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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:
|Mailing Address:||Raystown Branch Juniata River Water Trail
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:
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.
|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.|