Allegheny Islands State Park
Accessible only by boat, the 50-acre Allegheny Islands State Park consists of two alluvial islands and seven shoals in the Allegheny River. The park is heavily covered in vegetation and remains undeveloped. Some of the few islands left in a natural state, the islands are homes to many animals and plants and frequently flood. The 14-acre upper island (eastern) is opposite the mouth of Black Run and east of C.W. Bill Young Lock and Dam #3. The 34-acre lower island (western) is west of the lock between the mouths of Falling Springs Run and Black Run.
Boating: Boat access is beach landing only. There are no docks or launches. The park is along the Three Rivers Water Trail, a recreational waterway along the three rivers developed by Friends of the Waterfront www.friendsoftheriverfront.org. The water trail promotes access points, day use and camping sites for the boating public.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The Allegheny River provides year-round fishing opportunities. The fast currents created below the lock and dam at the eastern end of the lower island attracts both forage and game fish including small-mouthed bass, rock bass, walleye, sauger and freshwater drum.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: All of Allegheny Islands State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Waterfowl is the common game species in the park.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Trails: There are no developed trails, however several footpaths exist.
Group Tenting: Qualified adult and youth groups may camp on the islands with written permission from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The park is undeveloped and there are no facilities on the park–please follow Leave No Trace Principles. Allegheny Islands State Park is administered from Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Access for People with Disabilities
In addition to the facilities mentioned in the text, the park office is ADA accessible.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
14-mile Island is an alluvial island, which means it is formed by sediment that is carried downriver and deposited. This glacially-derived sediment is picked up where the river flows fast and deposited where the river flows slowly. Sand bars known as shoals can be found nearby in shallow areas of the river and are often flooded. The islands are heavily covered in vegetation and remain undeveloped, due in part to regular flooding of the islands.
The lower island of Allegheny Islands State Park is the second largest and most natural of the river islands in the Allegheny or Ohio rivers within Allegheny County .The river shoals around the island along with the shoreline provide important habitat for numerous wildlife species. Beaver, raccoon, great blue heron, belted kingfisher, wood duck, mallard, northern flicker, and various species of swallowtail butterflies can often be seen along with an occasional deer. Numerous plants can be found as well including sycamore, cottonwood, maple, willow, silky dogwood, cardinal flower, aster, lily of the valley, tall sunflower and iron weed. Unfortunately, Japanese knotweed, garlic mustard, mile-a-minute and other invasive plants can also be found on the island.
The islands that became Allegheny Islands State Park were once one island that was first purchased in 1788 by Samuel Hulings. The Hulings were prominent keelboatman of the region and settled in several areas along the Allegheny River. The island came to be called Hulings Island or Lanes Island.
By 1864, boatmen were using the river islands for navigation and referred to them by their distance from the Point in downtown Pittsburgh. Hulings Island became 14-mile Island.
In 1932, to facilitate the passage of larger vessels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Allegheny River Lock and Dam #3 that split 14-mile Island in two. Now known as the C.W. Bill Young Lock and Dam #3, the still functioning lock and dam are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The McDonough Corporation purchased 14-mile Island to mine it for sand and gravel for building and road construction projects, but the deposits proved to be too poor of quality and the islands were left in their natural state.
The McDonough Corporation donated 14-mile Island (both upper and lower) to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in the early 1970s. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the islands in 1974 and established Allegheny Islands State Park on December 31, 1980. Originally five islands in the Allegheny River were to be part of a concept plan called “Allegheny River Edge Park,” including 14-mile Island, 12-mile Island, 9-mile Island, Sycamore Island, and Herrs Island. The acquisition of 12-mile Island failed due to existing lease camps and erosion problems. Acquisition plans for the remaining islands were abandoned and only 14-mile Island was ever purchased.
Two bridges cross the Allegheny River on the lower island.
The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad was established in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie to haul steel products from Conneaut, Ohio to the steel mills in Pittsburgh. The railroad was then sold to the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1901. The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Bridge was built in 1918 by the American Bridge Company with a total length of 2,327 feet and 160 feet above river level.
The original Allegheny River Bridge was opened in 1951 to extend the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) over the Allegheny River. The turnpike bridge was rebuilt in 2010 with a total length of 2,350 feet and 120 feet above river level.
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Allegheny Islands State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau. www.visitpittsburgh.com
At the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers, historic Point State Park was the site of four forts and important to the formation of the United State. Park attractions include Point Fountain, Fort Pitt Museum and Fort Pitt Blockhouse. 412-565-2850
At river mile 13.19 is the Deer Creek Access. This boat launch is administered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. 814-445-8974
At river mile 14.5 is C.W. Bill Young Lock and Dam #3. These active navigation structures are administrated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 412-828-3550
Allegheny Islands State Park is in northeastern Allegheny County. The park is within the Allegheny River and is accessible by boat only.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.53685 Long. -79.8219
Allegheny Islands State Park