The Monongahela River is formed at the junction of the West Fork and Tygart rivers, just above Fairmont, W.Va., and provides 128 miles of navigable water down to The Point in Pittsburgh. This river provides industrial scenery in this area, and a cruise here shows why Pittsburgh is known as the Steel City.
Above Lock & Dam 3, however, industry thins out and small towns and sandy beaches can be seen. Although the Monongahela has no islands to visit like those on the Allegheny, the many broad, sandy beaches offer ideal spots for picnics or overnighting, and the scenery, particularly in the upper reaches, is worth the trip.
The Pennsylvania Fish Commission and the Corps of Engineers have completed several public access areas where small craft may be launched along the Monongahela. These ramps make it possible for those with only an afternoon to spend on the river to reach one of the beaches more readily.