Youghiogheny, Pennsylvania, US
|Usual Difficulty||III (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||25 fpm|
|Max Gradient||45 fpm|
|Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA|
|usgs-03081500||1.20 - 9.00 ft||III-IV||01h12m||4.35 ft (running)|
|Likely most difficult at 4-5'. Above 5', things begin to wash out, though there are some BIG holes and waves. If you swim, you risk ???????????????????????????|
Note: except for Ohiopyle Falls weekend and some other times allowed by the park, it is illegal to run Ohiopyle Falls.
Breaking News! Expanded access to run Ohiopyle Falls has been granted!
This three-week period will run August 22, through September 12, 2010. Please see the Paddlers' Press Release and the Access Guidelines.
Note: It is important that everyone realize that running this waterfall should be for experienced
boaters only. Running this class IV waterfall has all the hazards involved with any other class
IV rapid. Our safety at the base of the Falls only involves helping swimmers if and when they
wash out from under the Falls. As with any whitewater activity, you are responsible for judging
your own capabilities and for your own safety. If you do not have the experience to run the Falls
please do not attempt to do so.
See FallsRace.com for info about the AW Ohiopyle Over-The-Falls Festival, August 21, 2010.
Alternate takeout: the Loop, about a mile and a half downstream of the putin. This allows the paddler to run the first few rapids through Railroad without having to run shuttle. The trail out is steep, but quite hikable. The Loop has the most gradient of the run.
Directions to Ohiopyle:
From the PA Turnpike (I-76):
Take Exit 9 (Donegal). Go left at the end of the off-ramp.
A couple of miles down the road, turn Right onto Rt. 381. Continue for several miles until you reach the T intersection.
Go left at the T intersection, staying on Rt. 381. Continue for several miles.
After crossing the railroad and the river, you're in Ohiopyle. Turn left up the hill and park.
From Washington, DC:
Take I-270 to I-70 West.
In Hancock, take I-68 West toward WV.
In Keysers Ridge (near the Savage River), take US 219 North, and after about a mile, take US 40 West.
After about 20 miles, in Farmington, bang a Right onto PA 381. After about 4 miles, you're in Ohiopyle, ready to change and shuttle!
(Shortcut: on Rte. 40, turn right on DinnerBell-Ohiopyle Road shortly after Glissan's Restaurant,
at the Priestly Ridge School sign. Dinner Bell Road will take you right into 381 North.)
A permit from Ohiopyle State Park is needed to run the Lower Yough on weekends from April 1 until October 15. Call 724-329-8591 or, toll-free, 888-727-2757. (The permit is not necessary if you put in after 3 PM or before 7:45 AM.) It costs $2.50; a season's pass is also available. In addition, those who take out at Bruner Run on weekends must buy a bus token for $4.00. The bus token will get you to the top of the hill, but not back to Ohiopyle. (In other words, you still have to run shuttle.) The bus token is a wristband, a different color for each day. If you want to buy bus tokens for future runs, be sure to ask for the wrist bands with stars on them.
Jump Rock is a fun way to get vertical! (Rapid ratings based on Ohiopyle gage reading of 1.8-2.2' [Confluence 2.1-2.6]).
Note: Dimple Rapid has a very dangerous undercut, which has killed at least two people, maybe as many as five; in the year 2000, three people died in this vicinity! Novices, including those renting inflatable duckies, should seriously consider sneaking or portaging! Read Charlie Walbridge's report on a low-water, park-sponsored scouting expedition to Dimple Rock!
Click here for Charlie
Walbridge's report on the latest on Dimple Rock.
Other related or nearby streams:
Middle Yough (Class II)
Casselman (Class I-III)
Ohiopyle Falls (Class IV, almost always illegal)
Meadow Run (Class V)
Upper Yough (Class IV-V)
Top Yough (Class IV-V)
Lat/Longitude coords at the putin verified by GPS.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.5||Camel and Walrus||II+|
|3.8||Bottle of Wine||II+|
The biggest drop on the Lower Yough, and not a good place to flip. There's a submerged rock that'll clock ya upside the head if you invert. The tailwaves have some play potential.
One of the more technical rapids in the Loop, this one involves a cut to the right of Charlie's Washing Machine, which may be the best cartwheelin' playhole on the river. An alternate line is to ride the "Frog's Back" slot between two boulders just to the right of the main line.
The Loop takeout is on the right. After Railroad come two miles of Doldrums, punctuated by Dimple Rock.
Below the Loop take-out, the rapids continue with a sweeping wash under the railroad (now bike trail) bridge and then a series of small ledge rapids and open slots. Towards the bottom, there is a small rock cave in the rocks on the right and a fossil on a rock at the left at the very bottom.
Dimple Rock is notorious because of its propensity for flipping rafts, and for its undercut. Thousands of rafting customers (and a fair number of kayakers) swim here every summer, and of 12 deaths on the Yough that AW has reported over the past 30 years, 3 were rafting customers who washed into the undercut.
The standard line is to follow the current at far river left, drifting toward Dimple Rock while pointed somewhat to the right, then driving into Pinball eddy (upstream and right of Dimple) as soon as you pass the guard rocks. It's a fairly easy move for experienced kayakers, and for raft crews that work well with each other and pay attention to thewir guides. There's a sneak to the right of "Vulture Rock" and "Pinball Rock" for those who want to take no chances. The easiest portage is the rock beach on river right.
Usually approached from the right. There is a rock in the center just above the main drop that can be passed either right or left. If the center rock is passed on the right, punch a small hole and move right to left - take the main drop (or boof the right side of the big rock on the left). If the center rock is passed on the left, the move is a fast left to right or even a ferry move to pass between the center rock and the left rock at the drop - take the drop and eddy right. The name "Bottle of Wine" comes from the early days of rafting when guides found a bottle of wine in the eddy below the boof rock.
As the name implies... The first hole is a pourover ledge, the worst of which can be avoided towards the center of the river. The second hole is playable, but trashy at lower levels. Around 3.5', the second hole is a smooth wave.
Perhaps the toughest rapid on the Lower Yough, this one has a couple of rocks with pinning potential. The normal line is to start in the center, and work strongly to eddy out behind the big rock on the left.
A fairly easy rapid with a playable wave train. There's a neat attainment move in a slot between the huge Schoolhouse Rock and a small rock just downstream of it.
This one is bad. Nasty. Dangerous.
This rapid is so scary, that it's too scary to look at. Therefore, it's traditional to run it backwards.
Watch out for the Gates of Hell at the beginning; they're just close enough to two-point broach older, longer boats. Right of the big rock in the center of the river are a bunch of waves. There are some cool ferry moves here, if you still have energy, and some of the waves are good play, especially at higher levels. Take out left, and hike yer boat up to the bus. You didn't forget your bus token, did you?
Takeout river left, just after Bruner Run rapid. Hike up the trail, where (during the Permit season) you can catch the bus up to the parking lot at the Old Mitchell Place.