Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) - Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Creek Park)

Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib), Pennsylvania, US


Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Creek Park)

Usual Difficulty II(III) (varies with level)
Length 5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Snap Falls after good rain

Snap Falls after good rain
Photo by Bill Bishard @ Unknown

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Muddy Creek at Castle Fin, PA
usgs-01577500 125 - 1600 cfs II(III) 00h56m 435 cfs (running)
Codorus Creek near York, PA
usgs-01575500 3.00 - 5.00 ft II(III) 00h26m 4.25 ft (running)

River Description

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-).

Ledge #1 (one - two foot drop) - Small surfing wave forms mid-stream at top of rapid. River left eddy is large, beginners should catch a breathe here. Smaller eddy on river left allows for easier access to small surf wave.
Ledge #2 (two-three foot drop) - Small side surfing ledge hole forms midstream to river left eddy.  River left eddy is large. Smaller eddy on river right. Easiest to enter side surf hole from river right, bracing on right side(downstream). The main flow channel downstream of the Ledge #2 allows for stern squirts from the river left eddy. At higher levels(2 feet above normal) a creek wide surf wave(4 feet tall) forms.
The next small ledge is a small diagonal ledge (I) - This diagonal ledge will allow beginners to develop their surfing skills.
"Snap Falls" (III) - creek wide ledge(Right side, 4 foot drop: Left side, two step 4 foot drop)
At lower levels run "Snap Falls" on river right.  Beginners approximately 10 feet left of large sloping rock. Be prepared to brace on left side, and don't be tempted to put a hand brace on the rock face to the right.  At moderate levels runs can be made river right (must consider at moderate and higher levels a nasty hole forms against rock face), river left is a straight forward staircase or center if middle rock is covered.  At higher levels (flood stage), run river left.  Play moves at lower and moderate levels in hole at bottom of river right drop of "Snap Falls". Both stern squirts and front enders and variations into rock splats can be performed.  A campsite exist on river right, that overlooks "Snap Falls".  The second smaller drop of "Snap Falls" is best run by hugging the river right rock bank. 

"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).

Below the falls, there is a gorge which offers two (2) places to launch from. The highest point to launch would be from the highest point of the large middle rock of the gorge. This is where you would typically would take a look into the gorge. It drops about 20 feet at about a 70 degree angle. It will take some plastic off your boat.
The second launch point is probably 10 feet up. And is 100 feet downstream of the first launch point on river right. This one is easier and allows you to boof the surface of the water.
The next rapid (II-) takes a sharp right turn and is approximately 1/2 of a mile downstream of the gorge. This rapid you enter right of center, as you drop over the first small ledge which turns into the main flow. Catch the river left eddy above the large undercut rock the blocks the flow on the left side of the creek. At medium levels, you will find small surfing waves in the middle of the creek. The remainder of the rapid can be run starting from the river left eddy, peeling out into the main current and working your way to the middle of the creek. Below the large undercut rock, catch the large river left eddy. This eddy has a powerful upstream circulation to it and will keep you busy if you are trying to rest. From this left eddy you can execute stern squirts and there is also a neat attainment move that allows you to move slightly above the large undercut rock, where a small side surfing hole exists.
The next rapid is approximately 1/2 mile downstream and is called "Screaming Left" (II+) for the need to make an increasingly strong left turn in the rapid.  This rapid, at low levels, can be entered between the river right bank and the middle of the creek. Follow the river right bank through the rapid. If you can catch a river right bank eddy, you can turn upstream and ferry from river right to river left.  As you continue down this rapid, which slowly bends to the left be prepared for the large slanting rock at the bottom. At lower levels it is best to avoid the rock by paddling hard to river left. Catching the river left eddy next to the rock provides easy access to a small surfing wave. At higher levels it is easy to splat the rock provided it has a pillow on it.
The next rapid, called "Mumbling Right" (II) generally turns right against the left bank.  At the bottom, it has a cool splat rock and is a nice play area, above and below the splat rock. Above the splat rock in the river left eddy, you can do stern squirts into the main flow onto the splat rock. Below the splat rock is a small surfing wave.
The next rapid, called "Gumdrop" AKA "Power Line" (II+), is a  two drop ledge rapid, dropping in total a few feet.  Eddies can be made between the first ledge and the second ledge on both the right and left, the right being the easier of the two. Peel out into the main flow and eddy after the second ledge drop on either the right or left. A small hole wave and a trailing diagonal surf wave form off the second ledge.
The next item of note in this beautiful refreshing gorge is a waterfall cascading down a channel cut into a rock face. The water fall is probably 25 feet high and if you paddle under it you'll receive a cool shower.
One ledge drop rapid remains (III)
The first ledge drop is approximately one-two feet high and provides a nice river wide side surfing hole. The surfing wave can be entered from a river left eddy. From the river left eddy ferry across the creek to the river right eddy to the next and best surfing hole on the creek. This creek wide surfing hole is steeper than the top surf wave and 360 degree spins can be done at medium water levels. At low water levels, straight on surfing with sharp cut backs can be carved. Below this the creek drops another ten feet in approximately four small steps. Each step has its own small surfing wave.
The remaining paddle is flat water on the Muddy (0.75 miles) out to the Susquehanna River, where you paddle downstream on the Susquehanna (approximately one additional mile) to the Cold Cabin Park access (for a total flatwater paddle of 1.75 miles).   A landmark for determining where the take out parking lot is the last two (2) homes on the river right bank. If unsure just paddle close to the shore, it only takes longer paddling the perimeter of the shoreline.


