Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Johnstown, a former steel town also known for its floods, now anchors a growing outdoor recreation scene in its surrounding mountains and valleys.
Whitewater boaters are drawn to the Stonycreek River in increasing numbers, seeking the challenge of its “canyon” that boasts 15 Class III-IV rapids in four miles – the longest continuous set of rapids in the eastern United States. Whitewater Park, just downstream, is a 300-yard river park where boaters can practice and play. As the “Stony” flows towards the downtown, paddlers will notice the concrete river walls built to make Johnstown “flood free” after the 1936 flood. Johnstown’s famous Inclined Plane – the World’s Steepest – comes into view along the steep hillside. A ride to the top offers an impressive view of the city, visitor center, gift shop, and restaurant. Boaters can easily find convenient lodging, dining, entertainment and services in and around Johnstown.
Rock Run Recreation, about an hour’s drive north of Johnstown, is a 6,000 acre ATV park developed on a former strip mine site. Rock Run boasts 140 miles of trails that traverse open grasslands, timbered ravines, pine groves, and scenic expanses. The park, recognized as “the premier ATV recreation park east of the Mississippi” offers spectacular views from atop the Allegheny Mountains.
With over 120,000 acres of public lands, the area between Johnstown and Rock Run is loaded with many other outdoor recreation opportunities, from road cycling, mountain biking, and rail-trail riding, to hiking, flatwater paddling, fishing and hunting. The stories of this area’s industrial and sometimes tragic past are woven into its trails and waterways, making for an interesting trip to a town that is forging its future, not with steel, but with the natural features that surround it. For more information, go to www.visitjohnstownpa.com or call 1-800-237-