Conewago Creek (East) - Aberdeen Mills to Hillsdale Rd


Conewago Creek (East), Pennsylvania, US

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Aberdeen Mills to Hillsdale Rd

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 6.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm

Rapid just upstream of the RR bridge after an early thaw.


Rapid just upstream of the RR bridge after an early thaw.
Photo of Brian William Gish by Benjamin David Ebersole taken 03/02/03 @ Med-Low

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Conewago Creek near Falmouth, PA
usgs-01573710 3.00 - 10.00 ft I-III 01h04m 1.41 ft (too low)


River Description

Put-ins To catch the whole 6.2 miles begin your run at Aberdeen Mills (just above Aberdeen Rd.) From the west (Harrisburg) take route 283 to the route 230 & route 341 exit. At the end of the ramp turn right in a block turn left at the "T" onto route 230 heading east. In a couple miles turn right (south) on South Deodate for the shorter run described below; S. Deodate will take you to the put-in. Continue to the next left (northeast) onto Hertzler Rd if you want the full run. Hertzler Rd gradually approaches and follows the creek upstream. Turn right at the "T" when you reach Mill Rd. You will soon cross the creek. Walk a couple hundred yards up the rail trail to where you can put-in.

Take-out From the upper put-in retrace your path to route 230 and cross it staying on Hertzler Rd. Hertzler Rd will merge with S. Deodate Rd just above the bridge at the lower put-in. Just before you cross the bridge take a right on Locust Grove Road. Follow Locust Grove Rd until a "T" on Hillsdale Rd. Turn left at this "T" passing under the rairoad and follow Hillsdale until it crosses the creek at the takeout. From the lower put-in follow the directions starting at Locust Grove Rd.

River Description (upper put-in) After the short hike up the rail-trail you can launch upstream of the class 3 drop just above (and visible from) the bridge. This drop is quite technical, somewhat sievelike but usually not very pushy. Scout before running this drop as the two lines are narrow and easily obsructed by downed trees and if you are running it there has likely been a very recent and very hard rain. A lot of the water passes through the rocks at the drop but if the creek is runnable there will be enough going over the top for your boat. The hazards associated with sieves remain.

From the rapid at Aberdeen Mills to South Deodate Rd you will travel a distance of almost 4 miles of flatwater and easy riffles. Watch out for a low water bridge as you pass through a nursery. You and your boat are not likely to fit through the culverts. If the creek is especially high you can float over.

There are a couple of ledges just above S. Deodate Rd. with very modest surfing potential. Below S. Deodate Rd. the action begins again. Most locals choose to put in here to catch most of the action while avoiding the flatwater. There is a series of class 2 to 3 rapids for the next 3/4 mile. The last of the excitement ends a couple hundred yars after you pass under the railroad bridge. Although the gradient drops off there is one modest glassy wave at a sharp right bend in the creek. In general this creek has little to offer in the way of surfing so grab the limited opportunities. Soon you will come to a road bridge and the takeout at Hillsdale Rd. You can also continue on down flatwater and riffles to route 441 and the Susquehanna river.

An excellent reference is Keystone Canoeing by Gertler, E.

There are two Conewago Creeks, on opposite sides of the Susquehanna river; the other one to the west is fairly flat, with one short Class III-IV section.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-08-07 09:32:44

Rapid Descriptions

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