General Notes:
If you plan on boating the river in the winter, be prepared to do a palm portage at the end of the last rapid on Muddy Creek. The back water from the Susquehanna usually freezes in January or February, depending on how cold the winter is and how much the Creek and River levels have fluctuated.
Remember not to leave cars at the Paper Mill Bridge Put In because they will be towed.  

For more information, see Keystone Canoeing by Gertler, E.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-07-01 10:43:29


Snap Falls

Detail Trip Report  Snap Falls  Muddy Creek, PA(175.30KB .jpeg)

Muddy Creek Falls

Detail Trip Report  Muddy Creek Falls  Muddy Creek, PA(154.98KB .jpeg)

Muddy at Flood

Detail Trip Report  Muddy at Flood  Muddy Creek, PA(151.14KB .jpeg)

Snap Falls after good rain

Detail Trip Report  Snap Falls after good rain  Muddy Creek, PA(37.24KB .jpeg)

Snap Falls after good rain

Detail Trip Report  Snap Falls after good rain  Muddy Creek, PA(36.98KB .jpeg)

Jeff Nelson Running The Gorge

Detail Trip Report  Jeff Nelson Running The Gorge  Muddy Creek, Delta PA, PA(63.23KB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report    muddy creek, pa(1.22MB .jpeg)

snap falls

Detail Trip Report  snap falls  muddy creek, pa(1.28MB .jpeg)

Kevin running Muddy Gorge

Detail Trip Report  Kevin running Muddy Gorge  Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib), PA(584.66KB .jpeg)

The Gorge Right Line

Detail Trip Report  The Gorge Right Line  Muddy Creek, PA(381.43KB .jpeg)

Snap Falls river left

Detail Trip Report  Snap Falls river left  @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(2.13MB .jpeg)

The Gorge

Detail Trip Report  The Gorge   @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(2.70MB .jpeg)

the gorge

Detail Trip Report  the gorge   @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(5.91MB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report  gorge  @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(3.80MB .jpeg)

snap falls

Detail Trip Report  snap falls  @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(2.20MB .jpeg)

7 years old running drops

Detail Trip Report  7 years old running drops  @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr, PA(1.23MB .png)

Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

Gauge flows are estimates based on a nearby Susquehanna tributary. This section runs a good part of the year.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Muddy Creek at Castle Fin, PA
usgs-01577500 125 - 1600 cfs II(III) 00h56m 435 cfs (running)
We don't yet know of a good max level for this gauge on this run. If you run it, please report the level in the Comments, and we'll assemble good guideline
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
125 - 150 cfs barely runnable-med runnable II(III)
150 - 500 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable II(III)
500 -1250 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable III
1250 -1600 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable III-IV This is just a guess at upper runnable levels, If you run it high, please report the level in the Comments
1600 -20000 cfs barely High-extremely High IV-V
Codorus Creek near York, PA
usgs-01575500 3.00 - 5.00 ft II(III) 00h26m 4.25 ft (running)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
3.00 -5.00 ft barely runnable-high runnable II(III)

