Rafting the Lower Youghiogheny with White Water Adventurers, Inc.

Ohiopyle State Park is Pittsburgh's nature hub. There are so many options to get out and explore, be it for hiking, outdoor adventure activities, and more. But of those, there is none that we love more than white water rafting in the Laurel Highlands.

We're no stranger to rafting the Middle Youghiogheny's Class I and II rapids (an easy trip out on the water), but what we really love is getting out on the Lower Youghiogheny's Class III and IV rapids for some excellent white water!

Recently, I was invited back down to the Laurel Highlands to be a guest of White Water Adventurers, Inc. in order to check out their new Taste of the Yough tour and catch some white water in a day trip from Pittsburgh. In this one, I wanted to share a bit more about what the experience is like. 

Note: Select photos and video clips in this article were provided courtesy of White Water Adventurers, Inc. I was joined on the outing with I've Been Bit travel blog and the Laurel Highland's Visitor Bureau. (Angie sadly missed this one.)

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Enjoying Camp Life at Bear Run Campground Near Moraine State Park

Camp life near Pittsburgh is a cherished thing. Everyone knows someone with a camper, and virtually every camp is about an hour away from home (at least, every camp we've ever heard of through friends and acquaintances).

We, unfortunately, never got to experience camp life until only recently, and our first outing brought us to Bear Run Campground near Moraine State Park as guests of the Butler County Visitor's Bureau. After spending two days at the property, we now fully understand why camp life is so popular!

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A Guide to the Best Pittsburgh Parks, Hiking Trails, and Green Spaces

When it comes to parks in Pittsburgh, hiking trails, and other green spaces, we certainly have a lot to choose from.

In fact, it seems like you can pick any direction, drive a few minutes, and find yourself surrounded by beautiful nature. So if hiking near Pittsburgh (or even in the city limits) is on your radar, you are really in luck here!

In this guide, we wanted to share some of the best Pittsburgh parks, trails, and hiking options nearby for those who want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

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A Break in Nature at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve in Latrobe

We're not used to thinking about nature reserves as being “new,” but the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe is just that.

The 50-acre nature reserve came about after many in the area expressed displeasure in the development of nearby Route 30. To ensure that the land near Saint Vincent College was not over-developed, and protect the beauty of nature that the land held, the reserve was ultimately incorporated in the year 2000.

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Sewickley Heights Borough Park is a Great Off-Leash Park to Explore

Sewickley Heights Borough Park is a large, 1,000-acre park located about 25 minutes west of downtown Pittsburgh that offers numerous trails to explore for those who want to get out in nature.

But what makes this park one of our favorites is not the trails alone, but rather the fact that it is open to off-leash roaming with your furry friend!

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Exploring the Prairie at the Jennings Environmental Education Center

The Jennings Environmental Education Center is one part museum, one part park near Slippery Rock, PA. 

The park itself is known for its roughly 20-acre prairie, which is one of the only protected and public prairies in the state. Not only does this make the location unique in its own right, but the park is home to a gorgeous museum and many more hiking trails to check out.

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Stand Up Paddleboarding at Moraine State Park with SurfSUP Adventures

Moraine State Park is one of our favorite parks in the area as it is quite large, accessible in about 45 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, and offers a wealth of things to do when visiting both on and off the water.

On a recent visit, I got to try out something that I've been eyeing for quite some time- stand up paddleboarding with SurfSUP Adventures. I've got to say, this one was a ton of fun!

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Barking Slopes Conservation Area Is a Quiet Spot East of Pittsburgh

Barking Slopes Conservation Area is a rather small park located near Oakmont and New Kensington, PA- about 40 minutes east of Pittsburgh.

The park is roughly 150 acres and is managed by the Allegheny Land Trust as a conservation and biological diversity area due to its unique geological features.

For the casual hiker, this one is not much different than other conservation areas in the region. But the park offers a nice hike out in nature with potential wildlife spottings all the same.

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