This is a nice Class 3, I would say. When I did it, the water seemed crazy-high up top (i.e. flooding), while being scrapy at some gravel bars downstream. Otherwise pleasant and not esp. dangerous. There are some bad smells from local chicken farms, so don't drink the water.
The most appropriate gauge to use is the South Fork at Brandywine (rather than at Moorefield as shown), because it is 10 miles upstream of the reach rather than 25 miles downstream, so it shows the water that you will be getting in a few hours, rather than what has already passed about 12 hours ago. A reasonable minimum for Brandywine is 1.9 (175 cfs).
Four of us ran this in July 2006, at 600 cfs (1 foot on the Milam bridge). This was a delightful level -- not pushy but with plenty of water and alternative routes through the main rapids. There are three particularly interesting rapids, all in the final 2 miles. Tight Squeeze #1, which is class III and requires scouting to find the cleanest route through the boulders, and then precise maneuvering. TS #2, a class III+ a few rapids later, where we all scouted from the right bank. At this level, there were 3 reasonable routes -- (a) the direct shot on the left, but cross currents make the entry tricky; (b) a narrow right to left chute, and (c) taking the first drop on the far right and then ferrying across to the left for the second drop -- which I chose as being the safest alternative. Finally, the rapid right below TS #2 is class II on the right, but a much more fun class III on the left, where you run between the boulders -- sort of a TS #3.
This is a great trip for wildlife. We saw two bald eagles and four deer along the river, a flock of turkeys and a red fox on the shuttle.
John : Six of us ran this section 5/29/04. Noon gauge readings were Brandywine 2.26' with 286 cfs and slowly falling. Moorefield 3.37 and slow falling. Water was low but not at all scrapey. I would estimate that minimum paddling levelon these gauges would be about 3-4 inches lower. Tite-Squeeze #2 near the end of the run is much harder then any of the other rapids. We ran far left Chute after scouting with no problems except some sloppy paddling. Probably a class III+ OR IV-. TS
Paddled this section of the Potomac 9/22/2018 at about 2.2'. This is a hidden gem. Flat water to start out and the finish but the middle section is quite busy and merits a bit of respect and attention. We had to pick our lines carefully through some of the boulder gardens to avoid strainers and/or downed trees. Quite fun and It is definitely worthy of the II-IV rating.
Run on 4 May 2014 @ 200cfs (Brandywine). A couple more inches would have been good, but still a nice run.
There is a log entirely across at chest height in the first significant rapid, above the Corner Rd bridge. Near the end of the gorge a log blocks the frequently-run center slot. There is a lot of dead wood washed up on boulders without entirely blocking channels. New timber cutting has taken place on both left and right banks, with lot of slash left laying, in the vicinity of the Corner Rd bridge, so wood in the river is likely to be a problem for some time. Tom McCloud
Ran this section on 5/21/11 at around 475 cfs. Really nice level and somewhat surprisingly plenty of water even in the larger rapids. Put in off a county road (turn left if coming from Brandywine direction) about 2 miles downstream from bridge on river right (parked off sideof road in grassy area just upstream from island in river, house on hill across road). First couple miles were easy class 1-2 rock gardens and small ledges. River then calmed down some for a few miles but scenery was always good to excellent and good current. Saw some bald eagles and maybe an otter or two. Scenery and rapids then began to pick up as we entered the canyon section with good drop-pool rapids with lots of boulders and some nice ledges all mixed in. We scouted TS#1 mostly for wood but scouting also let us pick the best slot which was left of river center and then cut left around a large boulder just below. Class 3 for sure but no where near class 4, at least at this level. TS #2 was next with the entry around a right bend in the river. Had to quickly pick a slot between boulders and then down thru lots of action around a left hand turn. Great fun and another solid class 3. Lots of good class 2 rapids in the canyon with maybe 1 or 2 others approaching low class 3. A really great run. Took a little over 2 hours with little play but not pushing hard at all. We took out at low water bridge which was on the right side of the road (river left) about a mile past the bridge at Milam. Much better takeout. Just be courteous as the parking area is private land and ask somewhere if OK if you see anyone. Might be good idea not to try and run the low water bridge if enough water going over it.
I have run this at several levels,and think the class 4 rating is and should be a class 3 rating
10 years ago
by Michael W. Wellman
The Brandywine Gauge(AW #549) may also be used.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Lower Part of TS #1
Tight Squeeze on the South Fork
First few miles - Nice rock formation
Early stretch of S. Fork, S. Br. Potomac
Down in the canyon
Bear cub in tree
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