Hardest Working River Tour

Once known as the “Hardest Working River in the World,” the Monongahela River was responsible for much of Pittsburgh’s early commercial and industrial success—even centuries before it earned that moniker!

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The Hardest Working River Tour—the Monongahela’s Industrial Legacy

Join Rivers of Steel for a journey up the Monongahela River on the Explorer riverboat. Once known as the “Hardest Working River in the World,” the Mon, as it’s known to locals, was responsible for much of Pittsburgh’s early commercial and industrial success, even centuries before it earned that moniker.

Hop onboard for a three-hour tour that begins at the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers, then travels to destinations upriver, in view of the Carrie Blast Furnaces and Edgar Thompson Works, and back again. Along the way, you’ll not only hear the stories of our region’s commercial and industrial heritage, you’ll have an opportunity to leisurely enjoy incredible views of the Mon River Valley as fall takes hold.

Hours & Admission*

The Hardest Working River Tour is offered seasonally in May and October.  Tickets are $38.00 per person for the three-hour excursion. This fall’s offerings have sold out. Please sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of this page to stay informed about upcoming tour dates.

General Admission 

$38

*Tours are limited to 40 participants. Advance registration required.

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Location & Directions

The Explorer riverboat docks on Pittsburgh’s North Shore near the headwaters of the Ohio River and adjacent to the Carnegie Science Center.

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What to Know Before You Go

Rivers of Steel maintains a family atmosphere on the Explorer. Please be advised of these tips and guidelines to ensure your best possible experience.

Masks: Please be advised of our current COVID-19 policies. Masks are to be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Social distancing:  Social distancing is no longer mandatory, but we do ask that you be mindful of the people around you, allowing for a comfortable amount of space when possible.

What to wear: Many patrons enjoy experiencing the Explorer from its outside areas; please dress for the weather.

Food & Beverages: Water coolers are available on each deck.  Guests are welcome to bring snacks, as this is a three-hour program. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted during sightseeing or historical tours. Smoking / vaping is prohibited at all times.

Accessibility: The Explorer riverboat and its home dock are ADA accessible, which includes an ADA restroom onboard as well an elevator to navigate between the boat’s decks. Handicapped parking is available nearby at the Carnegie Science Center.

Maintain distance: We request that all guests show consideration to those around them, maintaining physical distance when possible.

Photography:  Photography is encouraged. Tag us @Rivers of Steel on IG with #ExplorerRiverboat. For safety reasons, videography and drones are prohibited.

Admission: Unless otherwise noted, all admissions are ticketed. By purchasing admission tickets, all visitors consent to be photographed.

Duration & Arrival:  Guests may board Explorer one-half hour before their tour is scheduled to depart. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin. The excursion should last 3 hours, but could run up to 15 minutes longer should we encounter river traffic.

Children: While kids of all ages are welcome, the content for this tour is targeted to older teens and adults.

Weather Policy: Tours are rain or shine. Rivers of Steel will cancel a tour if inclement weather poses a threat to our guests or our vessel. In the event of unsafe river conditions, severe weather conditions, or mechanical failure or as required by the U.S. Coast Guard, other regulatory or governmental agency, our captain reserves the right to stay at dock, or if the vessel is underway, to return to dock. In such instances, refunds or exchanges can be issued for tickets purchased in advance.

For more information, contact tours@riversofsteel.com.

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