Jack's Narrows River Access Grand Opening

We are cutting the ribbon on new free access points on the Juniata River at Mapleton and Mount Union, and we want you to be a part of it! Registration details coming soon, but the event will include camping at Mapleton's Riverside Park, a Paddle Sports Expo area with canoe, kayak, paddleboard, and paddlng accessories dealers and manufacturer demos at Mount Union's Riverside Park, fun floats through Pennsylvania's deepest gorge: Jack's Narrows, live music, history and paddling clinics and more!

Two community river access projects open convenient public launch areas to a historic portion of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The two launches bookend the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania, known locally as Jack's Narrows, where the Juniata River cuts a gap in Jacks Mountain. The peaks of Jacks Mountain on the south side of the gorge is just over 2,120 feet in elevation, and 2.9 miles away on the north of the gorge is just over 2,320 feet.  The river surface of the Juniata River drops from 566 feet above sea level at Mapleton to 545 Feet above sea level 3.3 miles downstream at Mount Union. That makes the gorge nearly 1/3 mile deep! The community-owned launches open up Jacks Narrows to access for paddlesports, fishing and leisurely inner-tube floating. The facilities and distance between them make this the first and best recommendation for inner-tube floating in Huntingdon County, and perhaps the entire Juniata River watershed, as state-owned launch facilities prohibit inner-tube access. This stretch of the Juniata River is gentle and easily navigated by paddlers at all experience levels.

Jack's Narrows River Access
Publicly celebrating the grand opening of community paddle sports access points on the Juniata River in Mapleton and Mount Union, Pennsylvania. The access points bookend Jack's Narrows - the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania. Events June 8-9-10, 2018
Two community river access projects open convenient public launch areas to a historic portion of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania
River access projects in both communities were coordinated by Allegheny Ridge Corporation, managers of the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway and the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area.
The projects were funded by US Department of the Interior Chesapeake Gateways Network, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Huntingdon County Commissioners through Act 13 Marcellus Shale Legacy funds.
The two launches bookend the deepest gorge in Pennsylvania, known locally as Jack's Narrows, where the Juniata River cuts a gap in Jacks Mountain. The peaks of Jacks Mountain on the south side of the gorge is just over 2,120 feet in elevation, and 2.9 miles away on the north of the gorge is just over 2,320 feet.  The river surface of the Juniata River drops from 566 feet above sea level at Mapleton to 545 Feet above sea level 3.3 miles downstream at Mount Union. That makes the gorge nearly 1/3 mile deep!
The community-owned launches open up Jacks Narrows to access for paddlesports, fishing and leisurely inner-tube floating. The facilities and distance between them make this the first and best recommendation for inner-tube floating in Huntingdon County, and perhaps the entire Juniata River watershed, as state-owned launch facilities prohibit inner-tube access.
This stretch of the Juniata River is gentle and easily navigated by paddlers at all experience levels. The entire Juniata River only drops 324 feet over the course of 101 miles (3.2 feet/mile average). It drops 21 feet through the 3.3 miles of Jack’s Narrows (6.4 feet/mile).
The Mount Union River Access is 15 miles downstream from the start of 111 miles of unimpeded river from Warrior Ridge Dam on the Juniata River in Petersburg to City Island on the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg.
Both Riverside Parks in Mapleton and Mount Union offer free tent camping in designated spots, making the Juniata River Water Trail an attractive river for overnight paddling excursions. These campsites add to offerings by DCNR on primitive islands and private campgrounds through the entire length of the water trail.
Saturday, June 9th is National Get Outdoors Day.
Jack's Narrows is also steeped (pun intended) in history and folklore.
Jacks Mountain is by most historians’ accounts named for Jack Armstrong, an 18th-century fur trader. In the autumn of 1743, Armstrong confiscated the horse of Mushemeelin, a Delaware Indian from Shamokin who was in debt to Armstrong. Mushemeelin and two Delaware companions tracked Armstrong to the Juniata River narrows and, in 1744, killed the trader and his two servants. The site was thereafter known as "Jack's Narrows". (Merrell, 1999)
Folklore tells of a legend of Captain Jack, an early settler, whose full name has been lost to history. It is said that Jack was a peaceful man living in a cabin near the Narrows of the Juniata River who returned from a hunt one day to find his family murdered. This Captain Jack instantly turned from peaceful to vengeful - waging war on the “savage” native Americans in the area whom he blamed for the crime.
The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal passed through Jacks Narrows. Some remnants of the canal can still be seen near the Mapleton River Access.
Quarrymen built the trail we know as the Thousand Steps to “ease” their daily commute to the quarry near the top of the northern side of the gorge. Imagine that your commute to work includes a hike up a mountain on (more than) 1,000 stone steps. You work your day in the quarry. And then go back down the steps at the end of your work day!
Jack's Narrows accommodates the William Penn Highway (US Route 22), Norfolk Southern Main Line, the Juniata River, 2016 PA Trail of the Year – the Standing Stone Trail, and is part of the development plan for the September 11th National Memorial Trail.
The Standing Stone Trail is part of the Great Eastern Trail network extending from Talladega National Forest in Alabama to the South Bradford State Forest in New York.

Details

Location

Jack's Narrows - Mapleton to Mount union

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13412 Oriskany Rd, Mapleton Depot, PA 17052

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