Youghiogheny - 4. Middle

Youghiogheny, Pennsylvania, US


4. Middle (Confluence to Ohiopyle)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 9.1663 Miles
Avg. Gradient 11 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Middle Yough

Middle Yough
Photo of Roger Dennerll and T. Austin Markoff on one of the many flatwater stretches by Terry Markoff (KHCC)

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA
usgs-03081500 1.20 - 10.00 ft II 01h08m 4.2 ft (running)
Youghiogheny River below Confluence, PA
usgs-03081000 1.40 - 8.60 ft II 00h39m 4.19 ft (running)

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)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-08-11 15:21:43


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Ramcat PutinN/APutin
0.2RamcatIIHazard Playspot
1.2Drakes RapidIIHazard Playspot
3.3The DoldrumsN/A
6.4The HaystacksIIHazard Playspot
8.5Elephant RockIIHazard Playspot Photo
8.7Elephant TakeoutN/ATakeout
9.0Z RapidII
9.2Bridge TakeoutN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Ramcat Putin (Class N/A)

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

Ramcat (Class II, Mile 0.2)

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.

Flipper (Class II, Mile 0.9)

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 1.2)

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 3.3)

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 6.4)

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 8.5)

Elephant Rock Rapid

Elephant Rock Rapid
Photo of Todd Mitchell by N/A taken June 26, 2000 @ 2.3ft

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 8.7)

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 9.0)

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 9.2)

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

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 13 2017 (493 days ago)
Rick SDetails
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.
October 13 2014 (1559 days ago)
Davidm (156945)
If anyone wants a literal "rip-and-go" guide the PA park service has made one at: