A surprisingly good whitewater run. It would really be first class if it wasn't for the 1.75 miles of flatwater on the end created by the Conowingo Dam. Muddy Creek is actually reasonably clear, and flows through a pretty laurel studded gorge that looks like it belongs in the Appalachians.
Put in at the Paper Mill bridge. Be aware that you can't leave a car at the Paper Mill Bridge put-in. (It will be towed. Stark-Moon outfitters runs a shuttle service so that all the cars can be at the take-out.)
The first notable rapid, is Double Ledges(II-).
"Muddy Creek Falls" (V) The river necks sharply. Get over to the right, because you have reached "Muddy Creek Falls", a nasty 15 ft or so drop which requires a 100 yard or so portage over rocks. A large roar of white water will warn you. Most paddlers should portage this Class V rapid, because there are undercuts and other pinning opportunities if you make a mistake! Eddy at least 100 yards upstream of the gorge on river right, there is a trail that will allow you to portage below the gorge. The trail is not the greatest and the rocks are slippery. Any boater attempting "Muddy Creek Falls" should first land or boat scout. The Falls almost always have something in it (i.e. wood).
For more information, see Keystone Canoeing by Gertler, E.
Here is a Description I wrote a few years(1997) ago. Should still be fairly accurate.
Muddy Creek, Lower Section (Lower Susquehanna Water Basin)
Location : Delta, Pennsylvania
Shuttle Information :
Put In :
Option #1- Put In at Paper Mill Bridge on Paper Mill Road(2024) one mile off Route 74. Parking is available on both sides of the bridge. Paper Mill Road is approximately one half mile north of where route 74 crosses Muddy Creek.
Option #2- Put In where Route 74 crosses Muddy Creek. Parking is available on the right side of the road in the southerly direction.
Option #1- Cold Cabin Takeout, Follow Paper Mill Road approximately 2 miles to a four way stop turn left onto Cold Cabin Road go approximately 2 miles(The road will change from pavement to gravel as you enter the woods), wave to Moonie as you drive by. Continue on Cold Cabin Road past numerous cabins. The takeout, Cold Cabin Park, is located directly in front of you as the road begins to turn to the left. The Susquehanna River is within view. The Park is owned by PECO. Parking is allowed strictly from dusk to dawn, untimely paddlers will have to deal with the wrath of Gatekeeper Ray. In all seasons except Winter, PECO provides a Jiffy John.
Option #2- Driving south on Route 74 from York turn left onto route 372 Holtwood Road,. Follow this road for approximately 2.5 miles to River Road turn right onto River Road. If you are on the Norman Wood Bridge you went to far. Follow River Road approximately 2 miles to the Pennsylvania Fish Commission Boat Landing. It
Muddy Creek is an excellent beginner or intermediate run. The river width varies from 20 feet to 50 feet making resue relatively easy. There are a few dangerous spots and one undercut (in the Gorge section - it is on the left of a narrow drop and can be choked with sticks and small logs). The water temperature can drop right after a heavy rain in the spring so be prepared.
Advanced/Expert boaters can run the creek at higher levels. Muddy Falls is runnable two ways: either boof over the center rock (this will put a dent in your boat though) or to the right of the rock by about 6 inches. DO NOT TRY TO RUN MUDDY FALLS IF YOU ARE NOT VERY COMFORTABLE RUNNING CLASS V WHITEWATER (ie the Upper Gauley). THE SCREW-UP FACTOR IS VERY LARGE AND MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HURT TRYING IT.
To find the put-in: Coming south from Holtwood on Route 74, after about 5 miles look for Paper Mill Road on the left. Paper Mill rd will be in a major left hand bend in Route 74. Continue down Paper Mill about 3 miles. First bridge over a stream you come to will be Muddy Creek. To get to the takeout, continue south on Paper Mill Road. About 2 miles down take a left on Cold Cabin road. Drive down cold cabin road, passing Starrk Moon kayaks. At the bottom of the road is Cold Cabin Park. This is the approved takeout, and its about 2 miles down from where Muddy dumps into the Susquehana. Think Lake Paddle....
The old guidebooks talk about putting in at Rte. 74 or just below that. The access below Rte. 74 is gone due to landowner problems. The 6-foot dam mentioned in the guidebooks is also gone. Rte. 74 is essentially gone as an option but you can quickly still unload boats here and possibly get harassed but not arrested by the police. Just do not leave a car here unattended or you will be in trouble. The section from Rte. 74 to Paper Mill Rd. is very nice and has Cl 1-2 rapids. Speaking of problems, the preferred takeout is downstream at Cold Cabin even though the upstream takeout on the Susquehanna has better parking. This is because the police often check for required boating licenses (from each person) at the upstream takeout and most clubs have at least one paddler along who may be fined for not having such license.
Ran it yesterday 2/18/2018 water was at 230cfs. Most of the run is clean there are some trees that may wash in as the spring water rises mostly after the bottleneck of the gorge. There is still a tree down at the end of the gorge with a smaller heavy limb laying on top of it now. Nothing really to worry about the run right now is clean.
Ran it today at 150cfs the tree that is normally down just before the gorge looks like it is lower than normal and is a potential strainer. Be certain you can fit under the log if you are going to run it. We chose a portage because it was to low to squeeze under.
Is anyone aware whether or not parking at Paper Mill Rd is ok? I know they used to tow everything there a few years ago, but heard it has changed. Any recent experience?no parking is available on papermill rd anywhere. landowner is very nice respectable farmer and is tired of the littering and vandalism of the area where everybody parks. along with trespassing. its posted for a reason
RSP: I have been down there at least 5 times this year so far. Camping over the weekend as well as fishing and boating. We have not been towed. I'm not saying anything has stopped, just saying it hasn't happened.
I was there last year 2010 and parked at the bridge. Did not get towed away. But I know in the I past (years ago 5-7 years) WE DID !!!!
Brad will run shuttle for you so you dont have to leave a car at the put in. Go to starrk Moon Kayaks and ask him on your way to the takeout
I am wanting to run this but can't seem to get there when it is running good. What is the minnimum you can run this at ?
Call Starkk Moon - they should be able to tell you.
The river wide strainer(before last two rapids) is gone only trees left in the water are lodged in the rocks directly below the gorge so watch out if you plan on running it, going upside down through there could be disastrous
As of 3 weeks ago, the river wide strainer mentioned recently has been removed. Members of the Wilmington Trail Club Paddlers risked life ( and strainer's limbs) to remove. Most of the tree was removed and placed as high as possible on rocks/bank river right. A section about 10-15 ft in length sank to the bottom. It was getting dark, so we had to leave it there. As of a week ago, it was no where to be seen. Bob Swain, Wilmington Trail Club, www.wilmingtontrailclub.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
be weary of parking at papermill rd. they are still towing if you do not park in the few legal spaces.
as far as i know parking is ok but please be respectful that it is private property try to park all cars at the take out to keep the number of cars down at put in also a lot of local kids party back there and leave a lot of trash so if you can pick up a couple pieces it is a beautiful river if we keep it that way we should not have problems
has anyone ever put on at 425?
I'm hoping to run this weekend any stainers anyone can worn me about?
8 years ago
by John Kemper
9 years ago
10 years ago
by Wilmington Trail Club (WT
Gauge flows are estimates based on a nearby Susquehanna tributary. This section runs a good part of the year.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
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7 years old running drops
Snap Falls river left
The Gorge Right Line
Kevin running Muddy Gorge
Jeff Nelson Running The Gorge
Snap Falls after good rain
Muddy at Flood
Muddy Creek Falls
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This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
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