This Section Pertains
Mostly to the Upper Monongahela Water Trail
Be sure you've had the proper training for operating the type of boat
you'll be using. Check on river conditions by contacting one of the
locks: Generally, the current is mild in the Mon, but the river can be
hazardous during high water. During the late fall through early spring,
the water is cold enough to cause hypothermia. Always wear a personal
flotation device (previously known as a life vest), and it's a good idea to carry a cell phone. Watch out
for tow boats! These boats require a lot of stopping and maneuvering
space, so if you find yourself in the vicinity of one, stay in the
Of course the most dangerous boats
are jet skis and motor boats with drunk drivers. Be careful and
remember that other boaters may not be able to see you because of the
sun or glare on the water. In lightning storms, it's a good idea to get
off the water entirely. Need we mention sun screen in the summer?
There are many primitive camping possibilities along the Mon, but
much of the property is privately owned. Remember to get permission to
camp if possible and to use Leave No Trace principles. During the
warm months, look out for poison ivy! It's prolific along the
Two new docks will open in the Morgantown harbor area this year!
More information will be available soon.
Opekiska lock, the uppermost lock
on the Mon
On the entire length of the UMWT you will encounter five locks. All
recreational vessels may use the locks without charge, and passage
through usually takes about 20 minutes if no other vessels are in the
lock. Boaters planning to use the locks should equip their vessels with
an appropriate line (about 5-6 feet for a kayak or canoe, more for
heavier boats) to secure their boats to the floating pins within the
lock chamber wall. There is no charge for locking.
You can let the lockmaster know you want to pass through by pulling a
signal rope within a ladder on the approach lock wall, (see photo below)
which is well marked. You may also use a cell phone to call the numbers
listed below. Boaters should stay behind designated points on the
approach wall to the lock until the lockmaster has opened the lock gates
and signaled. Tell the lock personnel if you need help: they are
friendly people who will be happy to assist you.
The chart below indicates which side of the river
the lock is on: stay on that side as you approach, as the dam is on the
The hours of operation information below (for
the top three locks) is
subject to change, so call ahead before you start your trip.