A 65 day old warning about this river was added. Click on comments below to read it.

Casselman - 3) Markleton to Harnedsville (Confluence)

Casselman, Pennsylvania, US


3) Markleton to Harnedsville (Confluence)

Usual Difficulty II-III (varies with level)
Length 11.8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 40 fpm

Terminator Hole

Terminator Hole
Photo taken 05/23/11 @ 3.80 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Casselman River at Markleton, PA
usgs-03079000 2.00 - 9.00 ft II-III 00h39m 1.07 ft (too low)

River Description

This intermediate run is a stone's throw from the Lower Yough and is often runnable in the winter/spring when the Yough is too high for an intermediate paddler's taste. Depending upon levels, the flow is fast and mostly Class II in difficulty with some rapids approaching Class III starting in the 3-4 foot range and higher. The river is also fairly open, but one can find plenty of slalom play and good surfing throughout the run at medium levels.  

The Put-in is in Markleton, PA on the river left side.  Just below the put-in there are a series of small ledges that can be surfed.  A little ways down, not long into the run, the river makes a bend to the left.  In this bend, is a large munchy hole --called "Terminator Hole" (Class III-) in the center and center right of the river.  The hole is easily avoidable on the left and at most levels there is a more difficult line to the far right.  The river continues with a few open Class II rapids.  

After a while, the river turns to the left at a huge railroad cut.  At low water levels, the river shoals out in the turn and the line is to stay far left -- just left of a small rocky/gravely island.  At higher water levels, you can run it anywhere and the island becomes a pour-over to be avoided.  The river comes together below the little island and forms a nice surfing wave against a large rock formation ("Lunch Rock") on river right with the old railroad (bike trail) bridge immediately below.  Depending upon your timing, this is a potential lunch spot -- river right.

The river continues at Class II until you come to a somewhat blind turn through some rocks.  At lower and moderate water levels, there are slots center and left that can be run and a shoaly slot on the right, as well (usually Class II+ to Class III-).  Above 4' the slots in the center and left are solid class IIIs, and the right slot becomes a sneak route.  The river continues with more open Class II rapids.  When you can see the second old railroad (bike trail) bridge, start moving to river left.  Enter the next rapid on the left, but move to the center as the tongue picks up speed to avoid a large hole and one or two smaller ones (depending upon the level -- all of which are usually surfable) on far river left.  

Right below the second railroad bridge, the river turns left and there is a large eddy and small beach on river left which is a second good lunch spot.  Often, there are some nice surfing waves on river right at this location as well.  Below this the river continues with some nice open Class II rapids.  After a while, you'll see a waterfall (Cucumber Run, I believe) on river left.  After the waterfall is another rapid (Class III) which can be run left or right, but requires hole punching, eddy catching, and maneuvering either way.  There is a large rock at the bottom of the main drop that can be used to gather up a group.  

The next rapid is on a sweeping left turn and starts with a river wide shoal that can be snuck on a left to center move at low water.  As the rapid gathers speed, there are a series of diagonal waves that can be punched or surfed on the fly (no staging eddies).

When you begin to see houses on river left, you know you're almost to the Fort Hill bridge.  The usual take-out is the Fort Hill Bridge (river right), but if you choose to float the additional distance to Harnedsville, there are a few additional class II and class II- rapids.


All the roads are accessible from Rte. 281.

Markleton Road off 281, pull off into the park on the right.

Fort Hill
Fort Hill Road off 281, pull off into the park on the left (extra parking for large groups is up the hill on the river left side at the first switchback).


Take Route 523 off 281 and continue until the bridge, turning left into the dirt parking area.

John Kling helpfully gave the distances:
Markleton to Ft. Hill is 5.963 miles; (I have 6.023 miles - Tony Allred Jr.)
Ft. Hill to Harnedsville to 5.819 miles.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-07 17:13:00


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.4Terminator HoleIIIWaterfall
1.9Lunch RockIIPlayspot
6.0Fort HillN/ATakeout
11.8Harnedsville (Confluence) TakeoutN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Harnedsville (Confluence) Takeout (Class N/A, Mile 11.8)

For the longer run, you can take out here. See the Directions tab for the Fort Hill takeout (6.0 miles)

