Youghiogheny River

Information

Geography
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The Youghiogheny River, or "Yough" as many locals call it, begins in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland before flowing into the Youghiogheny River Lake (reservoir). The Youghiogheny River emerges after a dam at Confluence, PA, where it is joined by water from the Casselman River and Laurel Hill Creek before flowing with class II and III whitewater rapids prior to Ohiopyle, PA, where the Youghiogheny River makes a dramatic 20 - 25 foot plunge at Ohiopyle State Park, PA's Ohiopyle Falls. Class III, IV and V rapids begin at Ohiopyle, PA and continue for nearly eight miles before the river begins to calm as it nears South Connellsville, PA. The Youghiogheny River's personality becomes gentler beginning at Connellsville, PA, after which it meanders until its confluence with the Monongahela River at McKeesport, PA.
History
?} The name of the Youghiogheny River is attributed to the Kanhawha Indians who had several villages around the river's highland waters. Youghiogheny translates to "four rapid streams," in reference to the junction of rivers in Confluence, PA.
Recreation
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While the B & O Railroad lines the eastern bank, access to the western bank of the Youghiogheny River is available from the Youghiogheny River Trail (a corridor of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail). A common sight along the 70+ mile trail are anglers bike riding to their favorite fishing spots.

Mentions Youghiogheny River (less relevant)

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Cucumber Run is formed by a fan of feeder branches spread out over four to six square mile within Stewart Township, PA area that coalesce into the main stream of water that flows nearly two miles before its confluence with the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park, PA. The small area of drainage makes its water level extremely dependent on recent weather conditions. Cucumber Run's headwaters are at around 1900 feet in elevation, just south of Kentuck Knob, with a 700 foot descent to the Youghiogheny River where its confluence is about 1200 feet in elevation. After it meanders through a rustic picnic area Cucumber Run makes a 35 - 40 foot free fall plunge (Cucumber Falls) into a beautiful ravine just before draining into the Youghiogheny River.
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Ohiopyle State Park, PA contains many geologic wonders as it located where the Youghiogheny River cut its way through the heights of Laurel Ridge, resulting in a steep sided gorge up to 1500 feet deep in places. The extreme difference in elevation has resulted in waterfalls, white water rapids, scenic overlooks, and rock outcroppings that have made Ohiopyle State Park, PA a draw of regional tourists for several generations and likely the most scenic park in Pennsylvania.

Ohiopyle State Park, PA's centerpiece is the twenty-five foot fall of the Youghiogheny River, known as the Ohiopyle Falls. The park's main visitor day use area features several observation platforms to give visitors a close vantage point of the roaring cataract. Just below the waterfall begins the most popular whitewater rafting route in the eastern United States. Numerous class III and IV rapids begin here and last eight miles, which makes Ohiopyle State Park, PA renowned for its whitewater recreation.

Several streams (Meadow Run, Cucumber Run, Sugar Run, Rock Spring Run, and Jonathan Run) enter the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park, PA and have carved their own gorges into the surrounding highlands, many of these feature waterfalls. The park's most scenic delight is Cucumber Falls, but the Meadow Run Natural Waterslide rivals it in popularity on a hot summer day.

Ohiopyle State Park, PA can boast having two of the best scenic overlooks in Western Pennsylvania: Tharp Knob Overlook with its sweeping view of the Youghiogheny River meandering through the heights of Laurel Ridge, and Baughman Rock Overlook with its view of Laurel Ridge surrounding "The Flats."

The park's elevation ranges from 1200 feet (Youghiogheny River in the northwest) to over 2900 feet on top of Laurel Ridge resulting in a temperature difference of up to 12 degrees. The park's roof is popular with cross country skiing in the winter months as it averages three times the snow of the valley and lower elevations to the northwest.

A myriad of hiking trails crisscross the park under a heavy forest. Mountain biking and equestrian trails can be found near Sugarloaf Knob near the top of Laurel Ridge. The Youghiogheny River Trail, a corridor of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, is a relatively flat hiking/biking trail that lines the Youghiogheny River's western shore.
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PA State Game Land 51 is located in central Fayette County, PA along a portion of Chestnut Ridge. Elevation ranges from around 900 feet along the Youghiogheny River to in excess of 2300 feet in Wharton Township, PA.

The sprawling game reserve has land in the following communities: Connellsville Township, PA, Dunbar Township, PA, Springfield Township, PA, Stewart Township, PA, and Wharton Township, PA. It also borders portions of Ohiopyle State Park, PA to its east.

