This section has great play all over it. It primarily consists of ledges coming at you from all directions, though there are a few boulders thrown in as well.
When to paddle: This river is typically runnable on natural flow after significant rainfall and in the winter, spring, and fall. In 2012, the Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative helped to install a new valve and new whitewater park on the Stonycreek River. From April until October, the Quemahoning Reservoir has recreational whitewater releases every other Saturday and Sunday, assuming the lake level is above the minimum. Late summer and fall releases are highly dependent on lake level. See the Benscreek Canoe Club page on the Quemahing Releases for updated info on release schedule. To continue supporting these releases, please consider donating to the SQI/Whitewater Fund.Release timing: Scheduled releases will be on Saturdays and Sundays. Releases start around 7 AM and the river should rise at Faustwell Bridge put-in by 10 AM. Water should start dropping at Faustwell by 2 PM (each day). Water should start to rise around 1 PM at Carpenter’s Park. Note: each release is a 1 hr ramp up, 4 hr full release, and a 1 hr ramp down.
Hazards: there are two man-made structures. The first is Border Dam, which has spikes that can put a serious hurt on your boat. Below 7' Ferndale, it's wise to walk this one on River Left. The second structure is Pipeline, just downstream of the dam. It's runnable via a tongue on river left; the hole in the center is punchable at most levels, as well, but hit it in the wrong spot and you can get stuck in a very nasty hydraulic.
Most of the good play occurs upstream of Border Dam, though there are play waves below.
Events: The Stonycreek River is home to the Stonycreek Rendezvous, a whitewater festival that is held at Greenhouse Park in mid- to late- May of each year. Benscreek Canoe Club works with the Quemahoning Reservoir to ensure that there is enough water to paddle Stony Canyon on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the festival.
See the Benscreek Canoe Club Stonycreek Watershed Page.
Directions: This river has two popular put-ins: either at the ballfield in Hollsopple which adds about 1 mile of flatwater/warm-up prior to showers, or at the bridge on Rte. 601 in Foustwell. The takeout is at Carpenters Park, on river right. From Hollsopple, take State Rte. 601 to Foustwell. Make a left before the bridge that goes over the Stony onto SR 4039. Follow this road for about 2 miles and under Rt. 219 (4-lane road). Just past Rte. 219 make a right onto Kaufman Church Road (there's a church on the corner). Follow for about a mile and a half and turn right at the stop sign onto SR 4022 (Carpenters Park Road). Follow over Rte. 219 (4-lane road) and down to the Stony takeout (Carpenters Park).
Hollsopple Put-In: 40.210790, -78.922907Faustwell Bridge Put-In: 40.215315, -78.901279Carpenters Park Take-Out: 40.244293, -78.883687
For other streams in this watershed, check out:Conemaugh River (I-II)Clear Shade Creek (III)Quemahoning Creek (III)Shade Creek (III-IV)Stony Gorge (IV)Roaring Fork (IV)Dark Shade Creek (IV-V)Paint Creek (V)Little Conemaugh River - North (II-III)Little Conemaugh River - South (II-III)Little Conemaugh River (II-III(V))
The first of two popular put-ins: the ballfield in Hollsopple which adds about 1 mile of flatwater/warm-up prior to showers, then about 1/4 mile down to the PA 601 Foustwell Bridge
Alternate spot to park and put-in for Stonycreek. You can put in here to avoid Showers, or walk up stream about a quarter mile to put in right above Showers. This will avoid the approximate 1 mile of flatter warm-up that you get when putting in at the Hollsopple Ballfield.
A series of mild rock gardens that is run most easily on river-right.
Nice little boulder garden prior to the takeout that has eddies on the right and left of the channel. Most boaters try to hop down through this section, trying to catch as many of the eddies as possible.
Take-out on river right just below the bridge.
I just got back from the Stony Creek Rendezvous near Johnstown, PA. This is the first year that the new valve at Quemahoning Dam released into the river. It added 500 cfs to the river, roughly doubling the flow. What a great creek! Like the Tohockon, but bigger, like the Yough, but more continuous and playful. They'll be releasing every other weekend for the rest of the year. It's part of a multi-millon dollar project that paddlers had a big role in, cleaning up the water and creating a new whitewater park. Check it out! http://benscreekcanoeclub.com/quemahoning-releases/
There is a tree down about 1/3 of a mile below the railroad bridge at what I understand is the 2nd Ugly Sister. It is after the river turns 90 degrees to the right after the railroad bridge. It covers about 1/3 of the river on river right. It is easily seen and avoided.
Warning! There is a very large tree that is lodged in the large rock below pipeline. Get out and scout at all river levels. We ran it at 3.5 today and the tree is a factor but at higher levels it could make this rapid deadly. AS OF 4-25-09 (FESTIVAL WEKEND) THIS TREE HAD BEEN CLEARD OUT.!
Ran this on 4/29/06 at 3.5 Ferndale, about 2 ft on the putin bridge. This seemed the lowest reasonable level, perhaps even below, for my tastes. Many nice playspots still, but a lot of the drops were VERY bony and technical. I guess folks put up with the boat abuse to get to the playspots.
In contrast, I think 4 or 4.25 Ferndale is a lovely level. The run is nearly continuous, boat scoutable class 3 at that reading, with short recovery pools below most drops and lots of surf waves.
Ran this on March 28, 2004 at 4 feet on USGS and 2.5 on the bridge. The best/biggest rapid is the one just above the gauge bridge. Don't know its name but it was a fun one!! The play below the bridge was incredible. At 1100 cfs it was fun class three, with only the rapid above the bridge rating a 3+. At the 1100 cfs level there was nothing that was close to a class 4 on the river. We looked at the dam, there was no logical reason to run it or submit the boats to the abuse. We carried left.
Overall the run is very pool drop with good sized pools for rescuing beginners. The run is good for beginners with good rolls.
26 September 2003: Ran this at a 2.5" level in a tandem open boat with my daughter, Rozalyn, and some friends. Very good run with continuous Class III action. Forget about the dam-it's just not worth it with the threat of rebar to puncture boats and people! Pipeline was over rated at this level. Easy to run left of center. Otherwise, great rapids, fun holes and waves, good technical Class III river!
10 years ago
12 years ago
There's also a paddlers' gage painted on the Rte. 601 bridge in Foustwell. You can get a good approximation of this gage by subtracting 1.75 from the above USGS Ferndale gage. It starts to get continuous and nasty at the high end of the recommended runnable range.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Stonycreek River @2 - Stony Canyon
White Water Park Wave 2
White Water Park Wave 1
Scout rapid surf
Stoneycreek 1st Sister
stony fun 2
KHCC-Dan@Stony Creek, PA 3/23/03
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
2012 marks the first year of scheduled releases on Pennsylvania's Class III+ Stonycreek River. The releases, in concert with a new whitewater park, and significant water quality and ecological recovery efforts welcome paddlers to enjoy a great recreational opportunity on the extremely fun Stonycreek River this year and for years to come.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!