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Difficulty I-III
Length 6.3 Miles
Gauge Aughwick Creek near Three Springs, PA
Flow Range 700 - 3500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 35 minutes ago 376 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/16/2002 10:55 pm

River Description

Put-in follow the signs to Trough Creek State Park from PA route 994. It is about 10 miles north of the town of Saxton. At the park entrance there is a park office where you can pick up a park map which will help in navigating the area. Continuing on, you will shortly cross a recently restored wooden arch bridge over Great Trough Creek. Take the first right after you cross the creek onto Trough Creek drive which quickly degrades to a gravel road. You may want to take note of the pipeline crossing where the road closely approaches the creek for future reference when you run the creek. In a couple miles take your first right onto another gravel road(T-370); in 1/2 mile you will be at the put-in.

Takeout Retrace your path to the wooden bridge cross over the creek and take the first right - this is still Trough Creek drive. Follow this road just past the campground to the parking area near the dam and the "ice mine".

River Description In the first part of the run Trough Creek is hemmed in on one side at a time by limestone bluffs with scenic woodlands on the other side. The gradient is modest with periodic riffly rapids, and the occasional small drop cum surfing opportunity.

Shortly,(perhaps 100 yards)after the pipeline crossing there is an excellent surfing hole. This is best grabbed on the way downstream as getting back up and in once you've blown out is an arduous and paddle-banging task. There is a small eddy above it on river right for one boat to wait your turn. The river left side of this hole can be testy at higher flows.

The creek continues with periodic class II rapids and surfing opportunities until it briefly flattens as you pass through the developed portion of the park near the wooden bridge. Then the gradient, action, and multiple surfing opportunities return. There is a rapid, surfing spot and pool at Copperas Rock. Just below this the creek passes under a new bridge; within a hundred yards downstream of the bridge there is usually a nice glassy faced wave. A couple hundred yards below the glassy faced wave the creek departs from the road a little and makes a slight bend to the right where a limestone bluff rises nearly vertically from the left bank. At most levels (low to med-high) this is the most difficult rapid on the creek; at high levels is washes out.

Below this rapid you will pass under a suspension foot bridge and Abbot run enters from river left, cascading over Rainbow Falls. Just downstream from Rainbow Falls, high above you is Balanced Rock. There are a couple more fun drops, then you pass under another foot bridge and arrive at the pool backed up by the dam. Most boaters will usually take out above the dam. The hydraulic below the dam is lethal except for a side slot on far river left. If you run this remember to hold your paddle paralell to the long axis of your boat as you drop into the slot. One time one member of our group had his paddle bridge the opening and he did a fast and improptu limbo move, subsequently running the slot sans paddle. Keystone Canoeing by Ed Gertler is an excellent reference.

Rapid Descriptions


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Rothrock Outfitters
2 months ago

1/25/2019: There is a new strainer downstream of Copperas Rock just above the hole before the suspension bridge. Portage on the right.

default user thumbnail
7 years ago

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Gage Descriptions

Augwick Creek at Three Springs is a fair estimate of the flow in Great Trough Creek as Augwick at that point but has a slightly larger (and slower to rise and fall) drainage basin than Great Trough. The Pennsylvania automated flood warning system AFWS has three rainfall gages which more or less surround great Trough's drainage basin and can be used to judge the past 24 hours worth of rainfall. They are Butler Knob (#2880) in Huntingdon County, Augwick (#2882) in Fulton county, and Round Knob (#2636 in Bedford County. You can also use a rainfall map such as the one available through accuweather. The AFWS updates every 15 minutes. At accuweather you will need to go to accumulated precipitation radar maps and select the state of Pennsylvania from a dropdown menu. Usually 3/4 of an inch or more will bring Great Trough up for a day; more rain, more days up.


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.


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Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

2004-01-09 00:00:00-05
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.

Matt Muir