Black Moshannon Creek - Gorton Road to Rt. 53 Bridge

Black Moshannon Creek, Pennsylvania, US


Gorton Road to Rt. 53 Bridge (Black Mo)

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 3.3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 70 fpm


Photo by Rand McFarland (KHCC) taken 05/01/11 @ 10 inches

River Description

This section can sometimes collect wood around blind turns. Be on the lookout for strainers in fast water.

There is no USGS gauge for this section. You need to look at the painted gauge on the bridge abutment at the put-in. Note that the white, metal gauge there is graded in tenths of a foot, not inches. 0-4" is about minimum, depending on who you ask. 4-10" is fun Class III. Above 10" and the run starts to get fairly continuous, with few pools, smaller eddies, and the water up in the rhododendrons lining the creek.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-10-27 22:50:15

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.9Coon EddyIII
1.2Black HoleIII
1.4Little WhirlpoolII+
1.5Big WhirlpoolIII
1.8Singer's LandingIIIPlayspot
1.9Strainer CityIII
2.1Rothrock HoleII+Hazard
2.3Crack in the RockIII
2.7Crack in the Rock IIIII
3.0Hobbit TrailII
3.2Table RockIIIHazard

Rapid Descriptions

Frisbee (Class II+, Mile 1.0)

Boulder garden just above the cabin on river-right.

Swimmer's (Class III, Mile 1.1)

Series of curler waves that end in a nice play wave at low-medium levels just below the cabin.

Black Hole (Class III, Mile 1.2)

As the river makes a sharp right hand turn just below Swimmer's (and the giant rock cairn), a big hole feature forms that is nearly river wide. You can sneak it on the right, or try to square up and punch it.

Little Whirlpool (Class II+, Mile 1.4)

Small, swirling eddy on river left as the river makes a sharp right-hand turn.

Big Whirlpool (Class III, Mile 1.5)

An even bigger swirling eddy on river left, just as the river makes a sharp right-hand turn. This eddy isn't difficult to get into, but make sure you have a good ferry angle to get out, or risk getting slammed into the big rock on river left.

Gumdrop (Class III, Mile 1.7)

Just downstream, the river makes a sharp left-hand turn. This is called Gum Drop. The roostertail and weird eddy lines can sometimes flip an unsuspecting boater. Usually most run the turn on the far left to avoid carnage.

Singer's Landing (Class III, Mile 1.8)

Nice play/surf spot, and good place to take a short break.

Strainer City (Class III, Mile 1.9)

Boulder garden at the beginning of a left-hand turn that often collects wood. The standard line is through the wide channel on river left, though there is line through the boulders on river right. Just make sure it is clear, since the entry is a bit blind.

Rothrock Hole (Class II+, Mile 2.1)

This hole doesn't look like much from upstream, but partway down this flat, straight section is a very sticky hole with a low horizon line on river right, stretching out about 2/3 of the way across. It has kept boats and swimmers. Stay river left to avoid any issues.

Pyramid (Class III, Mile 2.2)

Just below the next big swirling eddy is a short rapid called Pyramid. This is considered by many to be the crux rapid on this stretch. You can run it river right, or stay river left and boof off the pyramid rock at the bottom, which gives the rapid its name sake.

Crack in the Rock (Class III, Mile 2.3)

Just below Pyramid, the next rapid is defined by two big boulders on the right blocking the way, and an easy to navigate channel on the left. If you're feeling sporty, boof through the slot between the two boulders and into the big eddy.

Crack in the Rock II (Class III, Mile 2.7)

Sharp left turn just as the creek joins up to run along Rt. 53.

Hobbit Trail (Class II, Mile 3.0)

If you look carefully to the left side, there is a small hidden channel that flows through a tunnel of rhodendrons that will transport you to Hobbiton, before joining back up with the main channel. Be on the lookout for wood in this section.

Table Rock (Class III, Mile 3.2)

Right before the takeout, the creek makes a sharp right turn, followed immediately by a sharp left turn. On the river left side of this rapid, there is a series of large flat rocks (table rocks). On the river right side of the left turn, there is an overhanging (live) tree. This tree has caught and flipped many boaters.

At low flows, hug the right shore with a left angle, and try to catch the eddy behind Table Rock. At higher flows, you can run directly over Table Rock and avoid the overhanging sweeper altogether.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 25 2018 (117 days ago)
zymph2 (158490)
Ran this today at 6/10 on the put in bridge gauge and it is a creeking treasure!
May 5 2011 (2755 days ago)
Jon NelsonDetails
4" on the put-in bridge is a minimal level for an enjoyable run, although the Black gets run at
lower levels. At 4", the right side of Pyramid is pretty boney, so try the center left route.
Thanks for taking out the strainer -- the last rapids tends to collect wood.
May 3 2011 (2757 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
Ran the final 3.8 miles twice on Sat. April 30 @ 10" on the putin bridge gauge, Beech Creek @ 8.3'
Ran Sun May 1 @ 8" , Beech Creek @ 7.6' These were good levels. Both Beech Creek readings were on a
falling gauge. Cut out a river wide strainer just above the takeout. There was one other strainer
on this section it is easily seen and easily avoided. Rand
September 1 2006 (4462 days ago)
x (1)
There really isn't a reliable gauge on the internet for
the Black. You have to go look at it. There is a
gauge on the river right side of the bridge just below
the put-in. We've run it below 0 on that gauge, but
we were jonesin'. 4"-6" is worth the trip out here.
Peter Smith ...................................Cory~ Beech Creek at 880 cfs and the gauge on the
bridge was 4.5
June 30 2006 (4525 days ago)
Cory BryantDetails
Edward says (Beech Creek at Monument should be at 7.3 feet).
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