My first look at Badlands National Park is not anything I expected or visualized. The Pinnacles entrance to the national park, where the Wilderness Voyageurs guides have taken us for our first ride of the six-day “Badlands and Black Hills” bike tour of South Dakota, is aptly named for the spires that form this otherworldly landscape. Read More
I find myself mere feet from a swarm of buffalo (or more accurately, bison). I am walking my bike and have wisely chosen to walk between two cars that are essentially stopped as the herd crosses a road in Custer State Park, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Read More
When I signed up for Biketours.com’s guided eight-day “The Emerald Tour of Slovenia’s Gems” bike tour, I was expecting sprawling landscapes and quaint villages. What I wasn’t expecting was to be surprised each day by some unique attraction. Read More
America Outdoors, the leading association of outfitters and guides, announced today the appointment of six new members of the Board of Directors. The six new members join re-elected board members including Treasurer Eric Martin of Wilderness Voyageurs. Read More
Fall is a superb time to bike some of the phenomenal multi-purpose trails repurposed from rail lines and canal tow paths.
This year, I became acquainted with one of the best in our area – the Delaware-Lehigh Trail just across from New Jersey in Pennsylvania, a 165-mile long trail that follows the Delaware Canal State Park and the Delaware Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Read More
The U.S. State Department updated its travel advisory rating for Cuba from “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” to “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.” The move, which took place in August, was welcomed by a coalition of U.S. tour operators and organizations that have seen educational exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba deeply hurt by the State Department’s level 3 classification. Read More
It’s appropriate for the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to announce its most recent group of awardees during the holiday season because there’s no greater manifestation of the spirit of giving than risking one’s life for another.
Following a tradition begun in 1904 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the commission recently honored two Canadians and 16 Americans, including two from Ohiopyle in Fayette County, for acts of heroism that ranged from helping police officers in trouble to rescuing two women from the Youghiogheny River. Read More
Two whitewater rafting guides from Ohiopyle, who performed a dangerous river rescue, were among 18 Carnegie Medal hero award winners — 16 Americans and two Canadians — announced Tuesday.
Eric Martin and Patrick McCarty were awarded Carnegie Medals for saving two rafters on the Youghiogheny River whose raft had become stuck on a bridge pier in high and swift water, just 300 yards upriver from the 20-foot tall Ohiopyle Falls in Fayette County. Read More
Fly fishing in Pennsylvania presents an abundance of opportunities for anglers seeking a new challenge and some quality time outdoors. The fishing potential in Pennsylvania is unsurpassed. There is more flowing water in Pennsylvania than any other state besides Alaska, and 15,000 miles are designated as wild trout fisheries.
PITTSBURGH — World-class parks. The Three Rivers. Thousands of miles of trails and streams. Southwestern Pennsylvania’s outdoor playground is open and booming! (Wilderness Voyageurs is featured starting at 30:05) Read More
Even for someone who grew up paddling on whitewater and competing at kayaking, the Great Recession could be a scary ride. But like a good rafting trip, it wasn’t just scary in bad ways. Eric Martin remembers seeing the big drops coming and trying to pick the best line to get through them. Read More
In addition to local businesses like Savannah On Wheels and Perry Rubber Bike Shop, which offer bike rentals to visitors, national bicycle tour companies including VBT, based in Vermont, and Pennsylvania’s Wilderness Voyageurs are operating van-supported tours in our city almost year round. Read More
If you love cycling and you love vacations, a bike tour is definitely for you. Bike tours take you to some of the most beautiful and amazing locations on the planet. And you get to experience everything up close and personal- nothing between you and the world! Read More
From its beginnings in Preston County, West Virginia, to where it enters Monongahela River near Mckeesport, Pennsylvania, the Youghiogheny River goes against the grain. The Yough, for short, is a 134-mile river that travels in a primarily northern direction. Read More
Want to take the kids on your next outdoor adventure? Take a gander at these tried and true tips from our four families before you hit the trail. Read More
The United States has long been considered the home of some of the world’s best kayaking trips. And it’s no wonder—with its numerous wild rivers and breathtaking landscapes, the country’s a natural playground for daredevil adventurers. Read More
Ohiopyle, in the Youghiogheny River Valley of the Alleghenies just an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, is an outdoorsman’s paradise with camping, whitewater rafting, biking on rail-trails, and hiking. During September and October, the region is uncrowded and awash in autumn colors. Read More
My friends and I are deeply grateful to Dean, the “river Chapalin,” from Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle, who assisted us when our kayaks (that were rented from another company) capsized on the middle Youghiogheny River. Read More
It’s no surprise that Cucumber Falls is one of the most-photographed waterfalls in western Pennsylvania.
