Ohiopyle rafting

Ohiopyle Whitewater Rafting; first whitewater trip in North America in 2014

Ohiopyle rafting buzz was in the air yesterday.. as the first rafting trip of the year hit the Youghiogheny River.

Ohiopyle group rafting wilderness voyageurs

Wilderness Voyageurs hosted a college group from Illinois on spring break who were working on a Habitat for Humanity project.  Kudos to them for their community involvement and volunteerism.   What a great way to kick off our celebration of being the oldest whitewater rafting outfitter east of the Mississippi; Launching the first whitewater rafting trip in the US of 2014!!  That has us really fired up.

Rafting trip briefing Wilderness Voyageurs

Every rafting trip starts off with a safety and orientation talk.  Today we were focused on how to keep every one warm.  If you fall in, you need to be proactive about getting back to the raft and out of the water ASAP.  Here the trip leader Brian T. explains the proper way to sit in a raft and how to efficiently paddle together as a team.

The Yough River was running 6.9 on the Ohiopyle Gauge and the water was a bit on the chilly side, about 40 degrees.   This water level dictates that we use a bit larger of a raft than during average summer flows.  Today was 8 man rafts, with a guide at the helm. 

Ohiopyle spring rafting wilderness voyageurs

The lucky Ohiopyle raft guides that got to kick off this memorable year were Zane R., Adam aka Sherpa, Adam aka Grizz, and Brian T. Check out their “Blue Angel Formation” as they approach Cucumber Rapid.  These guys are true professionals, you would never know this is the inaugural trip of the year.  Although it is the first raft trip of the year, everyone has been out kayaking creeks and playing on the loop all winter. As a side note, if this sounds awesome and this lifestyle is screaming your name, think about joining our whitewater guide training program this spring.

Whitewater rafting ohiopyle cucumber splash

Well the reason why you come rafting.. to get wet. Hope everyone had their wetsuits and paddling jackets zipped up.  To check out more pictures from this trip, head on over to our whitewater rafting photo gallery on Google +.

Ohiopyle rafting 2014 trip 1

These guys and gals have got game..   Look at these big cheesers, note the snow on the banks of the Yough.   Well they did score  the first trip of the year,, but you can still get in on the early fun.  Our official Rafting Season Kick-off event is April 5th & 6th.  Come experience the Yough River and the Cheat River, get fed good food at the Falls City Pub, and dance to Rising Regina.  An Ohiopyle party to not be missed.  Come on out and have some fun with us.

Downstream is where the fun is!

We have mentioned Ohiopyle a lot,, not sure where or what that is??  Ohiopyle is a town and the largest state park in Pennsylvania.  Read about Ohiopyle.  Check out all the other outdoor fun that Wilderness Voyageurs has to offer: Ohiopyle outdoor adventures.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470  800-272-4141



Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Whitewater Rafting | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle Whitewater River Guide Training

Whitewater river guide!?!  In Ohiopyle!?! The wind is blowing and the patches of black ice are waiting to ambush the unwary and your mind is drifting towards the coming spring.  If you are imagining sore muscles, swimming in cold rivers, feeling equal parts fear and excitement, it may be you are a candidate for whitewater river guide training with Wilderness Voyageurs.  Make sure you check out the guide letter on the employment page link.

2014 is going to be a special year here at Wilderness Voyageurs.  We will be celebrating our 50th year in operation and I invite you to throw your helmet in the ring for a chance to  join the pantheon of river guides who have enjoyed a well earned beverage, sitting in the sun in Ohiopyle, remembering a day on the water, and looking forward to another one tomorrow.

Ohiopyle Raft Guide Training

Getting it Done on the Lower Yough

Being a river guide is not a job for the faint of heart, nor is the training.  It is more than a sexy life jacket tan.  At its core, river guiding is about taking a complete novice from point A to point B, making sure they aren’t killed in the process, while keeping a smile plastered on their faces.  It is responsibility not to be taken lightly.   More importantly, you are a gatekeeper to a wonderful world, a world of wild things!  Everyday you are given a chance to take someone through that gateway, out of their comfort zone and introduce them to a world where the wild things are.  That is a privilege, one that Wilderness Voyageurs does not take lightly, and it is reflected in our river guide training.

