The Youghiogheny River originates in Preston County, West Virginia and runs through Western Maryland before emptying into the Youghiogheny River Reservoir. Below the reservoir, the river's tailwater section flows northward through rural Pennsylvania before converging with the Monongahela River at McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
The Youghiogheny is designated as a Scenic River by the State Scenic and Wild River System. The stretch from Miller's Run (near Oakland) to Friendsville is designated as Maryland's first Wild River. The 21 mile long Wild River corridor is managed by the Maryland Park Service.
Most of the river flows through private property. Public access to the river is available at Swallow Falls State Park, in the Sang Run area off of Sang Run Road, from Friendsville south along the Kendall Trail, and the Hoyes Run area (for catch and release fly fishing). Many of the Youghiogheny River's access points require long hikes over rugged terrain. Despite its reputation as a harsh, inaccessible river, it is highly respected by anglers, especially for its populations of wild brook trout.
Three sections of the river are popular among whitewater rafting and kayaking enthusiasts:
Top Yough, near Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland (Class IV-V)
Upper Yough, from Sang Run to Friendsville, Maryland (Class IV-V)
Middle Yough, from Confluence, Pennsylvania to Ohiopyle (Class II)