Blacklick Creek - Route 259 to Saylor Park in Blacklick

Blacklick Creek, Pennsylvania, US


Route 259 to Saylor Park in Blacklick

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 6.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 43 fpm
Max Gradient 66 fpm

Jamie on the Blacklick

Jamie on the Blacklick
Photo of Jamie Brinkerhoff by Rand McFarland (KHCC) taken 08/30/09 @ 3.90 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Blacklick Creek at Josephine, PA
usgs-03042000 420 - 2000 cfs II-III(IV) 00h24m 324 cfs (too low)

River Description

Blacklick Creek is located in southern Indiana County, Pennsylvania.It has been overlooked for years by many paddlers because of its bad reputation for acid polution and a devastated landscape, both the result of a coal mining past. Today, the Blacklick is a river in recovery. It has a way to go yet, but the upstream acid mine drainage has been significatly reduced . The conversion of the railroad bed to the Ghost Town multi-use trail included some clean up of the banks and hill sides. Trees have grown back and hide much of what remains of the boney piles and discarded mine equipment. The over-all impression the paddler now gets is one of beauty, mared only in spots. The white-water starts about a hundred yards above the Rt. 259 bridge in Heshbon. Put in from the Ghost Town Trail upstream of the bridge on the northern side. It is permissible to drive up to the gate to unload boats and equipment. Parking is back at the gravel lot by the road. The put-in is just beyond the gate on the right by a large rusting cable winch. You may also put-in on the down stream side of the North end of the bridge, but this is difficult and you miss some rapids. This section starts with the Heshbon Rapid, about 3/4 of a mile of ledges and boulder gardens that lead into Auld's Run Rapid (IV-). On your right you will pass Auld's Run, a small tributary. It is bright orange. Auld's Run Rapid is just below. Work your way over to the right and eddy out on the right just above the drop. You can scout the rapid from here(by boat or bank). The line is a diagonal one from right to left. You need to enter the rapid high from the top of the eddy, and get all the way over to the left near the leaning boulder to hit the clean line. The river maintains a busy class II-III pace for the next two and a half miles. With one last good class III just past the half way point called Diagonal Ledges. After this drop there are still a bunch of small ledges that provide good surfing opportunities. As the rapids and the scenery decline you are coming into the town of Blacklick. The take-out is at Saylor Park in Blacklick on river left (Josephine is on river right). Take out above or below Old Indiana rd. This is the first road bridge encountered below Heshbon. Above the bridge is a shorter portage to the parking lot, but the bank is steep. Below is a better place to beach but a longer walk.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-07-04 13:01:58


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.8Auld's RunIII+Waterfall Photo
1.8Jacks RockIIIWaterfall Photo
3.2Diagonal Ledges (Surfers) IIIWaterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Auld's Run (Class III+, Mile 0.8)

Taking the diagonal line from the eddy

Taking the diagonal line from the eddy
Photo of Rand McFarland by Lisa McFarland (KHCC) taken 02/14/09 @ a good level

  About 3/4 of a mile below the putin the stream bed constricts at a boulder strewn ledge called Auld's Run Rapid. So called because of the entry of Auld's Run from river right before the drop. This small tributary is easy to spot due to its bright orange color. After this, also on the right there is a good scouting eddy just above the drop. It is possible to beach here to scout or portage as well. The cleanest line is a diagonal across the rapid from the eddy dropping over on the left by the leaning boulder.


Jacks Rock (Class III, Mile 1.8)

Jack's Rock

Jack's Rock
Photo by Rand McFarland (KHCC) taken 12/06/09

The photo shows the right channel. The big square rock in mid channel, at the bottom is Jack's Rock. It is slightly undercut, and has logs across the bottom of both routes around the rock that will be there for years. Although it is possible to paddle over the logs, the danger of entrapment for swimmers is very high. The left channel of the island is a fun and safe route.

Diagonal Ledges (Surfers) (Class III, Mile 3.2)

Diagonal Ledges

Diagonal Ledges
Photo by Rand McFarland (KHCC) taken 12/06/09 @ a good level

The left channel of this rapid ends in a boulder sive. So, enter this rapid right of the two mid stream boulders. Stay left and above the drop until you are past the first diagonal wave-hole then run down the left.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 26 2011 (2785 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
A new fish commision access has been made at the rt 119 bridge on Blacklick creek. It is only
accessible from the North bound direction on rt 119 just after the bridge. It is 1/2 mile further
down stream from the Saylor Park takeout but parking is very close to the water.
April 26 2011 (2785 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
Ran Blacklick on 4/24/11 @ 1000cfs on the new gauge with Hap and Jamie, this is a good level with
all the bells and whistles. I hear good things about 1500cfs from Jen & Phil. What we need to know
is at what level on the new gauge do things begin to washout. Rand
April 26 2011 (2785 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
Ran Blacklick 5/3/09, approx. 2 miles below Heshbon there is an island. A big log remains stuck on
the very large square rock in the center(Jack's Rock), at the bottom of the right channel. The log
is across the passages on both sides of the rock. The right channel of this island should not be
run. The left channelis open. There are pictures of this hazard in the photo sec.
May 22 2010 (3124 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
The bridge work at Hesbon has been completed and the charming box girder structure was perserved,
very cool.
March 24 2010 (3183 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
3/21/10 Ran Blacklick @ 780cfs this appears to be close to a min. for fun level with the new gauge
if it is indeed operating properly. The old stage numbers are out and new ones will be needed. No
painted gauge exists so cfs should be used. I have not heard back from USGS
November 23 2009 (3304 days ago)
Randall McFarlandDetails
11/22/09 Sunday I walked to the location of the log strainer at low water. It is still there. There
are actually 3 large logs that form the strainer. They are across the entire bottom of both
channels around the rock. When the river is up, you can most likely get around or over the blockage
if you are in your boat. However anyone swimming above here would be in great danger of entrapment
beneath the logs. The left channel of the island is open and is a fun route.
May 6 2009 (3505 days ago)
x (1)
3 of us did the III-IV section on May 5 2009 @ 4.16. The log is still there but is passable to the

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