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Difficulty II
Length 9.1663 Miles
Gauge Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA
Flow Range 1.20 - 9.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 32 minutes ago 1.25 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/11/2016 3:21 pm

River Description

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.

Other related or nearby streams:
Lower Yough (Class III)
Casselman (Class I-III)
Meadow Run (Class V)
Upper Yough (Class IV-V)
Top Yough (Class IV-V)

Rapid Descriptions

Ramcat Putin

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Park at the Ramcat Parking area. This is a common putin, avoiding a mile or two of flatwater.


Class - II Mile - 0.2357
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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.


Class - II Mile - 0.8552
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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.

Drakes Rapid

Class - II Mile - 1.2479
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.

The Doldrums

Class - N/A Mile - 3.33
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About half a mile below an island, The Doldrums begin. You have about 3 miles of flatwater before a couple small rapids.

The Haystacks

Class - II Mile - 6.4367
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.

Elephant Rock

Class - II Mile - 8.4932

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.

Elephant Takeout

Class - N/A Mile - 8.709
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.

Z Rapid

Class - II Mile - 8.9832
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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.

Bridge Takeout

Class - N/A Mile - 9.1663
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Takeout under the Route 381 bridge on river right. Don't miss this takeout, as Ohiopyle Falls is just downstream.


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Rick S
2 years ago

We ran this on Saturday August 5, 2017 @5.5ft on Confluence gauge in LiquidLogic Remix XP9 & XP10. River was moving fast and a few of the rapids had some HUGE, irregular waves which would be a challenge for a beginner. Some of the waves on Drakes, Z rapid, and Cable Car were easily 6'+ waves. I would give these rapids a Class II+ to III- rating easily at this level. We ran left of the island on Z Rapid. One huge, diagonal curling wave, nearly parallel to the end of the island, almost took us completely vertical. It was pretty intense. We took out on the left side of the bridge @Ohiopyle day use area because at this level there was a pretty big hydraulic under the bridge on river right. Many of the outfitters will tell you that you are not allowed to paddle Z Rapid which is located further down from the commercial take-out. Commercial take-out is located on river left about 200 yds. past Elephant Rock. However, the law states that you are NOT allowed to paddle past the bike trail bridge in Ohiopyle. There are signs posted clearly on the bridge.

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David Morgan
5 years ago

If anyone wants a literal "rip-and-go" guide the PA park service has made one at:

Gage Descriptions

Probably gets perty fast about 6 feet or so.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2007-07-07 Low Near Miss/Rescue Inadequate Equipment Read More



article main photo

Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

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.

Matt Muir


Kevin Colburn


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191480 06/18/01 n/a n/a
1201532 08/21/12 Matt Muir Added some rapids and lat/lon coords; changed takeout coords.
1195160 05/30/09 Matt Muir Added abstract; updated lynx.
1206759 08/11/16 Kevin Colburn 2-9-2018 - cleanup