Kayak Pittsburgh FAQ

Typically, anyone ages 3+ can go kayaking.

However, some restrictions apply:

  • Age 3 (or 35 lbs) to 12 – Must be in a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian, and parent or guardian must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form for each child.
  • Age 13-15 – May be in a solo kayak, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on the water. Must also have parent or guardian sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.
  • Age 16-17 – May be in a solo kayak on water alone, but parent or guardian must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.
  • Age 18+ – Must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.

Weight Requirements

  • Minimum weight requirement is 35 pounds.
  • Maximum weight limit is 325 pounds for solo kayaks and 575 pounds for tandem kayaks.

You must be 16 years or older to go stand up paddle boarding.

However, some restriction may apply:

  • Age 16-17 – May go out on a stand up paddle board on the water alone, but parent or guardian must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.
  • Age 18+ – Must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.

Kayaking in our rivers and lakes is perfect for beginners as well as advanced paddlers. Our rivers are slow moving, and our lakes are calm. It is easy to learn and after a few minutes of instruction from our staff, you will be equipped to head out onto the river and enjoy the city from a whole new vantage point.

Current Venture Outdoors Members can now make reservations for up to three boats at North Park only. For more info or to reserve, click here.

We take group reservations for groups of 10 or more at all locations. We are very flexible with reservation times Monday – Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, we can only accept reservations at 10:00 AM depending on availability of the boats.

Make a group reservation by calling 412-255-0564 ext 200 during business hours. A $50 deposit is required for all reservations.

There are lockers available for you to store your things free of charge and at your own risk. There is also an option to pay $1 to rent a lock for the lockers.

No, you don’t have to be a Venture Outdoors member to kayak, but you’ll help support our mission AND save on kayaking rental if you are a member!

Venture Outdoors Memberships start at only $15 a year and include $5 off the first hour of kayaking. Members who give $75 or more a year also receive one free 1-hour rental voucher for Kayak Pittsburgh; Members at $125 and higher receive two free 1-hour rental vouchers.

Better yet, when you become a Venture Outdoors Member at either Kayak Pittsburgh location at the Individual or higher level you’ll receive one free 1-hour rental voucher! (In addition to aforementioned level-related vouchers.)

All current Members are eligible to receive a 12% discount when buying a Kayak Pittsburgh season pass. Sign up for Membership or learn more here.

Yes! Season Passes are available to buy here. Current Venture Outdoors Members are eligible to receive a 12% discount on season passes, please email membership@ventureoutdoors.org for more information.

Kayaking is like riding a bike; you can get in a great workout or just relax and enjoy the scenery.

Wear whatever you’re comfortable in! While you should not expect to get excessively wet, your paddle will drip a bit as you move along the water.

We don’t recommend:

  • Jeans
  • Bulky clothes
  • Flip flops or shoes that can fall off easily

We do recommend:

  • Non-cotton materials
  • Layering
  • Preparing for direct sun
  • Preparing for a cool breeze
  • Tennis shoes or sandals with straps

All boaters must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times.  We provide these at the concession.

Our minimum rental is one hour. Kayaks can be rented for additional 1/2 hours – stay out as long as you like as long as you return before we close.

Yes. All participants must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form before paddling. Those under age 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form for them. Download and print the form here.

We love our kayakers and your safety is our highest concern! We closely monitor weather and river conditions, including river flow. River flow is measured in cubic feet per second and it’s one of the key indicators of river conditions. We follow a standard rule of 27kcfs or 27 thousands of cubic feet per second. This means we do not allow kayakers in the water when the flow is above 27kcfs. We use a hydrograph provided by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS)andNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help us make this call. Check out the following link to view a hydrograph for part of the Allegheny River: http://ow.ly/OWmOF. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for minute to minute weather updates.

There is a free parking lot located at the Boathouse in North Park and at Aspinwall Riverfront Park.

For North Shore parking, click here for some options. Street parking is free on Sundays.

Courtesy of the Safe Boating Council

  • Wear your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times.
  • No alcohol is permitted while utilizing Kayak Pittsburgh boats. NO exceptions!
  • All other boats on the water have the right-of-way.
  • Large shipping and commercial vessels are restricted in their ability to maneuver and will not change their course for you – stay out of their way.
  • Always assume other boats cannot see you.
  • Tugs often tow objects on a long submerged line that is difficult to see.
  • Avoid cargo loading docks – if boats are moored at a dock, stay away.
  • Never tie up to a buoy.
  • At least five or more short blasts from a vessel’s whistle means “danger.” Stay away from any commercial vessel that blows this signal.
  • If a storm is near, head for the nearest shore. Beach your boat and find shelter on the downwind (leeward) side of the land.
  • Stay at least ten feet away from strainers, bridge abutments, dams and locks and anything else that is stationary in the water.
  • Always be alert for floating or submerged debris.
  • Be aware that if you cross the river, you will have to cross back, and it is difficult to maneuver in the currents.
  • Pass other boats on the port (left) side – never attempt to cross the path of an oncoming boat.
  • Do not paddle into marinas or River Rescue safety zone unless invited.
  • Obey all instruction from on-water River Rescue patrols and the Coast Guard.
  • Never tie a rope to yourself or to another paddler, especially a child.
  • If you collide with an obstruction, lean toward it.
  • Do not dock your kayak on the landing by Heinz Field. This is the ramp that The Just Ducky tours use to enter and exit the water. Docking on this ramp could be dangerous to you and to the people on the tour.
  • HAVE FUN, and let our friendly Kayak Pittsburgh staff know if you have any questions.

Contact Us

North Park

10301 Pearce Mill Rd
Allison Park, PA 15101


North Shore

1 Federal St
Pittsburgh, PA 15212


Aspinwall Riverfront Park

285 River Ave
Aspinwall, PA 15215