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 17 2017 (65 days ago)
John BaltzerDetails
The entire width of the Casselman is blocked by a bunch of trees that came down with a landslide on
river right about a quarter mile upstream from the take-out at the Fort Hill bridge. The good news
is that the barrier can be seen from several hundred yards upstream and that it's located at the
end of a long quiet pool (adjacent to a large cabin). The obstacle can be bypassed at the edge (on
river left). Kayakers (with sturdy footgear) should have no real problem either lining through the
leafy branches, or via a 40-yard carry on the level but brushy bank, or more likely a combination
of both methods. We had a raft & oar frame however & thus more difficulty getting the boat through.
River level was 2.9 at the time of our passage, and during lining at that level the water was
almost waist deep. Spread the word at the put-in.
June 26 2017 (86 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
At odd intervals some official type person apparently shows up at Markleton to tell boaters that
they can't use the put-in unless they pay the PA Fish & Boat Commission $18.00 fee with a $150.00
fine as a penalty. I wonder if anyone in PA State government talks to each other, or to paddlers,
because this method of enforcement sets up a perverse incentive that potentially penalizes trip
leaders from doing the right thing by moving up the watershed when water levels get high. Since
2003 I have tried to spread the idea that the Casselman is a great fallback to the Lower Yough when
the water levels are high in the Yough drainage after a hard rain. When a commission official
restarts this rumor, it absolutely kills the momentum I've tried to start with Baltimore/DC area
paddlers and the Casselman, with the result that Baltimore/DC people don't think of the Casselman
in high water situations and in my opinion, the Casselman as a resource is under-utilized.
Supposedly, the reason that the fee system was set up at Ohiopyle in the 1980's, was to spread out
start times so the Lower Yough wouldn't get overcrowded. You'd think Ohiopyle park would encourage
Casselman paddling, to help alleviate overcrowding, especially at high water. And you'd think that
Pennsylvania policies for surrounding rivers would be encouraging to paddlers to find safer and
less crowded options in the same watershed as the Lower Yough. It seems that the Pennsylvania Fish
and Boat Commission primarily/exclusively thinks of boating in terms of boating for fishing and
fishing access. The Commission does not understand how it puts an additional burden on a trip
leader to talk a group out of a ill advised Lower Yough trip to go to the Casselman and then face
possibility that someone will walk up to them and raise the issue of additional fees or threaten
fines. Contacts between paddlers and the apparent representatives of the Commission have been
officious, rude and not considerate of fees paddlers may have already paid to Ohiopyle Park for
launch permits not used because in the leader's judgement, the Lower Yough was too high for a
particular group on a particular day. The Commission's interactions with whitewater paddlers does
not reflect well on the State of Pennsylvania and suggests a lack of welcome to visitors. The Fort
Hill take-out of the Casselman is managed by the Casselman River Watershed Association
(http://www.casselmanwatershed.org/) which asks for voluntary contributions to maintain the Fort
Hill take-out. It is unfortunate that the Markleton River access is managed by the PA Fish and Boat
Commission that seems to know so little about how whitewater boaters arrange trips. Please consider
making contributions to the Casselman River Watershed Association for their work at the Fort Hill
take-out and please pressure Pennsylvania policy makers to place the Markleton access under the
same management.
April 6 2017 (167 days ago)
SlimKayak (158802)
Ran this at 5ft and it was more of a class 3-4 river at some points. In some parts there were HUGE
holes, comparable to the lower yough at normal flows.
January 23 2017 (240 days ago)
James HuntDetails
On Jan 21, 2017 Kayakers were informed at the Markleton put-in that it is a PA Fish and Boat
Commission controlled river access and that a PA Un-Powered Boat Permit is required at both the
put-in and takeout. The fee is $18 for 2 years. The officer was threatening $150 fines if you did
not have the sticker. I don't think anyone got a ticket but there was a lot of discussion going on
between the Officer and the boaters. I think this is new as I have never seen any signs before or
heard of any problems.
September 8 2015 (743 days ago)
simonkrzych (155765)
7/9/15 flow was low, 2.7ft or about 900cfs. Quality class 2+ rapids throughout the run. This was
the last day of the trip. G, Ct, eli, josh, fab and jesse. Everyone was in an individual craft,
some light carnage.
May 8 2014 (1231 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
The bridge & approach construction has been completed and the Ft. Hill parking area has been
reopened. Checked (May 3, 2014).
June 16 2008 (3383 days ago)
john dukeDetails
see link for a video of this run.......... http://youtube.com/watch?v=4enKJDtVRTE

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