Kayaker on the Juniata River Water Trail


Juniata River Water Trail

The Juniata River is a recognized Pennsylvania River of the Year. The National Park Service has designated the water trail a Chesapeake Bay Gateway and has listed the Upper and Lower Sections of the Juniata River Water Trail a National Recreation Trail. A water trail guide has been produced and separated into three editions. Representing the Upper, Lower, and Raystown Branch sections of water trail, the guides include a detailed map of the river, Pennsylvania boating regulations, paddling safety tips, fishing opportunities, camping information, and tips for floating the river. The guides touch on the river's history, highlight points of interest along the way, and speak to the flora and fauna of this special environment. Emphasizing low-impact use and promoting resource stewardship, the publications are expected to contribute to realizing the full potential of both low impact recreation by local citizens and eco- and heritage-tourism.

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Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! 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 such trails. The Chesapeake Conservancy, 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 trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials.

Main image: Juniata River Water Trail


Access points to the Juniata River Water Trail are open from sunrise to sunset.


There are no fees to access the Juniata River Water Trail, although applicable registration fees are required to use the 17 PA Fish & Boat Commission access points on the Juniata River.


The Juniata River Water Trail provides unique flat-water paddling trips and fishing opportunities. Individuals may want to explore these activities alone, or contact one of the many outfitters in the area, including Rothrock Outfitters of Huntingdon. The Water Trail is also adjacent to multiple land-based recreation opportunities, including the Lower Trail and Canoe Creek State Park.


There are 49 access sites along the Juniata River Water Trail, identified on the JRWT Guides for the Upper and Lower Juniata and the Raystown Branch. Copies of the JRWT Guides are available by calling (814) 940-1922, or emailing [email protected], Printable copies of the JRWT Guides can be downloaded from the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission Web site at http://www.fish.state.pa.us/watertrails/trailindex.htm. Eight additional access points exist on the Lake Section of the Raystown Branch, all but one of them managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Raystown Lake information can be accessed at http://raystown.nab.usace.army.mil/index.html.

The entire Juniata River Water Trail (Upper and Lower sections) conveniently provides numerous opportunities for primitive camping, allowing a one-day trip to extend into a 2-3-night sojourn.


Most access areas are primitive, carry-in sites, though 9 PA Fish and Boat Commission sites are handicapped accessible with 8 o them providing accessible porta-toilets. For accessibility information related to PA Fish and Boat Commission sites, visit their website: http://www.fish.state.pa.us/access_ada.htm

Trail History

In the 17th century, the Juniata River valley was home to the Onojutta-Haga Indians. Onojutta (pronounced Ooh-nee-ooh-ah-tah) means vertical or standing stone, and is the origin of today’s “Juniata”. It is these people who are credited with erecting the ancient “Standing Stone” monument. Three tribes of the Lenni Lenape, or “Original People,” were also in the region. The Lenni Lenape became known as the “Delawares” by the colonists, and shortly thereafter began occupying land farther west as they were forced from their homelands.

Last updated: October 05, 2021