Laurel Hill Creek, Pennsylvania, US
|Usual Difficulty||II(III) (varies with level)|
|Laurel Hill Creek at Ursina, PA|
|usgs-03080000||494 - 2999 cfs||III+||01h11m||3150 cfs (too high)|
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: 550 - 700 cfs; Low Intermediate: 700 - 1000 cfs; Intermediate: 1000 - 1,500 cfs; High Intermediate: 1,500 - 2,000 cfs; Advanced: above 2,000 cfs.