Upper Mon Water Trail - Flatwater Paddling

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About

Summary

West Virginia’s first water trail for recreational boaters, follows along the upper 65 miles of the Monongahela River from Fairmont, WV to Rices Landing in PA. You’ll pass through many communities and through several historic locks and dams over the trail.

Written by

Ashley Halligan

Distance

65.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

119.5 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

0 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Because this trail is 65 miles, and passes through several communities along the way, there may be different regulations in each place. Please check with your destination for specific dog regulations.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The Monongahela River flows for 130 miles from Fairmont, WV to Pittsburgh, PA, and is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating slackwater river navigation systems. The Upper Monongahela River Water Trail, West Virginia’s first water trail for recreational boaters, follows along the upper 65 miles of the river from Fairmont, WV to Rices Landing in Pennsylvania.

What Makes It Great

The Upper Mon Water Trail takes paddlers on a grand tour of West Virginia and into Pennsylvania. You’ll pass through many communities and through several historic locks and dams over the course of the 65 miles. These cities and towns give you the opportunity to hang up your kayak and canoe, grab local snacks, and explore the history of the river towns. There are several comprehensive maps and guides that have been put together to highlight some of the towns and points of interest along the way. There is a lot being done to revitalize those communities to encourage more outdoor recreation and attract more visitors to the areas. The areas the Upper Mon passes through will only continue to improve, creating even better experiences for paddlers.

While the entire trail is 65 miles, you can do the Upper Mon in sections, using any of the public boat ramps along the way as put-ins and take-outs. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the river, as well as its locks and dams, especially if you don’t want to paddle the whole thing at once!

Who is Going to Love It

Experienced paddlers will enjoy doing the entire river trail from start to finish. The river’s width and condition vary from town to town as it meanders through both rural areas and big cities. It’s important to know how to navigate a river with the possibility of commercial boat traffic, and locks and dams.

Newer paddlers can also appreciate the lesser-trafficked sections of the Upper Mon, but that still have the space to learn navigation skills on a wider river. Generally, the current is mild, but the river can get tricky during high water, and when large boats go by.

If you’re a history buff, then you will love the trail, too. There are many sites of historical significance to stop and explore along the way.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are many boat ramps and put-ins along the 65 miles of the Upper Mon Trail. Some are free and some charge a fee. Some, but not all, have on-site parking. Here are two maps that give detailed driving directions to each public boat ramp along the river trail: Upper Mon North and Upper Mon South.

There are many primitive camping possibilities along the Upper Mon River Trail, but most of the land along the river is privately owned, so check before you camp, or make plans to stay overnight in the many towns along the way.

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Location

Upper Mon Trail

39.564724, -80.024879

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