November 20, 2014

11 Facts About Loyalhanna Creek in Southwestern PA



Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Loyalhanna Creek is nominated for 2015 River of the Year.

You can make it happen by voting before December 15, 2014.

Vote here.

Help Loyalhanna Creek beat out the Ohio River, the Neshaminy Creek and Watershed,

Conewango Creek, and the Lackawanna River.

Winner receives a $10,000 grant to promote the creek

through various programs and events throughout the coming year.

For more information contact Angela Vitkoski at

Westmoreland County’s Loyalhanna Creek isn’t the nearest trout stream to metropolitan Pittsburgh, but the volume, breadth, minimal overhang, variety of water types and abundance of stocked trout through the Loyalhanna Gorge has made it a invaluable classroom for countless Southwestern Pennsylvania anglers. The natural beauty of Westmoreland County and the water flowing gracefully down Loyalhanna Creek attract people from near and far.^^^^

As one would expect, the Loyalhanna Creek does hold some secrets. There’s one particular boulder — I won’t tell you where — that for decades has remained undercut by the current. Even in the summer when Loyalhanna Creek is low and the water warms, big trout find comfort at the edge of the current a yard or more under the protection of the rock, picking off any Wooly Bugger that passes.^

Below is a quiz to test your knowledge of the Loyalhanna Creek.

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet


  1. What was the original 18th century name of Loyalhanna Creek and what did it mean?
  2. What is the Loyalhanna Creek?
  3. Where is the Loyalhanna Creek located and where does it originate?
  4. The Kiskiminetas River results from the confluence of the Loyalhanna creek and what other waterway? Where does this confluence occur?
  5. What unique siting was made along Loyalhanna Creek on May 17, 1987, and who made it?
  6. What part of the Loyalhanna Creek is stocked with fish each spring?
  7. What is the elevation of the mouth of the Loyalhanna Creek?
  8. When is the Loyalhanna Creek classified as a river?
  9. The Loyalhanna Creek Watershed encompasses how many square miles and how many miles of miles of stream?
  10. Why was the Conemaugh River green, and the Loyalhanna Creek usually orange?


Name the 6 sections of the Loyalhanna Creek, and the mileage of each.

To check (or learn) the answers click on MORE


  1. Conflicting sources) Layalhanning, from the eighteenth-century village of, an important Delaware Indian Crossroads settlement at the site where Fort Ligonier (in present day Ligonier) was built. The village was settled shortly after the Delaware left the Susquehanna River area in 1727. Layalhanning means “the middle stream” in the Delaware language— “lawel” or “lawell” (middle); “hanna” (a river or stream); “ing” (at the place of).***    “Loyalhannins” or “middle stream” was also the name of a Delaware Indian village settled near the creek after the tribe was relocated from the Susquehanna area in 1772. A few years earlier, the British had completed Ft. Ligonier between Chestnut Ridge and Laurel Hill.^  To the Indians, Lawel-hanna meant “Middle Stream”—midway betw the watersof the Juniata River and the Ohio River on the path from Raystown (Bedford) to Shannopin’s Town (Pittsburgh).
  2. Loyalhanna Creek is a tributary of the Kiskiminetas River that.***
  3. The creek flows through Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania*** and  lies about midway between the Juniata River to the east and the Ohio River to the west, and about halfway between the Conemaugh River to the north and the Youghiogheny River to the south^*** It begins as a trickle near on the western slope of the Laurel Ridge^^^**, north of Donegal^*** and south of Ligonier Township^^^**, in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania^. Its 50 mile (80 kilometer)*** length is entirely in Westmoreland County.
  4. The confluence of the Loyalhanna Creek and the Conemaugh River, forming the Kiskiminetas River, which occurs in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. about midway between the Juniata River (east) and the Yough.^*** FYI: Kiskiminetas is said to mean “plenty of walnuts.***^^
  5. Sam Sherry, of Wilpen, PA, claimed to have encountered a Bigfoot while night fishing along Loyalhanna Creek on May 17, 1987. Sherry gained notice from Bigfoot enthusiasts and spent much of his life investigating the phenomenon in the area.***
  6. According to Conservation Office James Vatter “That’s no longer the case. We stock it now all the way down to Monastery Run [near St. Vincent College], but not as many [anglers] fish it the two miles to St. Vincent…” the Loyalhanna is fishable all the way to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Loyalhanna Lake, north of New Alexandria.^
  7. 827 feet (252 meters)^***
  8. According to an article in the Post-Gazette, Loyalhanna Creek is now classified as a river for trout stocking purposes.*
  9. 298 square-miles and 2,500 miles of stream, each varying in origin, size, and quality.^^^** The Loyalhanna Watershed Association (LWA) was founded in 1971 to address the various pollution impacts throughout the watershed and to preserve natural areas. The LWA strives to achieve its mission through the coordinated efforts of its members, board members, three  full-time staff, and the support of multiple partnering organizations. ^^^**
  10. Decades before the 2000s, the lower end of the creek, beginning above Latrobe, was colored red due to acid from local mines. ^*** Because the Conemaugh River is acidic the iron salts it contains can remain dissolved. The Loyalhanna Creek is more alkaline, which causes iron to fall out of solution in the form of yellow and red (orange) oxides. The orange stream issuing from the mouth of the Loyalhanna Creek does not immediately mix with the green water of the Conemaugh River—instead, an orange band hugs the left bank, as a separate stream, for some distance, until boulders on the river bed  cause enough turbulence to effect mixing of the two waters. ***^^ In subsequent years, with the growth of environmental sensitivity, a remediation pond was installed near St. Vincent College that removes 90 percent of the iron oxide from the water. Rocks in the area are still stained red from the effects.^***


  1. Rector to Ligonier                                       4.9 miles
  2. Ligonier to Kingston Dam                        6.9 miles
  3. Kingston Dam to Latrobe                         4.6 miles
  4. Latrobe to New Alexandria                     12.0 miles
  5. New Alexandria to Loyalhanna Dam      8.0 miles
  6. Loyalhanna Dam to Saltsburg                 4.0 miles^**

















  1. Shoot…I am failing history!!

    Comment by merry101 — November 26, 2014 @ 6:08 am | Reply

    • Well…you do live where??? Why would you know the history of this short 50-mile waterway?
      Not expected, but I appreciate you taking this quiz.

      Comment by carolyncholland — December 1, 2014 @ 10:18 am | Reply

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