After you send in your exhaustive paperwork; cover letter, resume, application, and photocopies of your driver’s license and first aid and cpr cards, we will go through and call your former/current employers and references.  Then we go all “big brother” and look you up on Google and Facebook, so please be responsible and make sure your social media is cleaned up.  After all that is said and done we will send out the invitations to join us for river guide training.  If you accept, get ready for a time you will remember for the rest of your life.

The training will be led by head instructors, Rich Rostauscher

Ohiopyle whitewater rafting wilderness voyageurs

Get used to that look on his face!

and Josh Lawrey.                

Ohiopyle white water rafting near pittsburgh

“Good Cop”? maybe… maybe not.

They will take you under their wings, and put you through the paces, breaking you down and then rebuilding you into a whitewater machine.  Helping you to create the skills that will pay the bills.  Enabling you to safely escort the guests down the river, showing them a great time, and helping them escape for a few hours and reconnect to where the wild things are.

Josh and Rich will take you from the basics of how to hold a paddle (remember, it is not an oar.  You find those on street corners late at night) to how to paddle a raft all by yourself (the J-Stroke), to how to set up a Z-Drag to unpin a stuck raft, to how to swim through a strainer (They’ll even tell you what a strainer is).  Day one will begin with a little meet and greet and be followed up by a nice introduction trip to the river; a little paddling, a little splashing.  Day two and until the end of training, this formula will take over; You will meet in the morning for a little classroom time, then you will get wet, you will be uncomfortable, you will be tired, you may even get to “raft dance,” and you will either be chomping at the bit for more, or you will be ready to hang up your life jacket.  If you feel like hanging up your life jacket, give it a couple days.  Being a river guide is a doorway to whole new world.

Besides becoming a complete whitewater badass, another plus of training with Wilderness Voyageurs is that you will travel!!  This area of the Appalachians is teeming with quality whitewater, and you will be exposed to as much as we can expose you too.  From the Casselman and Indian Creek here in our back yard, to the Stoney Creek to the north, and the Mighty Cheat and the Big Sandy to the south,not to mention even more rivers, you will be able to tick off a number of classics before you are even a river guide!

Training starts with on our kick off weekend of April fifth and sixth, then runs through the weekend of May 17th and 18th.  There will be a break for Easter.  To get a better idea of what to expect and what you need to bring, just click here: I wanna work in Ohiopyle!!  And remember, you don’t have to be a river guide to work with us.  We are always hiring good people to work in our Ohiopyle outfitter store, at our reservations desks, in Falls City Pub and Restaurant, or driving a bus.  Looking forward to seeing some new smiling faces on the water with spring!



Benjamin Scoville  is the operations manager here in Ohiopyle. He is the guy that has the power of the pencil as we say.. He does all of the scheduling and overseeing rafts & trucks.

Wilderness Voyageurs, Inc.
PO Box 97 
Ohiopyle, PA 15470
Categories: Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Whitewater Rafting, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle is paradise

Ohiopyle is calling…  You should answer

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle Beer & Gear Festival this week

The 11th Annual Ohiopyle Beer and Gear festival is this weekend June 16th!

The Ohiopyle Beer and Gear festival will feature over a dozen breweries with top notch ales such as Helltown, Great Lakes, and Voodoo Brewing. There will also be stands from multiple outdoor and whitewater vendors such as Pyranha, IR, and Werner with awesome deals and products. Live music will also be performed by the high energy driven Half Bad Blue Grass!  So come out for some delicious brews, awesome gear, and some foot stomping blue grass!

Shoutout to newcomer this year Helltown Brewing!

