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Kayak & Paddlesports

Rentals, Classes & Trips

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Three Locations Open May - Sept

North Park

Rent kayaks, stand up paddleboards, canoes, and pedal boats at North Park Lake.

Sharpsburg

Budget friendly way to explore the Allegheny River launching Sharpsburg’s James Sharp Landing.

Downtown Pop-Up

Rent from our 2024 pop-up location at Heinz Quay Landing to explore Downtown Pittsburgh.

Paddle with a Purpose

Kayak Pittsburgh is a non-profit social enterprise under Venture Outdoors. This means that every rental contributes to community and youth outdoor programs. Together we inspire, educate, and equip.

Join a guided trip

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Pride Paddle – Downtown Pop-up

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Pride Paddle – North Park

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Book a Private Group

Booking for 10 or more? Book a private kayak experience for your coworkers, friends, bridal party, and more. You’ll get access to special booking hours and we’ll provide everything you need to get your group on the water.

Youth groups get special pricing!

BOOK NOW

Gift Cards & Season Passes

FAQ

Do I need to book in advance?

Reservations are not required but are recommended to ensure your preferred boat is available when you arrive.

Can I pay with cash or card?

For the safety of our employees and ease of registration – we do not accept cash at any of our locations.  You can pay online ahead of time or at the concession. We accept all major credit/debit cards.

What if I don't know how to kayak?

Kayaking in our rivers and lakes is perfect for beginners as well as advanced paddlers. Our rivers are slow moving, and our lakes are calm. It is easy to learn and after a few minutes of instruction from our staff, you will be equipped to head out onto the river and enjoy the city from a whole new vantage point.

You can also visit our activities calendar if you’d like to take a Beginner Kayaking course.

Is kayaking physically strenuous?

Kayaking is like riding a bike; you can get in a great workout or just relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s up to you!

What's the weight limit?

Weight limits below are per person for solo watercrafts (solo kayak and SUP). For multiple seating watercrafts, these weight limits are combined totals of all persons. (canoe, tandem, pedal boat)

Weight Limits 
Solo Kayak : 325 lbs ​
Solo Sit-on-top: 325 lbs
Tandem Kayak: 575 lbs​
Tandem Sit-on-top: 490 lbs
SUP: 210 lbs​
Canoe: 750 lbs​
Canoe Catamaran: 750 lbs per hull
Pedal boat: 740 lbs (distributed evenly)​

Minimum Weight (for proper PFD fit): 35 lbs

How old must you be to kayak here?

Typically, anyone ages 3+ can go kayaking.

However, some restrictions apply:

  • Age 3 (or 35 lbs) to 12 – Must be in a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian, and parent or guardian must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form for each child.
  • Age 13-15 – May be in a solo kayak, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on the water. Must also have parent or guardian sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.
  • Age 16-17 – May be in a solo kayak on water alone, but parent or guardian must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.
  • Age 18+ – Must sign an Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Form.

Weight Requirements

  • Minimum weight requirement is 35 pounds.
  • Maximum weight limit is 325 pounds for solo kayaks and 575 pounds for tandem kayaks.

How old must you be to stand up paddleboard here?

You must be 13 years or older to go stand up paddle boarding.

However, some restriction may apply:

  • 13-15: can SUP, BUT must be accompanied on water by parent or responsible 18+ guardian​ (in another craft)
  • 16-17: can be on water alone BUT parent/guardian over 18 must sign waiver for them​
  • 18+: can be on water alone but must sign own waiver

How many people can fit in a kayak, canoe, boat?

The total weight of people in the boat must be below the weight limits.

  • Solo kayaks, solo sit-on-top kayaks, and SUP = 1 person + may take small dog (less than 40lbs)
  • Tandem, sit-on-top tandem, and canoe= 2 persons // or 2 persons with smaller person in middle (child less than 80lbs)
  • Pedal boat: Up to 4 persons
  • Canoe catamaran: up to 2 persons // or 2 persons with smaller person in middle (child less than 80lbs) per hull (up to 6 maximum for craft)

Can I bring my pet?

Yes! You’re welcome to bring your dog (or cat) during your rental. You are responsible for their safety so, please bring life-jackets for your pets. Pets are allowed on all boat styles, except for our SUPs. Please have your up-to-date pet vaccination record.

