Potomac, S. Branch - 7. US 220 Bridge north of Moorefield to Harmison's Landing near Sector

Potomac, S. Branch, West Virginia, US


7. US 220 Bridge north of Moorefield to Harmison's Landing near Sector (Trough)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 11 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm
Max Gradient 10 fpm

Train in the Canyon

Train in the Canyon
Photo by John Duke taken 10-01 @ 1.8 springfield

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01608500 1.75 - 10.00 ft I-II 01h06m 10.82 ft (too high)

River Description

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

The following information from John Duke
Access points:
Put-in at the public access parking lot at the Route 220 bridge
Take-out at the public river access near the Trough General store

River Description:
Although not a true whitewater run this is a beautiful stretch of river! I highly recommend this run when the upper canyons (Hopeville, Smokehole, and Moorefield)are too low.

The first five miles are rolling farmland until a railroad bridge bridge is passed. Then 1000 foot walls converge to form "THE TROUGH" for the next 6 miles.

There are many primative campsites on river right inside the trough, but get there early the best get taken FAST.

Accommodations: Many Motels in Moorefield and Romney

Fishing: Great fishing for bass,catfish and carp..

E-mail me! with any questions

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-02-27 19:56:27


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 30 2011 (2792 days ago)
Colin AbernethyDetails
Ran the trough for the first time on 05/29/2011 at 4.25' on the Springfield, WV gauge and you
couldn't have asked for better water conditions. The whitewater between the Rte. 220 bridge in Old
Fields and the railroad bridge was a ton of fun despite being a straight-forward affair. As to the
(3 year old) comment below about tubing, you could easily tube from Old Fields down to the
un-official put-in/take-out at the RR bridge at lower water levels, there were quite a few people
putting in on tubes pool rafts at Old Fields as we embarked. The ledge just before the RR bridge
looks like it would make a nice park-n-play spot for those with sportier kayaks than our 10' rec
boats at a 4' or above river level. Absolutely beautiful scenery once you're in the trough itself.
Saw countless butterflies, tons of birds, and even two bald eagles.
September 18 2008 (3776 days ago)
x (1)
I was just wondering if it was possible to tube this section of the river, for having just a float
trip?---Answer: I would think that that should be possible, when the water is not too high, but it
might be a very long day.--RF
June 6 2008 (3880 days ago)
x (1)
Robert Farmer---This is a very pretty section of wild river. Okay, so "the Trough" doesn't sound so
spectacular, but it's a sarcastic term of endearment, I guess, like the way that some rock climbers
refer to Yosemite valley as "the Ditch." I paddled it May 31-June 1, 2008 at a level of 2.5 at
Moorefield. I highly recommend putting on from underneath the Route 220 bridge if you're putting in
during a torrential rain storm, as I did. Otherwise, the first few miles have little scenic value,
but perhaps some wildlife. It's popular with fishermen. There is an alternative put-in downstream
on river right, which is more-or-less right at the top of the Trough. However, I put on at the 220
bridge, and my total time on the water was only 3 1/4 hours, so it's a short trip if you don't do
the whole thing. I saw about 3 eagles, or one eagle 3 times, or some combination thereof. There
were about 16 vultures soaring, a cardinal, a bat who flew directly over me and scared the insects
away, a tourist train that watched me run some waves, and a very nice campsite. The water was a
beautiful clear green until the rain washed some dirty brown farmers' fields into the river, and
then the river stunk of manure and fertilizer. I think the erosion made it harder for the eagles to
catch fish, due to the muddy water. They were calling repeatedly from the tree directly above my
camp, and I sensed that they didn't appreciate the disgusting brown water and were expressing their
displeasure. There were also several nice rock formations. There are no tributaries for filling
one's water bottle, so bring plenty to drink. Apparently, the torrential rain for the first hour or
so was a blessing, because otherwise the river might have been crowded on the weekend. The Trough
General Store rents canoes and runs shuttles, so I guess it can get pretty crazy at times. People
often drift it in rowboats, apparently. Despite the fact that this was the easiest river trip that
I've done, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I recommend it highly.