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The Youghiogheny River, a major tributary of the Monongahela River, drains westernmost Maryland and a sizable portion of southwestern Pennsylvania. The Youghiogheny originates in Preston County, West Virginia, near Silver Lake, at an elevation of nearly 2,500 feet. The extreme southeastern corner of Preston County falls within the Youghiogheny watershed, including Cathedral State Park. From here the river flows northward for about 135 miles, joining the Monongahela at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

The Youghiogheny River traverses historic countryside, its valley forming a passage through the mountains in frontier times. The river’s upper stretches and its headwaters flow through remote, mountainous terrain, settled in the late 1700s and valued today for its recreational opportunities. Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, is located on a Youghiogheny tributary, and the fast-flowing river is popular with fishermen and whitewater rafters.

Only a tiny portion of the Youghiogheny River watershed lies within West Virginia. This rugged area, which is crossed by U.S. 50, includes the communities of Aurora and Eglon. The high ridge of Backbone Mountain separates the upper Youghiogheny from the nearby head of the North Branch of the Potomac, while the Cheat River lies just to the west.

Last Revised on March 20, 2019

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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Youghiogheny River." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 March 2019. Web. 24 July 2024.


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