Pets are NOT allowed on our community kayaking trips unless specifically noted. We occasionally have Dog Paddles meant for dog-friendly experiences.

What's your cancel or refund policy?

CANCELLATIONS

Customers who cancel reservations after booking will receive an electronic gift card for the balance of their rental. To cancel either email  kayakpittsburgh@ventureoutdoors.org or complete the cancelation process through Fareharbor.

Cancellations and refunds are different for community kayak trips. Please refer to this FAQ for details. 

INCLEMENT WEATHER & POOR WATER CONDITIONS

If the Kayak Pittsburgh rental location experiences a temporary closure due to inclement weather, you will receive a full refund. We will alert you of this closure via phone call, email and/or text message. If you are on the water while a storm approaches, we ask that you safely take shelter. If you are on the water for less than 30 minutes, you will receive a full refund.

Make Rainy Days FREE with Sensible
Kayak Pittsburgh does not refund for rain. Add an optional Rainy-day Guarantee to your reservation and you will be automatically reimbursed if rain is forecasted to impact your experience.

How Sensible Works
After you complete a booking with Kayak Pittsburgh you will receive an email from kayakpittsburgh@ventureoutdoors.org with instructions to add the weather guarantee. Using a lot of science and a bit of magic, Sensible will watch the weather for you and automatically notify you for reimbursement if it’s going to rain.

What should I wear?

Wear whatever you’re comfortable in! While you should not expect to get excessively wet, your paddle will drip a bit as you move along the water.

We don’t recommend:

  • Jeans
  • Bulky clothes
  • Flip flops or shoes that can fall off easily

We do recommend:

  • Non-cotton materials
  • Layering
  • Preparing for direct sun
  • Preparing for a cool breeze
  • Tennis shoes or sandals with straps

All boaters must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times.  We provide these at the concession, or you may bring your own. See PFD requirements here.

Where can I park?

North Park
There is a free parking lot located at the Boathouse. Overflow parking is just past the boathouse towards the tennis courts.

Downtown Pop-UP
Click here for parking options downtown. Street parking is free on Sundays.

Sharpsburg

Parking is available in the car spaces at James Sharp Landing (please do not park in the long diagonal boat trailer spaces). Other street and metered parking is available along Main Street and others near James Sharp Landing. Please obey all parking signage posted on roadways.

Will weather effect my trip?

We love our kayakers and your safety is our highest concern! We closely monitor thunder, rain, riverflow, and wind conditions. The safety of our guests and employees is Kayak Pittsburgh’s utmost priority.

Thunder/Lightening:

  • For every clap of thunder and/or strike of lightening, Kayak Pittsburgh is required to close the rental location for at least 45 minutes. Depending on the longevity and intensity of the storm, the management team may decide to close the location for the remainder of the day.

Rain

  • The Kayak Pittsburgh rental location will continue operation if it’s raining unless there is a “Flash Flood Warning”.

Riverflow

River flow is measured in cubic feet per second and it’s one of the key indicators of river conditions. We follow a standard rule of 27kcfs or 27 thousands of cubic feet per second.

This means we do not allow kayakers in the water when the flow is above 27kcfs. We use a hydrograph provided by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS)andNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help us make this call. Check out the hydrograph for part of the Allegheny River.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date weather updates.

Do I have to be a Venture Outdoors Member to rent a kayak?

No, you don’t have to be a Venture Outdoors member to kayak, but you’ll help support our mission AND save on kayaking rental if you are a member!

Venture Outdoors Memberships start at only $35 year and include $5 off the first hour of kayaking.

Also all current Venture Outdoors Members are eligible to receive a 12% discount when buying a Kayak Pittsburgh season pass. Sign up for Membership or learn more here.

These rules will help keep you safe >>

  • Always wear your PFD
  • No drugs/alcohol
  • Stay away from boats, bridges, buoys, debris, and stationary objects
  • Along the river paddle close to shore
  • Always stay seated in your boat
  • Stay clear of people fishing
  • Kayak Pittsburgh staff at each location will explain where you are allowed to paddle that day pending water conditions
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