Water flowing through PA State Game Land 51 include: Bruner Run, Dunbar Creek (and its many smaller tributaries), Laurel Run, Morgan Run, and Youghiogheny River.
Geography
?} Connellsville, PA straddles the Youghiogheny River and is at the western base of Chestnut Ridge, which is known locally as the start of the "mountains."
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Ohiopyle, PA is named for the Youghiogheny River's twenty to twenty-five foot tall waterfall, the Ohiopyle Falls, which is also the namesake for Ohiopyle State Park, PA that engulfs the Ohiopyle, PA borough. Ohiopyle is a Delaware Indian word that translates to "white frothy water."
?} Indian Creek is a tributary of the Youghiogheny River that originates in Forbes State Forest at Donegal Township, PA and flows over 28 miles before emptying into the Youghiogheny River in Springfield Township, PA. The stream drains approximately 125 square miles between the eastern slope of Chestnut Ridge and the western slope of Laurel Ridge. Five miles prior to the stream's confluence with the Youghiogheny River is a dam on Indian Creek, which forms Mill Run Reservoir.
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Dunbar Creek is a popular stream for trout fishing in Fayette County, PA. Dunbar Creek's headwaters are located between Fulton Knob and Dunbar Knob in North Union Township, PA (near Jumonville, PA) just east of Chestnut Ridge. The creek flows north by northeast along the eastern slopes of Chestnut Ridge through forested highlands as it enters Dunbar Township, PA, and then steers in a northwest direction as it cuts through Chestnut Ridge. Here the creek parallels Dunbar Ohiopyle Road until it enters Dunbar, PA, afterwards it turns north east again prior to its confluence with the Youghiogheny River.

Prior to Dunbar, PA, much of Dunbar Creek is on PA State Game Land.

Dunbar Creek is popular for fishing, and fly fishing along its upper portion. Access is provided by PA State Game Land 51 parkings lots and improved roads.
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Cucumber Falls is a picturesque waterfall, surrounded by mountain laurel and rhododendrons, of Cucumber Run making a 39 foot plunge over an overhanging cliff into a moss and rhododendron filled ravine less than a hundred yards from the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park, PA. A small parking area off of Kentuck Road (SR 2019) is within a short walk of an overlook for Cucumber Falls. A trail there offers a hike down to the base of the ravine where some treacherous pathways even lead to a ledge behind the waterfall though the main path veers away to join Meadow Run Trail at the Youghiogheny River.
History
?} Reconstructed Colonel William Crawford's Cabin
The Connellsville Area Historical Society and the Fayette County Commissioners reconstructed the log home of Colonel William Crawford in 1976. The cabin is 14 X 16 feet and contains one room. Even though the cabin was small for a family of six, their hospitality was legendary. George Washington, Lord Dunmore (the governor of Virginia), and many other passing travelers found a hospitable welcome there. Over the years, William Crawford played an important role in the life of the area. During an Indian scare, he helped plan the defense of the area by having the settlers build several forts to protect themselves. He recruited and led a battalion of southwestern Pennsylvanians to fight in the Revolution and served as a Justice of the Peace for many years. While leading an expedition against the Delaware Indians in Ohio, he was captured and burned at the stake in 1782.

The reconstructed home of Colonel William Crawford sits on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville, PA.
?} Connellsville's First Settler
The first white man in what is now Connellsville, PA was Colonel William Crawford. He was a farmer/surveyor/soldier who was a friend of George Washington and had served with him in the Virginia Militia. In the fall of 1765, he came over the mountains on horseback with his half-brother Hugh Stephenson. When they saw the beautiful meadow lands in the bend of the Youghiogheny River, Crawford decided to build his home there. The two men surveyed a tract of little over 376 acres and put up a log cabin (Crawford's Cabin). The next year, he moved his family into the cabin after a very hazardous trip over the mountains. Hannah Crawford, his wife, and their four children, had to follow what was little better than a path that was exceedingly rough and dangerous in places. As they had just pack horses to carry their possessions, only the essentials could be brought along.
?} Connellsville, PA was incorporated as a borough in 1806, but became a city after annexing the former borough of New Haven, PA in 1909. The former community of New Haven is now referred to as the "West Side of Connellsville", as it is west of the Youghiogheny River.
?} Blue limestone mined from the Casparis Mine) was sent down to the railroad along the Youghiogheny River in large buckets down the Incline. Evidence of the incline still exists along Casparis Road about a half mile away from the Casparis Mine.
Recreation
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The three miles of Meadow Run Trail in Ohiopyle State Park, PA passes along some of the park's best scenery. A constant along the trail are eastern hemlock, rhododendron, and mountain laurel. Meadow Run Trail has several access points including a parking area near Dinnerbell Road (SR 2011). From this access point the trail splits off into multiple segments with the right cutting by an impressive outcropping of blue limestone made up of cliffs and overhangs several stories high before the trail joins up at Meadow Run near the scenic Meadow Run Cascades. From this point forward the trail meanders along scenic Meadow Run passing Flat Rock before veering above the run until it joins again near the Meadow Run Natural Waterslide, which has a parking lot off of Route 381. The trail continues under a bridge before emerging at the Youghiogheny River in a location that sports enormous rocks and rock ledges. Following the shoreline the trail cuts through some rough terrain that rises above the Youghiogheny River before heading down in elevation at the end of Meadow Run Trail where Cucumber Run joins the Youghiogheny River less than one hundred yards from Cucumber Falls.