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Aerial view of Youghiogheny River Lake and dam 

Youghiogheny River Lake

497 Flanigan Road
Confluence, PA  15424-1902
(814) 395-3242
Daily Lake & Recreation Information:
(814) 395-3166

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Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938, Youghiogheny River Lake is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides flood protection for the Youghiogheny and lower Monongahela River Valleys as well as for the upper Ohio River.

Since its completion in 1943, the Youghiogheny project has prevented flood damages estimated to be in excess of $569 million. Youghiogheny has the capability to store the equivalent run-off of 11 inches of precipitation from its 434 square mile drainage area.

In addition to flood control, the dam helps to alleviate pollution problems by releasing additional water downstream during low water periods. Increased stream flow improves water quality by diluting polluted waters entering the rivers from towns, industries and coal mine drainage. The increased stream flow also improves the navigability of the Monongahela and upper Ohio Rivers for commercial navigation.

Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Authority holds a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate a hydroelectric plant below the dam. D/R Hydro Company is the firm that has operated and maintained the plant since 1989. The power is fed into the Penelec power system and is used over its entire area which includes most of western and central Pennsylvania. The plant has the capacity to generate up to 12 Megawatts of electricity per hour. This is enough to service approximately 8,000 homes for a year.

Recreation, Events, Facilities & Activities

Recreation


In the heart of the Laurel Highlands and spanning the Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland lays Youghiogheny River Lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to experience the clean waters, mountains and steep-sided valleys which encompass the project and provide an unsurpassed setting for outdoor recreation opportunities.

A popular location for recreation, Youghiogheny River Lake attracts numerous visitors each year.  Boating, hunting, camping and many other outdoor activities are enjoyed by visitors with outstanding facilities provided for the public's convenience.

Boaters consider Youghiogheny River Lake, with all of its 16-mile length and channels up to one-half mile wide, the best power boating and water-skiing lake in southwestern Pennsylvania.

For the angler, there are numerous coves and backwater areas along the lake which provide excellent fishing. The lake is inhabited by a large variety of game and panfish and is especially known as a hotspot for walleye and smallmouth bass. A license has been granted to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for fish management purposes in the Pennsylvania portion of the lake. The Fish and Boat Commission has also developed and maintains the Jockey Hollow Boat Launching Area. The tail waters of the dam are very popular for trout fishing. Youghiogheny River Lake's outflow area is one of the few areas in Pennsylvania open for trout fishing year round (except for the two weeks immediately preceding Opening Day) and is stocked by the Fish and Boat Commission on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer.

Another popular activity at Youghiogheny River Lake is camping. Campers have a choice of three campgrounds at which to stay, each offering something different with facilities ranging from modern to primitive. For cycling enthusiasts the Youghiogheny River Hiking-Biking Trail South runs from Confluence, Pennsylvania, to Ohiopyle State Park and extends into the Outflow Campground.

Even if you're just out for an afternoon drive, why not stop and have a lakeside picnic at one of Youghiogheny’s four picnic areas? Then tour the project and enjoy the scenery as well as the other numerous points of interest which are within a short drive of the lake. An especially breathtaking time for sightseeing at Youghiogheny River Lake is during the first half of October when fall foliage colors are at their peak.

For those who prefer to propel their boats with a paddle, the Youghiogheny River has plenty to offer. From the outflow area of the dam and extending for approximately 20 miles downstream is one of the most popular rafting and canoeing rivers in the eastern United States. The boulder strewn stretch of river below Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, is renowned for its whitewater and is often the scene of national kayaking competitions.

 

Current Events


Volunteer Campground Hosts Needed for 2014 Season

Campground Hosts Needed! The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Youghiogheny Lake is accepting applications for campground hosts for the upcoming 2014 recreation season. Primary duties will be greeting and assisting visitors, providing surveillance of camping areas, and litter pickup. Volunteers will also assist the ranger and maintenance staffs as needed with other duties, such as fisheries and wildlife management projects, interpretive programs, maintenance work, counting fees, collecting water quality data, buoy inspections, day use area patrols, boat patrols, and conducting visitor surveys. Volunteers must be friendly and able to communicate effectively with the public. They must also be in good health and capable of physical work in an outdoor environment. We are located in southwestern Pennsylvania in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, near Confluence, Pa. Depending upon campground location, positions generally will run from mid-April to mid-October. Please contact Ranger Suzanne Estock at 814-395-3242 or at suzanne.r.estock@usace.army.mil. A free campsite is provided.
Click HERE for a job description and more information

Reservations for Campsites at Four Pittsburgh District Lakes

Many campsites at four Pittsburgh District lakes – Berlin Lake, Shenango River Lake, Tionesta Lake and Youghiogheny River Lake – can be reserved in advance through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS), an interagency one-stop center for recreation reservations. Reservations can be made up to six months before arrival by calling the NRRS toll-free at 1-877-444-6777 or on their web site www.Recreation.gov. Campsites at all other Pittsburgh District lakes, as well as other campsites at Berlin, Shenango, Tionesta and Youghiogheny, are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Youghiogheny River Lake Recreation Area Openings

Boat Launches-The Somerfield North, Spillway Recreation Area and Mill Run Recreation Area boat launch ramps have closed for the season due to water levels.  Launches will be open 24- hours a day in 2014 beginning May 24 through September 2, a boat launching fee of $3 per day will be charged at all three of these ramps.  Ramps may be open earlier and extend later if water levels and conditions allow.  For current information, call the Daily Lake & Recreation Information line at (814) 395-3166.