The picturesque and very accessible 30-foot waterfall is tucked in a wooded gorge that drains into the Youghiogheny River in the Laurel Highlands of southwest Pennsylvania. Read More
The 150-mile rail-to-trail bike path between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland, affords life-affirming views, forgiving terrain, and access to quaint towns. Wilderness Voyageurs offers inn-to-inn rides—it maps the route, changes any flats, and transfers luggage. Read More
People across the region worked Monday to recover from flooding resulting from weekend storms that punctuated one of the soggiest Julys on record.
For the month, 6.42 inches of rain fell in Pittsburgh, according to the National Weather Service’s rain gauge at Pittsburgh International Airport. That ranked as the region’s 17th-wettest July since 1838, and the soggiest since 7.32 inches fell in July 2012, according to weather agency records. Read More
“If you’re not eating, sleeping or riding your bike, you’re wasting time.”
Colleen O’Neil laughed as she recalled that bit of wisdom and the reality of it during a 25-day bicycle tour that took her from Canada to the Mexican border. Read More
Pittsburgh’s neighboring greenspace offers the perfect terrain for rock climbing. New to the sport? Check out Ohiopyle for in-depth instruction from Wilderness Voyageurs, an outdoors company that is prepared to help climbers of any skill level. Read More
The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation invites the public to a free 15th anniversary Community Celebration Day on July 29 at the Quecreek Mine rescue site to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the miraculous “9 for 9” mine rescue, which occurred July 24-28, 2002. Read More
The Southeast is heralded from coast to coast as a legitimate whitewater mecca. Here are just a few of our all-time favorite whitewater destinations in and around the Blue Ridge region. Read More
Thru-hiking for months on end is out of reach for most of us. But a weekend backpacking trip? Most of us can carve that time into our schedules. Luckily, the Southern Appalachians are chock full of sub-100 mile trails that offer a thru-hiking experience in just a few days. Read More
There’s still availability to join the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s 2017 Pennsylvania Sojourn, June 18-23, a six-day cycling trip exploring two dedicated trails—the legendary Great Allegheny Passage and beautiful Montour Trail – a total of some 150 miles of biking. Read More
Living along the Three Rivers offers some pretty spectacular benefits for Pittsburghers: Jaw-dropping views, waterfront restaurants, and plenty of water activities. Whether you cruise down the river on the Gateway Clipper Fleet or in a kayak and canoe in Pittsburgh, you’ll find that time melts away when you’re on the water. Read More
If slow travel is more your speed, try Wilderness Voyageur’s Cuba Clásico Bike Tour. Averaging 30 miles a day, this eight day jaunt through the countryside includes breaks at a tobacco farm, two national parks, and Ernest Hemingway’s former home. Read More
I took this footage using my dad’s Super 8 movie camera which I carried down the river in a waterproof ammo can. I would paddle down ahead and film Jimmy, Imre and Kim on the Upper. Jim did take some footage of me going over National Falls. And Kim took that footage of Jimmy and me in the little holes right above Lost and Found. Read More
With their April 23 Gear Fest, Chris Kaminski and Christine Iksic are testing the waters — and splashing in a little beer. Read More
Spend six unforgettable days exploring two awesome trails—the legendary Great Allegheny Passage and beautiful Montour Trail—on RTC’s 2017 Pennsylvania Sojourn. Ride with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on this six-day summer bike excursion to experience Pennsylvania’s famous scenic wilderness, charming towns, beautiful tunnels, iconic sites and can’t-miss destinations. This fully supported rail-trail adventure vacation has great food, hot showers, flexible scheduling, fun evening activities, awesome optional trips—and the added benefit of supporting America’s trails! Read More
In Ohiopyle’s laid-back taverns, everyone dresses casually and kids are welcome. Ohiopyle House Cafe serves tasty sandwiches with chips made to order. Falls City Restaurant & Pub, at the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail’s terminus, is Ohiopyle’s favorite hang-out for a reason: The beer selection rivals that of any craft-brew-centric restaurant in Washington. Read More
Autumn can be a great time to get outdoors, but the change in season brings more than those beloved golden-red vistas. If you’re sick of the leaf peepin’ crowds, we’ve consulted some regional hiking experts for 10 hikes less traveled, rated on a solitude scale of 0 to 5 (0 = crowded; 5 = not a soul in sight), so you can still hit the trail and soak in the colors without competing with the masses. Read More
Roll down the windows, turn up the tunes, and hit the road. We have scoured the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic for the most affordable adventures. Read More
Katy Trail, Missouri. AT 237 miles, it’s the nation’s longest rails-to-trails project. How often can you ride a rail trail (nearly) across an entire states? Flat and scenic – more than half of the trail follows Lewis and Clark’s route along the Missouri River – it’s also a good place for beginners to get started on a bike. Read More
Late last year our friends at the Trail Town program organized a workshop about running a small business focused on trails, rafting and the booming outdoor recreation market.
