This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 11.8 Miles
Gauge Casselman River at Markleton, PA
Flow Range 2.00 - 8.50 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.75 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 03/21/2019 12:09 pm

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 right side upstream from the bridge on the river side from the railroad tracks.  There is a nice park on river left downstream from the bridge, which would appear to be a good put-in, but from time to time, someone from the PA Fish & Boat Commission appears to harangue boaters about the PA Fish & Boat Commission sticker ($18.00 fee for 2 years [apparently required at all public PA river accesses, but which only comes up at the Markleton river access]) and threaten a $150.00 fine as a penalty for not having the sticker on the boat. However, (after unloading boats on river right upstream of the bridge) It's not a bad idea to leave cars at the river left downstream from bridge park, so that the parked cars do not come to the attention of the railroad.  An alternative is to drive up to the little town of Casselman three miles upstream for a put-in, but you'd have to make friends with one of the riverside property owners there.

Just below the Markleton, PA 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, which creates a rapid called "Pinkerton 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.  

A little below "Pinkerton Rocks" there is a rock that looks a little like a turtle shell that sits on the river right end of a ledge running out from the river left shore.  This rapid, called "Turtle Claw" has a center right tongue past this ledge and the cautious paddler should stay on the right side of this tongue because there are two offset rocks  just beneath the surface on the left side of the tongue that can cause problems.  Which is not to say that an aggressive paddler wouldn't be able to boof the turtle shell rock into the eddy behind the ledge, but if the boof is sloppy or missed the downstream rocks can come into play with flipping potential.  At certain water levels the usually hidden rocks can become a rooster tail.  

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 called "Tossed Salad" (Class III) which can be run left or right, but requires hole punching, eddy catching, and maneuvering either way.  

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.

Put-in/Take-outs

All the roads are accessible from Rte. 281.

Markleton
Markleton Road off 281, pull off into the park on river left, downstream of the bridge or on river right upstream of the bridge.

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).

Harnedsville

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

Markleton to Ft. Hill is 6.023 miles
Ft. Hill to Harnedsville to 5.759 miles.

Rapid Descriptions

Markleton Putin

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Put-in

"Terminator Hole"

Class - III Mile - 0.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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. 

"Lets Make a Deal"

Class - II Mile - 0.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Three slots to choose from, the rightmost one is the easiest.

"Lunch Rock"

Class - II Mile - 1.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.  

"Pinkerton Rocks"

Class - II+ Mile - 2.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The rapid begins with 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.  

"Turtle Claw"

Class - II+ Mile - 2.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This rapid called "Turtle Claw" is just a little below "Pinkerton Rocks".  At the top of the rapid there is a rock that looks a little like a turtle shell that sits on the river right end of a ledge running out from the river left shore.  There is a center right tongue past this ledge and the cautious paddler should stay on the right side of this tongue because there are two offset rocks (the "Claw") just beneath the surface on the left side of the tongue that can cause problems.  Which is not to say that an aggressive paddler wouldn't be able to boof the turtle shell rock into the eddy behind the ledge, but if the boof is sloppy or missed the downstream rocks can come into play with flipping potential.  At certain water levels the usually hidden rocks can become a rooster tail.  

"High Bridge"

Class - II Mile - 3.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

When the second old railroad (bike trail) bridge becomes visible, 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.  

"High Bridge Surfing Waves"

Class - II Mile - 3.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
AKA "Surflab 2" Right below the second railroad bridge, the river turns left and there is a large eddy and small beach on river left.  At certain levels (2.25'-3.00', they wash out in the low to mid 3's and above), there are some nice surfing waves on river right at this location as well.  
 

Cucumber Run Waterfall

Class - N/A Mile - 4.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

On small creek river left

"Tossed Salad"

Class - III Mile - 4.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
After the waterfall on river left is another rapid (Class III) called "Tossed Salad" because it's about 100 yards downstream from the Cucumber run waterfall and because it mixes things up a bit.  This rapid can be run left or right, but requires hole punching, eddy catching, and maneuvering either way.  

"The Ledges"

Class - II+ Mile - 5.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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).

Fort Hill (Usual) Takeout

Class - N/A Mile - 6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Standard Take-out

Fort Hill Rapid

Class - II Mile - 6.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Rapid below the Fort Hill takeout.  A sweeping turn to the right.

Harnedsville (Long) Takeout

Class - N/A Mile - 11.782
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

Comments

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Tony Allred Jr
|
1 year ago

2018: The river is open, but with a large strainer at river right at the landslide location (approx mile 5.7)

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Tony Allred Jr
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1 year ago

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.

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Alec Lazarides
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2 years ago

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.

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n/a
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7 years ago

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Tony Allred Jr
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5 years ago

The bridge & approach construction has been completed and the Ft. Hill parking area has been reopened. Checked (May 3, 2014).

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John Duke
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10 years ago

see link for a video of this run.......... http://youtube.com/watch?v=4enKJDtVRTE

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Simon Krzych
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3 years ago

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.

Gage Descriptions

The gauge is at the putin, providing a good indicator of flow. 2 feet is low, doable, but very low. Look for 2.25 as an enjoyable minimum. Best levels are between 2.5 and 5 feet.


 

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
1980-04-04 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More

Alerts

   

News

article main photo

Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

1/9/2004
Kevin Colburn

There will be a one day conference on January 31st in eastern Pennsylvania that will address dam removal and rehabilitation in the state and region. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd.
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Tony Allred Jr

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Chris Preperato

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1207778 06/26/17 Tony Allred Jr 6-25-2017 - Improved and extended description
1207776 06/26/17 Tony Allred Jr 6-25-2017 - Edited Rapids
1191384 08/22/04 Chris Preperato n/a
1201141 03/22/12 Matt Muir Fixed mileage, with description in the text; changed profile pic and added Confluence to the reach title.
1209948 06/26/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1210185 08/05/18 Tony Allred Jr 10-28-2018 cleanup
1207783 06/27/17 Tony Allred Jr 6-27-2017 - minor correction to the description
1201142 03/22/12 Matt Muir
1207775 06/26/17 Tony Allred Jr 6-25-2017 - Improved and extended description
1207790 06/28/17 Tony Allred Jr 6-29-2017 minor correction to flows
1208148 07/21/17 Tony Allred Jr 8-4-2017 - small edit to gauge levels changed 2.25 to 2.3
1208024 07/14/17 Tony Allred Jr 7-14-2017 - removed outdated info
1208167 08/04/17 Tony Allred Jr 8-4-2017 - small edit to description
1209934 06/25/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1209927 06/25/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1209932 06/25/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1209314 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1209931 06/25/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1209315 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1209933 06/25/18 Tony Allred Jr 6-24-2018 - cleanup
1209318 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1208180 08/07/17 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1209316 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1209317 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1209319 04/27/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1211489 03/21/19 Tony Allred Jr updated name