Report - Reports of Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Creek Park) and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
muddy creek [pa] snap falls low Phil MacDonald
Muddy Creek [PA] Snap Falls after good rain Unknown Walt Shank
Muddy Creek [PA] Muddy at Flood Too High Mark Kennell
Muddy Creek [PA] Muddy Creek Falls n/a Mark Kennell
1y219d16h13m /Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib)-Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold [PA] 7 years old running drops 0 cfs Chuck Slattery
7y276d07h53m /Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib)-Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold [PA] snap falls n/a jason
8y317d10h55m @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr [PA] gorge a good level John Pasmore
8y318d07h04m @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr [PA] The Gorge n/a John Pasmore
8y318d07h11m @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr [PA] Snap Falls river left n/a John Pasmore
8y324d11h25m @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr [PA] the gorge a good level John Pasmore
9y62d17h22m @Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Cr [PA] Muddy Creek, Delta, Pa. n/a 0
9y248d01h14m Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib)Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Creek Park) [PA] Below Snap Falls 2.61 0
9y281d01h25m Muddy Creek [PA] The Gorge Right Line low-medium Frank Landis
> 10 years Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) [PA] Kevin running Muddy Gorge 2.66 Jeffrey Shipley
> 10 years Muddy Creek, Delta PA [PA] Jeff Nelson Running The Gorge Good Walt Shank



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 20 2018 (336 days ago)
Chuck SlatteryDetails
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.
November 8 2017 (440 days ago)
Oliverlippy (159597)
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.
November 6 2011 (2634 days ago)
Cagg1271 (153409)
has anyone ever put on at 425?
September 20 2011 (2681 days ago)
onewetdog (152744)
I'm hoping to run this weekend any stainers anyone can worn me about?
July 16 2011 (2747 days ago)
onewetdog (152744)
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
October 26 2010 (3010 days ago)
rain2020 (152552)
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
June 5 2010 (3153 days ago)
John KemperDetails
There's a brand new river wide strainer on the Muddy after Screaming Left rapid and the next small
rapid with the boof rock but before the last two rapids on the river. Portage is difficult in the
area. We were able to open a small channel through the branches on river right but getting into the
channel and negotiating through the branches is difficult.
October 5 2009 (3396 days ago)
x (1)
Call Starkk Moon - they should be able to tell you.
September 22 2009 (3409 days ago)
x (1)
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 ?
April 21 2009 (3563 days ago)
x (1)
There's a large tree that has fallen into Double Drop (first set of rapids) from river right and
gone across the entire creek. You can navigate under it by running far river right then under the
trunk of the tree after the second small drop, cutting over to the left to exit. Watch out for the
broken branches when you head under the trunk of the tree, they may snag loose gear.
February 15 2009 (3628 days ago)
x (1)
As of May 17,2008:There is a river wide strainer right below the little gorge that's before the
waterfalls on river left above the last rapid. This is now gone, but there are still trees down but
i do not see them causing any big problem until high water pushes them down
September 9 2008 (3787 days ago)
x (1)
be weary of parking at papermill rd. they are still towing if you do not park in the few legal
July 9 2008 (3849 days ago)
bobswain (145783)
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,,
May 17 2008 (3902 days ago)
bobswain (145783)
As the previous person mentioned, as of my last run, May 4th, the log has been disloged from its
original location, but was under water right below the first drop river left, but is not as much of
a hazard.Bob Swain, Wilmington Trail Club.
April 29 2006 (4651 days ago)
Mark KennellDetails
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.

Take Out:

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
August 30 2004 (5258 days ago)
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....
July 31 2002 (6019 days ago)
Ed EvangelidiDetails
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.
July 19 2001 (6396 days ago)
John BergDetails
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

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Snap FallsIIIPlayspot
2.0Muddy Falls5.0Hazard Waterfall

Rapid Descriptions

Snap Falls (Class III, Mile 1.0)
Great Class III 4 foot drop that reminds me a lot of the "classic" drop at Bull Falls on the Shenandoah, including a flipping wave to mess up the survivors. Just like Bull Falls, scouting and picture taking can easily be done from the right.

Muddy Falls (Class 5.0, Mile 2.0)
15 foot drop with lots of inconveniently located rocks that break the drop into sections. Run by expert paddlers, it's considered a Class IV if you hit the lines, but has Class V consequences.

General Nonmember Message

 Paper Mill Road to Susquehanna River (Cold Creek Park), Muddy Creek (Susquehanna trib) Pennsylvania, US (mobile)