park
The 1,209-acre park is a great park to hike, hunt, fish, and watch wildlife. Campsites are available along the River and a take-out point is conveniently located at the park. The self-guided Ox Shoe Trail in the park depicts logging practices of early years. For more information, about the park, call 814.752.2368. For more information about the forest, call 814.226.1901.
Cook Forest State Park
Cook Forest is designated as a "National Natural Landmark" and it was selected as one of the top-50 state parks across the nation by National Geographic Traveler magazine due in part to the old growth section of the forest. The 7,443-acre park has 27 miles of hiking trails. For reservations, call 888.PA.PARKS. Park Office: PO Box 120, Cooksburg, PA 16217; 814.744.8407.
Elk State Forest
The western section of this 195,911-acre forest is adjacent to Elk State Park. Hiking, birding, fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation is permitted on state forestland. For more information, call 814.486.3353
Allegheny National Forest
A national forest since 1923, the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is one of 155 national forests managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service. ANF is the only national forest in Pennsylvania. ANF is comprised of 513,297 acres and is open to hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, bicycling, canoeing, OHV use, and wildlife watching, to name a few. Camping is not permitted within 1,500 feet of the Allegheny Reservoir or roads along the reservoir.
While at the forest, hike the Little Drummer Historical Pathway. The short loop, an hour hike, leads to Cole Run Pond and then returns to the parking lot. The longer loop circles Cole Run Pond and is a three to four hour hike.
Clear Creek State Forest
The entire State Forest is open to public hunting and fishing during seasons as established by the Pennsylvania Game and Fish Commissions. White tail deer, wild turkey, squirrel, grouse and black bear are common in this area.
Points of interest within the State Forest are the Clear Creek State Park with overnight camping facilities, swimming, fishing, hiking trails, and day-use areas; Bear Town Rocks, a vista with an excellent view of State Forest Land accessible by trail or automobile; and Hays Lot Fire Tower with a panoramic view of great distances. For a special treat, visitors can tour the laurel fields located on Spring Creek Road during the early June wildflower season.
The trail system maintained by the Bureau of Forestry is identified by orange blaze markings on trees along the trail route. Also included in this system is a five-mile cross-country ski trail located in Forest.