Helltown Brewing situated in Mt. Pleasant, PA has a wide variety of beers ranging from contempory to classical using only the freshest and finest ingredients available.

Ohiopyle beer fest

These happy campers in the above photo had a great time at the last Beer & Gear, so come out this weekend for an even greater experience!

Ohiopyle has 70 miles of hikable trails, so come down before the festival and take in the beautiful scenery and embrace the nature.

Join us on fathers day and book an Ohiopyle whitewater rafting trip down the exciting and action packed Lower Youghiogheny river!

Visit Wilderness Voyageurs or call directly at 800-272-4141 for questions about other fun filled  adventures and other entertaining local events!

Categories: Beer and gear, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Meet The Cheat! Opening Weekend Video Action of Cheat River Canyon

Oh it was a MAGICAL first day on the mighty Cheat River Canyon. Opening rafting weekend at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle started with a Saturday trip down the Lower Youghiogheny River and finished with a Sunday Meet The Cheat experience and gorgeous weather. A little grey on Saturday but the Lower Yough was fun, a great level, and perfect warmup to the Cheat River Canyon the next day.

Enough talking already! Check out the action here in our first video of the season on the terrific rivers of our Ohiopyle region. Haven’t been on the Cheat yet? Well, maybe this is the year to meet the biggest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi! Cheat River Canyon!

Categories: Cheat River West Virginia, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, West virginia rafting, Whitewater Rafting | Leave a comment

July in Ohiopyle

We’re having a really great summer here at WV:

Just kidding. Today we’re actually in the middle of another summertime heatwave! T

Happy in the July Heat!

f happy paddlers out on the water:

After your whitewater rafting trip,  you might be surprised to find that there are a lot more to do in Ohiopyle than rafting the Yough and browsing the sale racks at Wilderness Voyageurs!

If you’re feeling adventurous, try checking out the miles and miles of superb mountain biking trails in the area. Or take a spin down the Great Allegheny Passage – Just make sure you’re a little more safety-savvy than these guys… wear a helmet!

Or if you’re into a solo adventure, you could spend your day hiking around the park. The hiking trails provide a wide range of difficulty from moderate to intense – just don’t forget your bugspray and sunscreen!

Hot and tired after all that cardio? Take a dive into the river or head down the Natural Waterslides for some cool river fun.

Or if you need to chill out in some good old fashioned A/C, pop into the State Park visitor center for an invigorating game of checkers:

If you need to decompress, Ohiopyle even offers a fantastic hot-yoga class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. You can even find the full list of classes online here.

At the end of the day, it’s probably time to reward yourself with a sweet treat from the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe! Or perhaps better yet…..a delicious beverage from Falls City Restaurant & Pub

Happy Trails! Have fun in Ohiopyle!

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School Is Almost Out….Time To Go Rafting in Ohiopyle!

School is almost out, and it’s time to celebrate summer break by planning a rafting trip with Wilderness Voyageurs!!   With temperatures in the 90’s this week, going on a trip down the Lower Yough here in Ohiopyle is the best way to cool off.  Come on out and enjoy the fun times waiting to be had.

The Lower Yough offers excitement and adventure for folks starting at age 12 and up, so bring the entire family!  You’ll get  some sun and cool off in the river, while enjoying the natural beauty of the Laurel Highlands, all on your rafting adventure!  So pack up the kids and head to Ohiopyle, PA.  Hope to see you soon!

Categories: Family Fun River Trips, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Family Fun, Ohiopyle rafting, Whitewater Rafting | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ice Breaker Weekend and Guide Training

Mike's Scout Troop on Ice-Breaker Weekend

It was an ice-breaker weekend all right! There was no sign of temperate spring weather (until Monday morning of course!). The snow started falling some time Friday night and continued off and on for the next 24 hours. Guide trainees and guests arrived early Saturday morning to ponder their day ahead. Everyone was psyched…especially the boy scouts! They get the award for the toughest group of the season. Every year they come early and every year they get greeted by chilly spring days. It doesn’t deter them though. The attitude is cold = fun and a great time was had by all!

