Casselman, Pennsylvania, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||40 fpm|
|Casselman River at Markleton, PA|
|usgs-03079000||2.00 - 9.00 ft||II-III||00h39m||1.07 ft (too low)|
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 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.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|11.8||Harnedsville (Confluence) Takeout||N/A|
For the longer run, you can take out here. See the Directions tab for the Fort Hill takeout (6.0 miles)