We know there is a lot of interest in West Virginia at the moment around recreation entrepreneurship. So here’s a recap of the lessons learned. Read More
When we mentioned to friends that we would be bicycling in southwest Pennsylvania, there was a three-second pause, and a look of concern. And then, “You know that’s in the mountains, right?” Right. But our six-day bike trek would take place mostly on the Great Allegheny Passage, the 150-mile rail-trail that begins in Cumberland, Maryland, and winds its way northwest to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Read More
The Cheat Canyon, eight miles of rugged West Virginia mountains with the Cheat River and the Allegheny Trail running through it, has been permanently conserved. State, federal and conservation organization officials named it the Cheat Canyon Wildlife Management Area after they pulled together $7 million to buy the property from a private owner last fall. The canyon had been a target for preservation since the 1970s. Read More
The Yough River has gotten a lot of attention in recent years for its often fantastic trout fishing. But don’t forget about its smallmouths. A recent survey of the river and the experiences of local guides show its bass fishery is topnotch, too. Read More
Eric Martin’s parents started leading rafting trips for scouts on the Youghiogheny River in 1959. They launched Wilderness Voyageurs five years later, becoming the first whitewater rafting company on the Youghiogheny, and the entire east coast. “I grew up deep in the rafting business,” Martin says. “I got my first kayak at age 10, after my dad made me cut grass all summer to earn it.” Read More
People from all over are learning to say “yok-a-gay-nee,” but the improved pronunciation isn’t due to geography classes or online navigational aids.
The Youghiogheny River’s growing notoriety comes from fish, namely trout and smallmouth bass — big ones and lots of them. That encouraging fact was the core message at a public presentation Sept. 29 at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort by the Yough Work Group, an informal collaboration among the Fish and Boat Commission, professional river guides and outfitters, watershed groups and the Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Read More
What Is It? Pedal nine gradual, scenic miles along the Great Allegheny Passage until you reach the launch point, then ditch your bike and trade it for a raft, duck, or canoe—your choice. Here, you’ll begin a float of the Middle Yough—a Class 1 to 2 river with some small waves and numerous swimming opportunities. Read More
There’s nothing that quite compares to hitting the open road. It’s exhilarating, liberating, intoxicating. You never know what’s around the corner, what hole-in-the-wall shop or hidden gem you may discover. Even if you’re just out for the day, breaking the 9-to-5 routine for a scenic drive might be enough to recharge your batteries and get you inspired to go outside and play. Read More
Nestled among the rugged Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania lies an old logging town with an international renown that far outweighs its scant population of 59. That town is Ohiopyle, a sleepy little place with a few old buildings and one main road that runs through town uninterrupted by stop sign or traffic light. But what it lacks in appearances it makes up for in one thing. Whitewater. Read More
Looking to step up your accommodations from the back of your Toyota truck? Got a new girlfriend who insists on having a shower? For all those who might wear their hair just a little too long, who always travel with at least one dog (call before you book), and who are looking for a bed or a bunk to lay their weary head, here’s a look at our top laid-back lodging picks for your outdoor adventures. We’re not sure what thread count you’ll find, but it beats washing up in the gas station bathroom. Many of these spots are truly first class in both atmosphere and service. Read More
Wilderness Voyageurs founder Lance Martin took 300 people white-water rafting in the Youghiogheny River in 1959, the company’s first year in business. That was a lot, considering that less than 2,000 people in the world were believed to have ever braved white water at that time. Read More
The Laurel Highlands stretch over three counties of mountainous terrain that starts a little over an hour east of Pittsburgh and encompass over 120,000 acres of state and federally managed parks and feature the spectacular Youghiogheny River Gorge in the Ohiopyle State Park – where we spent most of our time traipsing through the woods. Running the “Yough,” as it’s often called, is one of the best white water rafting opportunities in the Eastern US. Read More
The final segment of the trail — from Homestead, Pa., to Pittsburgh — opened to fanfare on Saturday, completing a 150-mile route that links to the C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland, Md. The C&O towpath continues another 185 miles into Washington, D.C. Like many of the nation’s multi-use trails, the GAP was created from an abandoned rail line. (The last train rolled through in 1975). It exists largely thanks to the vision and persistence of the Allegheny Trail Alliance, a coalition of local groups in southwestern Pennsylvania and western Maryland. Read More
“You’re going to Pennsylvania?” our friends asked. “You’re usually flying off to some destination we’ve never heard of, but the state named after William Penn? Why Pennsylvania?”
