Put-in - Park next to Railroad. River winds into a small gorge called Gaither Gorge
At the top of the rapid is an eddy river left. If you catch this eddy, immediately downstream is a pointed rock that breaks the current. Go to the left of the pointed rock and move to the center of the current. Eddy out. After a short pool, there is another easy rapid run mostly in the center.
This rapid is trashy with rocks. Line is generally in the center, but rock dodging. Particularly at the bottom it is hard to avoid hitting rocks
You'll come to a large rock in the center of the Stream, pull out and scout. Behind the big rock, at most levels the river goes through a rocky shoal. This rapid is harder at low water. Chose your own line, but basically eddy out behind the big rock and work your way to river right through the rocks. There is no clean line and you will get stuck (hence the name) in the rocks, but at lower water, getting stuck is not a problem and at higher water, the line is clearer.
This rapid is very dependent upon water levels. At higher water there is an easy line down the right side involving little more than punching a wave. At low water, the right side is dry, so you need to make a sharp left turn above a large rock, but this move is fairly easy at low water because theres not much current into the large rock. This rapid is hardest at moderately high levels when the right side is too low to run, but there's significant current into the large rock as you make the left turn. Usually class II, but class III at certain water levels. There is a tree root strainer on river left immediately below this rapid.
River road continues to follow the river below the "River Road" and "Upper Labyrinth" rapids. Where a small creek comes in from the right, there is a short takeout if you don't want to go all the way to Henryton Rd.
There is a lead in of two easy unnamed ledge rapids. The third and last of the rapids in the lower (River Rd. to Henryton Rd.) section of this reach, is called "Lower Labyrinth" for the way it twists and turns over rock ledges. "Lower Labyrinth" can definitely surprise the unwary.
Take-out - Park where Henryton Rd. abruptly ends at a bridge abutment for a now gone bridge.
(moved from old location dated March 14, 2015) Byron Ellis: S. Br. Patapsco from Gaither Rd. to Henryton Rd. today with Tony during rain with snow melt, it was high and brown. Hollofield 2,130 cfs and 4.27, Cedarhurst 1,120 cfs, Unity 546 cfs. Least that's what it said when we got back, Gauges were 1/2 lower early morning before leaving home. No strainers to portage. A lot of play was washed out. 4-5 good rapids with 2/3 moves to miss holes, with no terminal holes. Intermediate run. Most of the rocks you would normally see around Sykesville were submerged.
Look for BOTH Cedarhurst over 150 cfs and Unity over 90 cfs in order to determine whether this river stretch is likely to be running. The 500 cfs on the Hollofield gauge may be of some interest, but Hollofield is about 12 hours downstream, so that this stretch could be down while Hollofield is still holding. I have attempted to create a virtual gauge that uses both the Cedarhurst and Unity gauges for the reference back to the summary page.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Eddy behind Big Rock at "No Way Out" at moderate low water
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