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Difficulty II(III)
Length 10 Miles
Gauge Laurel Hill Creek at Ursina, PA
Flow Range 484 - 2999 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 26 minutes ago 281 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/15/2018 12:21 pm

River Description


Lat/Longitude data are approximate, from TopoZone.

Ed Evangelidi shared:

This is a scenery creek. Not only does it have flora and fauna but it is loaded with covered bridges. The rapids have pretenses towards Cl 3 in spots but are all fairly straight-forward. The creek quickly becomes wide enough to shrug off river-wide strainers except for a long stretch in the lower part where the creek braids and braids again. Pick the correct channels and have fun. Pick the wrong channel and you might have to carry around a tree. 

Tony Allred Jr --

A common put-in is on Whipkey Dam Road, below the Whipkey Dam.  Parking is rather limited here, but there is a gravel road on the west side of the bridge which has a wide spot on the river side at the top of the first rise where you can leave a few cars.  The bridge itself and the approaches on Whipkey Dam Road are wide enough to do unloading.  

The river starts out easy with some small ledges to practice eddy turns and peel outs.  The middle part of the run picks up some gradient and there are three (or is it four?) Class 3 rapids at medium and high levels, all on river left turns.  The gradient then flattens out and enters a serpentine section where it braids and braids again (miserable in low water, but very pretty at medium or high levels).  At the bottom of the serpentine section, the braids come together and go under a foot bridge.  This can be a short take-out at a Pennsylvania fish and boat commission access point on river left at the foot bridge.  Or you can continue another couple of miles down to another access at the Humbert Covered Bridge on river left just below the bridge.  

The river is scrapey below 2.2 (roughly 550-570 cfs) through the serpentine section.  Above 2,000 cfs in the middle section, stable eddies to assemble a group after a swim are hard to find.  

Easy with scrapey small channels in serpentine section:  500 - 700 cfs; Low Intermediate:  700 - 1000 cfs; Intermediate:  1000 - 1,500 cfs; High Intermediate:  1,500 - 2,000 cfs; Advanced: above 2,000 cfs.  

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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John Nicholson
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1 year ago

Ran the lower section today from Kings covered bridge to the walking bridge at the states game lands. Level was a little over 3ft and just under 2000 Cfs. No major strainers thought we took the main lines at the braids. At this level there were big wave trains and a few solid class 3s mostly at left hand turns.

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Tony Allred Jr
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1 year ago

USGS manages the gauge, but they already know. If you go to the actual USGS page (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/current/?type=flow), you'll see that they list "eqp" malfunction for the gauge. It appears to still be reporting, however, but maybe it got stuck at 1,200 cfs when you were there. It looks like it's sticking as the level goes down -- it seems to be stuck at 3950 cfs right now (July 23 - 25, 2017). Anyway, when this happens, there is a very short drive to the Casselman. There appears to be a pattern of "Ursina" getting stuck when the creek has been high and is dropping. It's possible that the current location of the "Ursina" gauge is one that picks up a lot of trash in the gauge, which, I'm guessing, is why USGS has created an auxillary gauge. My guess is that they'll run them together to make sure they track similarly and then USGS will move the gauge to the new location.

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Bruce Fleckenstein
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7 years ago

Ran from Triple Creek Rd near Trent to State Gamelands Near Ursina on 3/24/12. Level was 3.4 1910 cfs. This fills the top section in nice. There is changing wood on this run. All was passable but stay alert. There are some choices around islands also. Most of the run is swift water without features. This limits the amount of bank eddies. There are some rapids with medium waves and a hole here and there. Two spots are of concern: the first is a horizon line of about 5 ft. You may want to scout here. I took the flume right of center, carved right, hit shallow rock and swam. Another in the group took a beating here. There is an easy portage on river right. Get out early to avoid getting swept into this. The rapid just below is split by a mid stream boulder. There was wood on the left but looked passable. we took the right. When rounding the boulder, there was a intense seam of current. This can be avoided by getting back to the middle. There is some squirelly water below also. Things slowed down around Scottyland and progressively got slower to Whipkey Dam. We portaged on the left. The lower run was easy for a couple of miles and increased in difficulty. Waves got big and there was an ocassional monster hole. Lines are pretty obvious. Some of the heavier rapids are left turns. staying on the inside will avoid getting into the big stuff. After passing Cranberry Run, work left hard to avoid a good sized hole. There is a heavy set below this point also. Eventually, things start to settle when leaving the gorge. Choose braids wisely. Most choices seem to be to the right. Wood is changing here also. We hand to squeeze around a tree in one spot.

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Bruce Fleckenstein
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7 years ago

Ran from Whipkey to State Gamelands on 3/4/12. Gauge was 2.1 540 cfs. This is about as low as I would go. With the exception of a couple spots, good water until the braids. Then, enough if you make good decisions. Very pretty! Upper needs more water. Ran it pretty high once. Had to stay alert due to lack of eddies. There are a couple good rapids. First is a 4ft broken out ledge that can be run right of center. The next is not far below and requires some maneuvering.

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Janice Matthew
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1 year ago

Thanks! USGS personnel quickly responded and are working to resolve gauge issue. I received an email from them Monday morning about this.

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News

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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.
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Tony Allred Jr

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Matt Muir

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Randall McFarland