Youghiogheny, Pennsylvania, US
|Usual Difficulty||II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||11 fpm|
|Max Gradient||20 fpm|
|Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA|
|usgs-03081500||1.20 - 11.00 ft||II||00h16m||4.08 ft (running)|
|Youghiogheny River below Confluence, PA|
|usgs-03081000||1.40 - 10.00 ft||II||00h46m||4.1 ft (running)|
For more information, see Keystone Canoeing by Gertler.
This is a run for beginning whitewater paddlers, maybe a bit challenging for open canoes (the old kind, not the ones you see Paddleman running in all the videos). It begins with Ramcat Rapids, which is a good training ground, and ends with Elephant Rock, which can mess up a novice. The law requires that you take out before the bridge in Ohiopyle, so you don't risk inadvertantly going over Ohiopyle Falls.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
Park at the Ramcat Parking area. This is a common putin, avoiding a mile or two of flatwater.
The first rapid in the river. Usually run down the middle or right side at lower water to avoid rocks. At high water, a wicked hydraulic forms on the river left at the bottom. Not a great place to be.
Mainly a ledge covering the left 2/3 of the river. Easily run right over the middle, if you keep the boat straight. Something has shifted in that hole, as at 2 feet it was surfing a raft and a canoe at the same time, so try to have some speed. The sneak is on the river left near the bank.
You will see several large boulders on the river left. That is Drake Run, a good class-5 creek. The rapid is run right down the middle, avoiding the 2 pinning rocks on the left. Had a canoe taco around one of them once and it took about an hour to get it off. At high water, some good 6+' surfing waves.
About half a mile below an island, The Doldrums begin. You have about 3 miles of flatwater before a couple small rapids.
After a lot of flatwater, and a couple shallow rapids, comes The Haystacks. There are several medium-sized boulders on the right. The sneak line is along the left side, with the main line right through the waves in the middle.
A very large rock right in the middle of the river. Normally run on the right side, through the smaller waves. An interesting route at around 2 feet is to run about 10 feet left of the elephant. At higher levels, you can even right through a little slot about a foot to the left of the Elephant. Good surfing to the left of the rock. The first takeout is about 1/4 mile downstream on the left. Look for the white sign.
The "standard" takeout is just after Elephant Rock, on River Left. Many paddlers keep going to run Z Rapid and take out at the Rte. 381 bridge.
Just upstream of the Rte. 381 bridge is Z Rapid, which curves around on river right as the name indicates. After Z Rapid, don't miss the takeout under the bridge, as Ohiopyle Falls is not far downstream.
Takeout under the Route 381 bridge on river right. Don't miss this takeout, as Ohiopyle Falls is just downstream.