There are dynamic places to go and fascinating things to do here! Visit national historic districts, experience Pennsylvania’s only whitewater park, see a waterfall, enjoy one of the region’s most-popular gathering spots, watch boaters brave whitewater rapids – or take them on yourself. This section captures the essence of The Stonycreek!
Benson and Hollsopple are twin communities, joined by history but separated by the Stonycreek River. Benson is an incorporated borough while Hollsopple is an unincorporated community within Conemaugh Township. Both communities grew as a result of coal mining during the early 1900s. Today they serve as the gateway to Quemahoning Lake and the Stonycreek Canyon
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Carpenter’s Park once was a trolley park, a place where Johnstown and Windber residents went to picnic, dance in a pavilion, walk in the woods or visit Yoder Falls. Today, you’ll often find boaters there. This is a take-out for kayakers and rafters who’ve run the Stonycreek Canyon, and it’s a put-in area for other paddlers interested in boating down to Whitewater Park.
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Foustwell is the primary boat put-in for the Stonycreek Canyon and the best place to watch boaters play in the rapids there. A short walk upstream will take you to the rapid named “Showers.” A little walk downstream will bring you to the “Surf Lab,” which is also a good place to see the 66-inch line that carries water from the Quemahoning Dam to Johnstown.
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Multi-faceted Greenhouse Park quickly has grown into one of the most popular recreation sites within The Stonycreek Corridor. This is a place to relax, picnic, walk or play volleyball. It’s a busy entertainment venue. And it is the support facility for Whitewater Park, an artificial set of rapids made for play-boating, beginning paddlers and tubers.
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Paint Borough and adjacent Paint Township both took their name from Paint Creek, which in turn was named for the way it reflected colors from shale and iron deposits. Paint Creek’s valley once was so scenic that it attracted plein-air painters from Pittsburgh. But it was coal mining that led to the borough’s formation. Today, Paint Creek is polluted but can produce Class V (expert-only) whitewater.
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Scalp Level/Mine 40 is a borough that embraces the National Register Historic District of Mine 40, the collection of houses and mine facilities that was developed by Berwind-White Coal Company circa 1895. Prior to the coal days, Scalp Level was a bucolic little village that drew artists from Pittsburgh. Their paintings are highly collectible today and are known collectively as the Scalp Level School.
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The Stonycreek Canyon draws whitewater enthusiasts from around the Eastern United States because it offers 15 named rapids within four miles of waterway that are outstanding for playboating. During periods of moderate run-off or when water is being released from Quemahoning Dam the rapids here are categorized as Class III or IV.
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For the whitewater release schedule, click here.
For real-time water levels, use this link.
Whitewater Park was the first set of recreational rapids constructed in Pennsylvania. Located in the Stonycreek River adjacent to Greenhouse Park, these Class II rapids are intended for play-boating, learning how to paddle whitewater and for tubing. Because this park is designed for relatively low water flows, it's usable most of the year. For more information.
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Windber Borough historically was the regional headquarters for the Berwind-White Coal Company and today has a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the larger communities within The Stonycreek Corridor, Windber has a shopping district and a number of fine restaurants.
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Yoder Falls once was a popular getaway spot for residents of Johnstown and Windber, who would ride the trolley to Carpenter’s Park and walk to the falls from there. Today, the public access to the falls is more challenging, because the original approach is on private property. But visitors still can see the falls, which is on property owned by the City of Johnstown.
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Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative is a 501(c)(3) and a supporting organization of Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
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