I could hear the thud of a gauntlet being tossed down when the words “why Pennsylvania?” were uttered. I picked up the metaphorical glove and flew east to answer the question. Read More
Nothing makes a race more satisfying than a pint of fresh craft beer waiting for you at the finish line. Here are six of our favorite beer races. Read More
When former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy planned his first Pittsburgh-to-Washington D.C. ride along the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Towpath in 1999, he called upon Eric Martin to help organize the trip.
Martin, co-owner of Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle, had organized road rides in central Pennsylvania but never had put together a 335-mile trip. It was a learning experience for all concerned. Read More
Water, water, everywhere: Laurel Highlands is an oasis of falls and cascades. Imagine wild rivers full of rapids and healthy trout, scenic mountaintops, and miles of singletrack through hardwood forests. Imagine that place lies just 45 minutes from the city suburbs. Now, imagine that city is Pittsburgh. Read More
Visiting Civil War battlefields needn’t involve musty coach buses and dry accounts only a reenactor could appreciate. Here’s a trip that commemorates the war’s sesquicentennial with a bike ride from Leesburg, Va., to Gettysburg, Pa., taking in story-filled battlefield tours and landmark towns along the route. Read More
You already love towns like Charlottesville, Asheville, and Fayetteville for their outdoor vibe, but the Southern Appalachians are full of lesser-known small towns that boast vibrant scenes and access to incredible adventure. Here’s a short list of candidates poised to become the South’s Next Great Mountain Town. Read More
Last weekend, in a loft at Ohiopyle’s Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters and on the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only stretch of nearby Meadow Run, fly fishing instructor Dale Kotowski showed a small Venture Outdoors class how it’s done. The manager of the store’s fly shop, Kotowski said he learned European nymphing during a fishing vacation in the Czech Republic. Read More
Tara Nathan stops adjusting her spray skirt for a minute to stand up in front of the sea of red rafts. She waves at the boats full of Boy Scouts (most of whom are a good five inches shorter than her) and grins, a flash of white teeth on tan skin, then plunks back down on her green kayak. Read More
Shaded by a dense hardwood canopy, cut by clear, wildflower lined creeks, and pocked with postcard-worthy ridgetop views, the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) is one of the Keystone state’s marquee paths. An hour south of Pittsburgh, the Laurel Highlands hover around 2,500 feet, and stay 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the humid valley floor. Pack light: There are eight shelter sites along the five- to six-day trek. Each site is equipped with a water pump, outhouses, refuse bins, tent-camping areas, and five Adirondack-style lean-to’s, replete with stone fireplaces and built-in cooking racks. Read More
On Monday afternoon, the Salem International University soccer field was covered in tents, bicycles and riders for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s West Virginia Sojourn. “This ride is different from some of the others. It’s diverse with the tunnels and some other aspects,” said Kasia Martin, bike tour manager of Wilderness Voyagers. Read More
With majestic scenery and roaring rivers, the ‘Triple Crown of Eastern Whitewater’ is indisputable proof that adventure is alive and well on the East Coast. The ‘Triple Crown’ consists of a trio of dam-controlled rivers offering guided whitewater rafting adventures throughout the summer and into the early fall; the Dead River (Maine), the Gauley River (Virginia), and the Youghiogheny River (Pennsylvania). Read More