Saturday morning Mike’s scout troop split up – half the group navigated the Class three whitewater of the Lower Yough and the others challenged themselves on the Cheat Canyon’s Class Four Rapids. Both groups had a blast! Although Mike was disappointed that his raft didn’t flip on the Cheat. Jared’s highly skilled guiding techniques kept the raft upright, but he did take all the good lines to keep the adventure high.

The group reunited at Falls City Restaurant and Pub for some grub after working up some mighty appetites! Sunday they enjoyed a sunny day on the Lower Yough together.

Wilderness Voyageurs newest set of guides-to-be started their new career by learning the inns and outs of what it takes to be a river guide: Some skill, a lot of stamina & safety always comes first. Veteran guides and trainers, Scott Downs (training guides for 2.5 decades) and Rich Rostauscher led the pack with an intro to the Lower Yough, what to expect, what is expected and their first trial run down the river. It gets tougher from here! The group appeared to be a solid pack. Next weekend will be a telling one when we see how many trainees return. They have another 5 weeks to go….

Sunshine for Sunday on the Cheat

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Kayak Gear

It’s creeking season now and the full on kayaking season is upon us.  One of the best parts about getting ready for the season is breaking out and going through gear and finding reasons to replace that old gear. A lot of kayaking gear is made very well, durable and can last many seasons.  However any rescue equipment or gear that I directly related to your safety such as PFD shouldn’t be pushed to the limits of years of abuse because when you really need it to work it might not.   The best thing to do is get out your safety gear and check all of it thoroughly.

We all at some point have used our throw bag for extracurricular activities: as clothes line to dry out gear, tying boats down on the roof, to extend the reach to the tree for hammock, using as a slack line, tow strap for stuck car etc… If your throw rope has been used for double duty it’s probably time to retire it and get a new throw rope for dedicated rescue use only.

The next piece of gear to consider and probably most important is your PFD. There are many ways a PFD can lose functionality through regular wear and tear which is why you should take the time to inspect it often instead of just throwing it in gear bag or boat and waiting till the next use.  UV damage can weaken the fabric, repeated use and loosen and cause threads to tear.  Even having your PFD compressed can cause it to lose buoyancy over the years.

From the US Coast Guard standards concerning PFD selection, use and care.

Serviceable condition – A PFD is considered to be in serviceable condition only if the following conditions are met:

1. No PFD may exhibit deterioration that could diminish the performance of the PFD including:

  • Metal or plastic hardware used to secure the PFD on the wearer that is broken, deformed, or   weakened by corrosion;
  • Webbings or straps used to secure the PFD on the wearer that are ripped, torn, or which have become separated from an attachment point on the PFD; or
  • Any other rotted or deteriorated structural component that fails when tugged.

2. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, no inherently buoyant PFD, including the inherently buoyant components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, may exhibit:

  • Rips, tears, or open seams in fabric or coatings that are large enough to allow the loss of buoyant material;
  • Buoyant material that has become hardened, non-resilient, permanently compressed, waterlogged, oil-soaked, or which shows evidence of fungus or mildew; or loss of buoyant material or buoyant material that is not securely held in position

Most of us don’t follow the USCG rules completely and some don’t apply unless in a power/moto boating situation but they are a good guideline when inspecting your pfd.

Check your PFD if you notice:


-Tears, holes stitching coming loose

-Straps/attachments/hardware damaged in anyway


-shrinkage or change of shape to buoyant materials

-doesn’t fit properly*

Then it’s probably time to start shopping for a new PFD!

* A proper fitting life jacket should not ride up on you and when floating should keep chin above water.  To test stand straight up in a deep pool of water and check how much floatation you have.

If you are shopping for that new vest check back here for the Stohlquist and Astral review.

Categories: Family Fun River Trips, Kayaking on the Youghiogheny River, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle rafting, Outdoor Gear, Upper Yough, Whitewater Rafting | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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