Indian Creek - Route 381 to Camp Carmel

Indian Creek, Pennsylvania, US


Route 381 to Camp Carmel (Indian Creek Gorge)

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 4.9 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Laurel Hill Creek at Ursina, PA
usgs-03080000 2.00 - 4.25 ft III-IV(V) 00h45m 1.64 ft (too low)

River Description

When the Lower Yough is getting high, check out Indian Creek. This is a fairly continuous Class III-IV run with a nasty V at the end called the Terminator. Access is the trick. To putin you must do a long carry down an electrical line right of way from Rt. 381 north of the town of Mill Run in Fayette Co. Pa. The jeep road access one takeout is described below. To preserve your vehicle, you can also paddle to the confluence with the Youghigheny River and run 5 miles down to Connellsville, Pa. on flat but likely high water. The run is big and open, but quite a few of the ledges and rapids are blind. There are many, many surf waves and the rapids are pretty big at higher levels. This is definitely harder than the Lower Yough and has some Class IV characteristics in places. Watch for 2 big ledges of more than 6 feet and several long hole-filled rapids. Make sure you know where the Terminator begins. The top of the rapid looks like a lot of the other ledge rapids on the run, but the final long chute is severely undercut (particularly on the right side) and dangerous.


2008 Update:

The road on creek right that comes down through Hawkins Hallow may (or may not) be gated with a lock. The current best shuttle is to park across from Camp Christan just prior to the gated / locked bridge and hike to just past the dam with your boat.   Try to be as invisable as possible (we are working on access issue) - take the let branch of the old rail road gauge through the cut thru that also is gated.

Then put in and paddle from just below the dam and to the last rapid (right after Terminator.  Take out creek left and hike up the old railroad gauge to the parking area.   Hike takes roughly 45 minutes and is about a 2% grade so it is an easy walk and shorter than any other shuttle set ups.

As of May there were no issues with wood or other dangers. 

Enjoy and be safe.

Monday, May 31, 2004 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Westmoreland County Municipal Authority owns those well-loved 1,600 acres of water, a stretch of Indian Creek, and valley, and it's trying to prove to Fayette County zoning officials that it doesn't condone the "piglike" behavior of some of the visitors to the area. So, using hired guns, no trespassing signs and word-of-mouth, the authority is spreading the message to all who satisfy their weekend wants at Hawkins Hollow: Keep out or pay fines up to $300. This month, the authority board voted to hire 20 part-time security officers, deputies from the Westmoreland County sheriff's office, to patrol Hawkins Hollow over the next few months. The armed officers will cite anyone caught violating trespass and littering laws, and ask them to leave the premises. Authority Solicitor Kenneth Burkley said it was a shame, but that the board had little choice. Some of the users have worn out their welcome??. ??Their actions may thwart the random party animal, but Hawkins Hollow fans include bird-watchers and wildflower-spotters, fishermen, hikers, canoeists and kayakers, in other words, nature-lovers who pride themselves on leaving behind no sign of their passing. Members of American Whitewater routinely shoot the rapids on Indian Creek, which feeds into the Youghiogheny?. "We'd like to work out an agreement for access, maybe just at certain times and places." The authority and environmental groups agree that shutting down the access road might solve many of the dumping and noise problems. The authority plans to ask township supervisors in Springfield to give up their claim to the road, Kerr said, so the authority could block off the rutted lane completely?.. ?..we?re making it clear to trespassers that we're not taking it lightly, that our signs and gates really mean something. If you're down at Hawkins Hollow this Memorial Day, you'll be cited." Please take care relating to access of this stream! AWA is working on access so please don't take individual actions that could jeopardize future access for all! Please take care relating to access of this stream! AWA is working on access so please don't take individual actions that could jeopardize future access for all!

Richard Hopley sez:
"The shuttle-road is pretty random. Go two or three miles north from the bridge over the reservoir, turn left on some road in a small village, and good luck in the warren of dirt and gravel roads serving the trailer homes back in there. Look of an auto junkyard on yer left to tell you you've made the right choices at the first couple of intersections.
Then look for an unmarked 'jeep' road that angles off the nice dirt ridge-road yer on, heading steeply down to the left, and hope yer vehicle can make it back up outta there. We set our takeout where this jeep road fords the creek (if the creek is low enough to ford, I'd forget trying to run it)."
Thanks, Richard, for the info!

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2008-05-22 11:13:52


Rapid Descriptions

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