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Difficulty II-III
Length 6 Miles
Gauge Connoquenessing Creek near Zelienople, PA
Flow Range 2.00 - 9.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 1.41 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 10/17/2017 4:30 pm

River Description

The Connoquenessing Creek (Connie) from the railroad (RR) bridge on South River Road to the Rock Point Boat club is about 6 miles long. The Connie has three sections with easy access and is for the most part a roadside river, except for the last 1+ mile. The Connie has some nice surf waves and some playable holes, but I would not consider it a play river. It is great for river running, basic kayak instruction and some play. The Connie has been known as a dirty river due to the sewage treatment plants on it and high nitrate levels from steel plants. However, I have paddled and played in the Connie with my kids since the late 90s and have never had a problem. I’ve also noticed more mayflies every spring on the Connie which would indicate an improving water quality.
The upper section of the creek, from the RR bridge on South River Road to the Hwy 488 bridge, is only about 1 ¼ miles long but has 7 rapids in it. Just below the put-in, there is great wave for surfing which exists at every water level, but above 5’ you will have to catch it on the fly. At levels lower than 5’, you have great eddy service. This section is best run at levels between 2 ½’ to 5’. Below 2 ½’ it gets boney and above 5’ it tends to be just a wash. This section would be an easy class 3 at low water, at high water a couple of the rapids move up to class 3+.
The middle section of the creek, from Hwy 488 bridge (Zona Bus parking lot) to the old sewage treatment plant just down stream of the 5th Street bridge on Wampum Ave in Ellwood city, is 3+ miles. The Slippery Rock creek joins the Connie just below the put-in which about doubles the flow. The first 1.5 miles is pretty flat, an easy class 2 up to about 4’. At the first rapids, Billy Goat, the river turns to the left and there are some trailers on the right shore. This rapid forms into a great wave train at 3’ and above. The most fun line is to the left, but you can avoid the waves by going down the right side. There is a hole about halfway down, which can be punched by a class 2+ paddler. At levels over 5’ a bigger hole develops at the bottom left, I have not tried to punch that one. Shortly past Billy Goat, there is “lunch rocks”, a great place to take a break at lower water levels, with a good surfing wave for the more energetic paddlers. For about the next mile, the run is just class 2 water.  At levels above 5’, this section has diagonal waves forming near the shores that can get your attention, but if you stay in the middle it is still easy. After a high road bridge and an old power house on river left, there are two class 2+ rapids.  At the bottom of the second rapids, there is a nice wave with a breaking wave/hole in the middle of it. The eddy on river right gives the best access. Shortly after this there is a big sloping rock on river left that is the local’s jump rock. Shortly after you pass under a 2nd road bridge, the old sewage treatment plant will be on your right. This section is run able at any level above 1.5’ and even at high water a class 2+ river.
The lower section from the old sewage treatment plant to Rock Point is only about 1 ¼ mile, but is the prettiest and most fun section to boat. Rock Point is about 1 ½ miles east on Wampum Ave. from 5th Street. This section was rarely run in the past because you had to be a member of the Rock Point Boat club to get access to the take out or do a long steep carry out. This property now belongs to the Wild Waterways Conservancy ( and has limited public access. The access road, about ¾ mile long, is chained with keyed access for boat club members. This gate is open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm April thru September. October thru November it is open Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am to dusk and locked Monday thru Friday. December thru March the gate will be locked. Access issues are still in flux due to abuses such as dumping and vandalism. This is not a park, take everything out with you and be polite to boat club members. At this point, they are maintaining the road for your access. Park up by the railroad tracks, leaving the lower parking for the boat club members.
The lower section of the river starts out slowly with a ¼+ mile of easy class 2 water and then the fun begins. The river takes a sharp turn to the left and goes under a high railroad bridge; this begins the first of about 6 rapids. At low water, there are big pools at the end of each rapid, at high water some of the rapids start to merge. Rooster Tail, about your 3rd rapid, will be the most significant and at high water could be a class -4. There are no good land marks and because the rapids tend to merge at high water the start of Rooster Tail is best recognized by the more difficult nature of the rapid. At low water, Rooster Tail is a regular rapid that ends with all the water channeled to river left by a big sloping rock on river right – just follow the current. At high water, the big sloping rock on river right forms a hole. The easy line is to start mid-river and follow the current to river left thus avoiding the hole. There is a diagonal wave formed by all the water getting channeled to the left that likes to flip people if they are not squared up to it. At high water, a swim here can be longer than most people enjoy. There is another good jump rock on river left in the pool below Rooster Tail. The second-to-last rapid is marked by a collapsed metal foot bridge visible on river right. The foot bridge does go across the river under water but at low water it is in the pool and at high water, when there is some current, the bridge is too deep to have to worry about. This section ends with ¼+ mile of flat water to the take out. This section is run able above 1.5’, but the first ¼ mile is pretty boney at less than 1.7’. 

Rapid Descriptions


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8 years ago

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Josh Tarin
10 years ago

The tree that was blocking the right line on e the last rapid of the upper conney has washed out. all open.

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Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

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.

Jonathan Janicki




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208378 10/17/17 Jonathan Janicki take-out on map fixed
1191393 01/20/01 n/a n/a