The Spillway Recreation Area and the Mill Run Recreation Area swim beaches will be open May 24 through September 2, 2014. A fee of $1 per person, up to $4 per vehicle, will be charged at these swimming beaches.  There will be no fee for children 12 years of age and under.  Current campground users will not pay day use fees in addition to camping fees. For more information, call the Daily Lake & Recreation Information line at (814) 395-3166.

Outflow Campground - The Outflow Campground is open for self registration from April 11 through May 15, 2014, and from September 8 through October 5, 2014. The camping fee during self registration is between $13 and $29 per night depending on amenities. Campground booth is open May 16 through September 7, 2014; the camping fee is between $18 and $38 per night depending on amenities. Reservations are available and can be made up to six months in advance by contacting the NRRS toll-free at 1-877-444-6777 or on their web site www.Recreation.gov. The campground is free of charge for self-contained units from October 6 until early April 2014, NO AMENITIES ARE AVAILABLE DURING THIS TIME. 

Tub Run Campground - The Tub Run Campground is open from May 16 through AUGUST 31. The operating schedule for non-holiday weekends will be opening at 8 am Fridays and closing at 4 pm on Sundays. The holiday schedule well be: Memorial Day: open Thursday, May 22 at 8 am and close Monday, May 26 at 4 pm. Independence Day: open Wednesday, July 2 at 8 am and close Sunday, July 6 at 4 pm. Labor Day: open Thursday, August 28 at 8 am and close Monday, September 1 at 4 pm. The camping fee is between $18 and $22 per night depending on amenities. Reservations are available and can be made up to six months in advance by contacting the NRRS toll-free at 1-877-444-6777 or on their web site www.Recreation.gov.

Mill Run Campground - The Mill Run Campground is open for self registration from May 1 through September 1, 2014. The camping fee during self registration is $13 per night.  The campground is free of charge for self-contained units from September 3, 2013 until April 30, 2014, NO AMENITIES ARE AVAILABLE DURING THIS TIME.

Motorized Vehicles Prohibited Off Authorized Roadways

The operation and/or parking of motorized vehicles off authorized roadways at Youghiogheny River Lake is prohibited. ORVs, ATVs and other types of vehicles used for "mud bogging" or any other activity on the lake bed during low pool levels are prohibited. Motorized vehicles are not permitted anywhere on government property off authorized roadways at Youghiogheny Lake.

Water Release Schedule

The Pittsburgh District implemented the revised water release schedule described in the Youghiogheny River Lake Water Management and Reallocation Feasibility Report on August 29, 2005, with a transition period of two years for monitoring and evaluation. This report authorizes the Corps to reallocate 10,000 acre-feet of water quality storage in Youghiogheny Lake to water supply. This change is due to improvements in downstream water quality and to meet the future water supply needs of the region. The change involves releasing slightly less water into the Youghiogheny River during periods of normal river levels and slightly more during extended dry periods for use by the water purveyors. Releasing less water during periods of normal river levels will also improve the level of Youghiogheny River Lake for recreation and extend the boating season.

Annual Day Use Pass

Fees of up to $4/day are charged at many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers day use areas, including beaches and boat launch ramps. Annual passes allow visitors to avoid having to pay day use fees each time they visit any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated day use area nationwide.  Annual passes, available at the Park Office of any site where fees are charged, cost $30 per pass and are valid for 12-months from the month of purchase. Individuals with a valid Golden Age/Access Passport or a America the Beautiful Senior/Access Pass receive 50% off Annual Day Use Passes, including fees for camping and pavilion reservations.  Passes can be purchased in person at the Youghiogheny River Lake Park Office or by mail using an
Annual Pass Request Form 

Pavilion Reservations

Looking for a place to have an outdoor gathering? Two pavilions are available for family outings or group gatherings with plenty of picnic tables and grills.  Pavilion reservations are now being accepted for the Outflow Recreation Area below the dam and the Somerfield North Recreation Area by the State Route 40 bridge. The rental fee is $50 per day at Outflow and $45 per day at Somerfield North. Pavilions can be reserved in person at the Project Office or by mail using a Pavilion Reservation Request Form.

 

Facilities & Activities

Jockey Hollow Boat Launch Jock Hollow Picnic Area Mill Run Rec Area Outflow Camping Area Somer-field North
Rec
Area

Somer-field South Marina

Spillway Rec Area Tub Run Camping Area
Accessible Restroom    X X   X
Boat Launch Ramps X   X X X X X
Boat Rental         X    
Campground     X X     X
Camper Dump Station     X X     X
Drinking Water     X X X   X
Electric Hookups        X     X
Information/
Visitors Center 
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Marina           X    
Picnic Areas   X X X X  
Restroom Facilities X X X X X
Showers       X     X
Swim Area       X     X X
Trail