Raystown Branch Juniata River Water Trail
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The Juniata River flows through west-central Pennsylvania to the Susquehanna River, the largest of the Chesapeake Bay's tributaries. Along the Juniata's Raystown Branch, a 55 mile water trail allows paddlers to experience this part of the Bay watershed. The Raystown Branch water trail meanders through rural Bedford County, beginning in historic Bedford and running easterly towards Saxton.

The river passes through mountain ridges and played a major role in defining land transportation routes and the location of settlements in the area. Evidence of the rich industrial and farming heritage shows up at many places along the river trail.

The trail is characterized by slow pools interrupted by fast but shallow riffles. It is a Class I water course, ideal for the novice canoeist.

Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Obtain a water trail map and guide and navigational maps in advance, plan your trip, and follow all safety precautions.

Location / Directions: Bedford is accessible from Interstate 70/76. Access the trail at several points located between Bedford and Saxton:
  • Friendship Village Campground, just 2 miles west of Bedford off U.S. Route 30.

  • Old Bedford Village, just 1 mile south of PA Turnpike exit 11.

  • On old U.S. Route 220. Cross the covered bridge; the access point is to the left.

  • Fort Bedford Park in Bedford by the Fort Bedford Museum trailhead. Turn north at the Pitt Street and Juliana Street intersection.

  • Juniata Woolen Mill at Lutzville, 1 mile south of U.S. Route 30.

  • 5 miles east of Bedford. From U.S. Route 30, turn south on Aschom Road, which is one-half mile east of Bedford Hospital.

  • Everett River Dike, near the center of Everett, 500 yards east (downstream) of the west end (Weicht) bridge. From Old Route 30, turn south on Juniata Street or South Spring Street, and go to the dike. This is the best exit point for visiting Everett from the river. The ballfields is the best launch site. Driving on the dike and ramps is permitted.

  • Everett Ballfields. On the eastern end of Everett, one-third mile downstream of the east end of the Route 26 bridge by the Little League fields, turn off Old Route 30 onto Karns Avenue at the east end of town near the Igloo ice cream stand.

  • Juniata Crossings, 1 mile west of Breezewood off the westbound lane of U.S. Route 30 on the east bank of the river at the bridge near the historical marker. This is a right turn off Route 30. Don’t drive down the ramp to the river.

  • Woy Bridge Campground. 2 miles east of Everett, turn north off of Route 30 at the Graceville sign near the Archers and Anglers Sport Shop. Go one-quarter mile, and turn right at the top of the hill onto SR 1010. Go 2 miles, and turn left onto Whetstone Road.
  • Ritchey Bridge, east of Tatesville. The southeast corner of the bridge is the access area. There is a riverside road here that you can’t block with your parked car. Park on the shoulders of the state road.

  • Cypher Beach Skating Rink, about one-half mile south of Cypher Bridge. Take the one-way turnoff into the cottage area, and look for the large, gray building next to the river.

  • Warriors Path State Park, accessible via Saxton. Turn onto 8th Street off SR 913. Look for signs. The park is gated at night.

  • Saxton VFW Park, 0.7 miles east of Saxton Bridge. Turn left off Route 913 at the park entrance. Turn left into the park, and take the road to the riverbank. The park entrance is gated and may sometimes be locked.
Mailing Address: Raystown Branch Juniata River Water Trail
Len Lichvar
Southern Alleghenies Conservancy
702 West Pitt Street
Bedford, PA 15522
Business Phone: (814) 623-7900
Activities: Anglers will find trout, smallmouth bass, and panfish on the river. Wildlife enthusiasts can point to bald eagles, often seen on the river between the Crossings and Saxton.

For boaters, the Raystown Branch enables a variety of activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and even shopping at various access/exit points along the trail. River depths vary—typically from 1 to 3 feet, except for deeper holes normally found near the river bends. Watch for two low-head dams and the remains of another dam.

The Raystown Branch Juniata River Water Trail boasts these sights along the way:

  • Friendship Village Campground and RV Park, 2 miles upstream of Bedford. The facility offers year-round camping and river access, as well as a camp store.

  • Old Bedford Village and Claycomb Covered Bridge. 1 mile upstream of Bedford, this historic colonial-era village showcases craftsmen and exhibits.

  • Fort Bedford Museum and historic Bedford, where you’ll find a museum, antiques and shopping, dining, lodging, and historic tours all within two blocks of the trailhead.

  • Juniata Woolen Mill. Built in 1805, it’s reputedly the first mill west of the Susquehanna River. You’ll see it 3 miles downstream of Bedford just past the Lutzville Bridge. The mill is adjacent to Newry Manor, an 1803 German colonial manor house.

  • The mid-state hiking trail, which runs from the C&O; Canal Trail in Maryland to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, traversing Bedford County north and south along the Tussey Mountain Ridge.

  • historic Everett, where shopping, dining, lodging, and historic sites await within four blocks of the river dike access point.

From Everett, the trail continues east for 7 miles until it reaches Juniata Crossing and the historic Stone Lodge built there about 1812. Stone Lodge overnight guests included Abraham Lincoln, P.T. Barnum, and Zachary Taylor.

The river also hosts the annual Bloody Run Canoe Classic between Bedford and Everett for both recreational and competition-class boats.

Boating regs mandate that you bring a flotation device for each person, an anchor light, some sort of daytime running lights, and a whistle or other sound-producing device. All boats, including canoes and kayaks, using the formal trailheads must have valid registration.

Fishing Canoeing / Kayaking

Operating Hours: You can access the water trail 24 hours a day throughout the year, although common boating sense suggests remaining ashore after dark.

The trail is canoeable year round and is best traveled from March through July, when spring rains and snow runoff fill the rivers.

Fees: There are no fees to access the Raystown Branch water trail.
Visitor Facilities: Along the river trail, you can stop at many access/exit points with nearby facilities such as the Friendship Village Campground and RV Park, historic Bedford, historic Everett, and the Travelers Rest Motel and Restaurant.
Length: 55 miles / 89 kilometers
Accessibility: Most of the access points to the water trail are not handicapped accessible. The best bet is Fort Bedford Park.
Trail Map & Guide:

A Raystown Branch Juniata River Water Trail map may be obtained from the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy.

Safety Info: Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Water trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, the National Park Service and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials. [View a list of water safety tips]
River Classification: Class I. Read more about the different levels of River Classifications.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY