Destination: Angel Falls

By on March 2, 2016

There’s a section of the Allegheny River south of Franklin, Pennsylvania, that is designated a National Wild & Scenic River. This part of the Allegheny winds its way lazily past summer cottages and tiny river villages, around wild islands, and parallel to a beautiful recreational rail-trail that disappears through two old railroad tunnels. Just below the little river town of Kennerdell is a secluded little spot on a bend in the river that is home to Angel Falls. The waterfall itself is not visible from the river, so in order to see it, you need to get out of your boat and take a little hike. Hiking in from land takes a little longer, but it can be done. The land is privately owned, but responsible visitors are welcome, and even camping is allowed. It is accessible by land, but that requires more of a hike, along with some back road navigation. It’s located at 41°13’34.93″N 79°46’43.97″W

The launch at Kennerdell is convenient, but privately-owned, so a small fee is required for use of the ramp.

The launch at Kennerdell is convenient, but privately-owned, so a small fee is required for use of the ramp.

Most of this section of the river is fairly calm, with a few faster riffles here & there.

Most of this section of the river is fairly calm, with a few faster riffles here & there.

Wild, scenic, and beautiful.

Wild, scenic, and beautiful.

Lunch Break

There are several primitive campsites, complete with fire rings.

There are several primitive campsites, complete with fire rings.

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There is a lagoon just below the campsites that carries a bit of history, as well as an eagle's nest.

There is a lagoon just below the campsites that carries a bit of history, as well as an eagle’s nest, which was very active while we were there.

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Carvings in the rocks at the lagoon date well into the 19th Century, and are only visible when the river is at normal or low levels.

Carvings in the rocks at the lagoon date well into the 19th Century, and are only visible when the river is at normal or low levels.

Local lore tells of a river packet boat carrying a family ran aground here during a low-water summer in the 1880s, where they stayed for three months, until the river level came up enough to continue their trip south toward Pittsburgh. They left behind a picture of their boat carved into the rock.

Local lore tells of a river packet boat carrying a family that ran aground here during a low-water summer in the 1880s, where they stayed for three months, until the river level came up enough to continue their trip south toward Pittsburgh. They left behind a picture of their boat carved into the rock.

The falls are located just a short hike up the trail from the campsite.

The falls are located just a short hike up the trail from the campsite.

Angel Falls

And the beautiful scenery continues upstream from the falls.

And the beautiful scenery continues upstream from the falls.

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Here’s Kyla’s video blog of our trip:

Interested in doing the trip, but need boats and/or shuttle service? Get in touch with the folks at OARS Allegheny, they’ll set you up!

Michael Henderson

About Michael Henderson

Born and bred in Franklin, Pennsylvania, Mike learned about adventure from an early age. Even before he learned to walk, Mike made trips to the Outer Banks with his family, where he slept under his dad’s cot in a canvas tent along the beach. The adventures continued, to the mountains, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast, and everywhere in between. Those trips included backpacking into the Grand Canyon and up Mount Rainier, camping in the Rockies in the snow, and skiing right out the front door at home on old alpine skis with cable bindings. Other family activities including canoeing, water skiing, ice skating, bouldering, body surfing, and fishing. By the 1980s, Mike’s interests expanded to include windsurfing, inline skating, photography, and eventually mountain biking, geocaching, and kayaking. He currently teaches photography at the Venango College of Clarion University, as well as windsurfing, geocaching, camping skills, and cross-country skiing at various local outdoor workshops. He collaborated and managed what has been considered the world’s largest, longest-running, and most successful geotrail, the Allegheny Geotrail. Some of his paddling exploits include two Ocracoke-to-Portsmouth Island crossings; St. Ignace, Michigan-to-Mackinac Island; and multiple excursions along the entire Pennsylvania shoreline of Lake Erie.

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