Here’s Why Kayak Pittsburgh Might be Closed on a Sunny Day

By Stephanie Capilongo, Paddle Sports Coordinator 

It’s a beautiful day in the burgh. The sky is blue, and the sun is shining, a rare occasion for the steel city. You and a friend decide “lets go yakin under the yellow bridges”. You stroll down the stairs underneath the sixth street bridge to find out…

 “Kayak Pittsburgh is CLOSED”.  You storm away, angry and confused. “How could you be closed on a perfect day to kayak?!?”

During my time as the North Shore Supervisor, I ran into this conundrum a lot… 

Clear skies come and go, but there’s more to closures than the weather. One of the most lingering issues is river flow rate. Duhn DUHN DUUUUHH 

So…

 

What is the River Flow Rate? 

In the simplest way, the “River Flow Rate” is how fast the current is flowing.
  

How Fast is TOO Fast? 

30,000 Cubic Feet per Second. Have you ever tried to walk up a down escalator? That’s what it feels like when you kayak in those conditions.

 

How do you know how fast it is? 

We find our readings directly from the NOAA Hydrologic Prediction Service.
Allegheny River (North Shore)
Allegheny River ( Aspinwall)
Ohio River

 

Okay, but I just checked that site and it’s below 30K. 

Okay, okay, true! But we also look at weather, temperature, debris levels. Also, it could be slow now, but it could pick up. 

 

Can I still Kayak at North Park? 

SURE CAN! Lakes don’t have a flow rate, so come on up to North Park Lake and we’ll get you paddling.  

 

If you want to learn more about river flow rate or our operations, feel free to contact us directly.