Stonycreek River - 3 - Stony Canyon

Stonycreek River, Pennsylvania, US


3 - Stony Canyon (Foustwell to Carpenters Park)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 4.6 Miles

Scout rapid surf

Scout rapid surf
Photo taken 04/25/05

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Stonycreek River at Ferndale, PA
usgs-03040000 3.40 - 6.75 ft III-IV 00h24m 2.26 ft (too low)

River Description

This section has great play all over it. It primarily consists of ledges coming at you from all directions, though there are a few boulders thrown in as well.

Hazards: there are two man-made structures. The first is Border Dam, which has spikes that can put a serious hurt on your boat. Below 7' Ferndale, it's wise to walk this one on River Left. The second structure is Pipeline, just downstream of the dam. It's runnable via a tongue on river left; the hole in the center is punchable at most levels, as well.

Most of the good play occurs upstream of Border Dam, though there are play waves below.

See the Stonycreek Canyon Page in the Benscreek Canoe Club Stonycreek Watershed Page.

Directions: The normal putin is on Rte. 601 in Foustwell; an alternate putin is a mile and a half upstream on Rte. 403 in Holsopple. The takeout is in Carpenters Park, on river left. From Hollsopple, take State Rte. 601 to Foustwell. Make a left before the bridge that goes over the Stony onto SR 4039. Follow this road for about 2 miles and under Rt. 219 (4-lane road). Just past Rte. 219 make a right onto Kaufman Church Road (there's a church on the corner). Follow for about a mile and a half and turn right at the stop sign onto SR 4022 (Carpenters Park Road). Follow over Rte. 219 (4-lane road) and down to the Stony takeout (Carpenters Park).

For other streams in this watershed, check out:
Conemaugh River (I-II)
Clear Shade Creek (III)
Quemahoning Creek (III)
Shade Creek (III-IV)
Stony Gorge (IV)
Roaring Fork (IV)
Dark Shade Creek (IV-V)
Paint Creek (V)
Little Conemaugh River - North (II-III)
Little Conemaugh River - South (II-III)
Little Conemaugh River (II-III(V))

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-15 17:40:27


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Johnson's HoleIII+Playspot
0.3Test Tube HoleIII+
0.5Lower RailroadIII+
0.8The WallIII+
1.0Three Ugly SistersPlayspot
1.3Rooster Tail
1.7Hydro Rock
1.9The Beast
2.3Border DamHazard

Rapid Descriptions

Johnson's Hole (Class III+, Mile 0.1)
Lotsa playspots. Known informally as the "surf laboratory."

Test Tube Hole (Class III+, Mile 0.3)
This is the beginning of a set of great playspots, all the way to the railroad bridge.

Lower Railroad (Class III+, Mile 0.5)
Just downstream of the railroad bridge, this has a long slide which dumps into a big hole. Just downstream is Locomotive, a river-wide ledge that creates a huuuge hole, avoidable on river right.

The Wall (Class III+, Mile 0.8)
Easy to recognize as the river makes a hard turn to the right and a big slope appears on the left.

Three Ugly Sisters
Great surfing at medium-to-high levels. The third sister is a river-wide hole which has room for lots of boats.

This is a river-right playhole after a bottleneck.

Border Dam
This used to be considered runnable, but the understructure is falling apart, and your boat (and bod) risk unfortunate encounters with construction materials. Portage river left.

Nearly river-wide hole with a tongue down the left.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 20 2012 (1591 days ago)
Charles WalbridgeDetails
I just got back from the Stony Creek Rendezvous near Johnstown, PA. This is the first year that the
new valve at Quemahoning Dam released into the river. It added 500 cfs to the river, roughly
doubling the flow. What a great creek! Like the Tohockon, but bigger, like the Yough, but more
continuous and playful. They'll be releasing every other weekend for the rest of the year. It's
part of a multi-millon dollar project that paddlers had a big role in, cleaning up the water and
creating a new whitewater park. Check it out!
August 16 2010 (2234 days ago)
wpowel (151629)
There is a tree down about 1/3 of a mile below the railroad bridge at what I understand is the 2nd
Ugly Sister. It is after the river turns 90 degrees to the right after the railroad bridge. It
covers about 1/3 of the river on river right. It is easily seen and avoided.
April 26 2009 (2711 days ago)
x (1)
Warning! There is a very large tree that is lodged in the large rock below pipeline. Get out and
scout at all river levels. We ran it at 3.5 today and the tree is a factor but at higher levels it
could make this rapid deadly. AS OF 4-25-09 (FESTIVAL WEKEND) THIS TREE HAD BEEN CLEARD OUT.!
September 2 2008 (2947 days ago)
x (1)
9-02-08 there is a big tree down that crosses the river @ the 1st major rapid that you come to if
you put in @ the baseball field. It looks as tho somebody chopped it down. It may wash out when the
water gets high again, but then who knows.
May 1 2006 (3802 days ago)
Sean O'MalleyDetails
Ran this on 4/29/06 at 3.5 Ferndale, about 2 ft on the putin bridge. This seemed the lowest
reasonable level, perhaps even below, for my tastes. Many nice playspots still, but a lot of the
drops were VERY bony and technical. I guess folks put up with the boat abuse to get to the

In contrast, I think 4 or 4.25 Ferndale is a lovely level. The run is nearly continuous, boat
scoutable class 3 at that reading, with short recovery pools below most drops and lots of surf
March 29 2004 (4564 days ago)
Ran this on March 28, 2004 at 4 feet on USGS and 2.5 on the bridge. The best/biggest rapid is the
one just above the gauge bridge. Don't know its name but it was a fun one!! The play below the
bridge was incredible. At 1100 cfs it was fun class three, with only the rapid above the bridge
rating a 3+. At the 1100 cfs level there was nothing that was close to a class 4 on the river. We
looked at the dam, there was no logical reason to run it or submit the boats to the abuse. We
carried left.

Overall the run is very pool drop with good sized pools for rescuing beginners. The run is good for
beginners with good rolls.
October 1 2003 (4745 days ago)
Fritz CrytzerDetails
26 September 2003: Ran this at a 2.5" level in a tandem open boat with my daughter, Rozalyn,
and some friends. Very good run with continuous Class III action. Forget about the dam-it's just
not worth it with the threat of rebar to puncture boats and people! Pipeline was over rated at this
level. Easy to run left of center. Otherwise, great rapids, fun holes and waves, good technical
Class III river!

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