Hornbeck's Creek - Emery's Rd. to Rte. 209

Hornbeck's Creek, Pennsylvania, US


Emery's Rd. to Rte. 209

Usual Difficulty IV-V+ (for normal flows)
Length 1.8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 242 fpm
Max Gradient 370 fpm

Ben Dunham on Bobby's Falls

Ben Dunham on Bobby's Falls

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Bush Kill at Shoemakers, PA
usgs-01439500 2.60 - 6.00 ft IV-V+ 01h01m 2.33 ft (too low)

River Description

Check out this video of Hornbecks Creek on You Tube!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUHG-ig6GpI

According to Stephen Wright, this steep bit, which drops into the Delaware Water Gap, has "15 large, cascading drops in a beautiful canyon of about a mile." On March 27, 2002, it was the scene of a nasty accident, as Bobby "ZoneDogg" Miller slammed his head into the rock shelf at the bottom of the first drop. The impact knocked him unconscious; his fellow paddlers were skilled and on the scene right away, and as of this writing (3/28/02), his prognosis is good. Click here for Wright's description of the accident in Boater Talk. 


Wright says they had a great time, but I think it goes without saying that you'd better be very skilled in steep creekin if you're contemplating this one.

Steve has kindly contributed the following description:

Shortly after the put-in is Bobby's Falls, a cascading falls that drops about 25 feet in roughly 20 feet of river. Then is Left-Turn, which is a steep slide into a pillow created by a wall that the water slams into, which then diverts the paddler left into the main runnout channel. Next is Let the Good Times Roll. It's a spectacular drop of 20 feel of a straight-forward steep slide into a deep pool.
Next is Twist and Shout, which is a series of close slides that twist and turn into the pool before Goliath Falls. Goliath Falls drops a total of more than 50', and has yet to be run to my knowledge. There were a few possible lines down, but all involved falling 15+ feet onto rocks, so we walked it.
The next major Rapid is Slot Machine, which I was the only one to run (it falls a total of 15-20 feet). As the slide begins, the water slopes left into a tiny channel which eventually drops into a boat-width slot which stays terribly narrow against a vertical rock-wall for 10 feet.
Next are a few "smaller" 10-15' clean cascades which lead to Sliding-Board Falls. This drops VERY steeply 20+ feet into a deep pool. A rock on the river right diverts some water, and trees in the landing pool were hazards.
Next are several other large slides (last chance to get out) before Entrance (a 20' steep cascade) which runs right into David's Falls. David's Falls is a multi-pitched steep slide dropping a total of 40-50 feet into a deep pool! It's GORGEOUS!!!
The river mellows out after this for the mile run-out, which is choked with strainers. We elected to simply carry back up to the put-in.
This creek is very steep and in a spectacular canyon. Expect to do a LOT of scouting.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-04-19 20:02:26


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Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
November 4 2008 (3724 days ago)
Wayne GmanDetails
Wood Update: the bad log above twist and shout that wedge caught a few of us is now gone. There is
new wood upstream but very visibly pinned on a longterm log in the flow. We rode up and over the
Left side of it. We left it in spot as it will drift into a much worse location from where it
currently is.
June 10 2008 (3871 days ago)
Wayne GmanDetails
Wayne Gman: I scouted the creek and the 30' bad log above twist and shout is now beached sort of
high in the River Right setup eddy for twist and shout. In its current location it provides no
hazard except High water could move it into play down stream. A little z-drag action could help
this out a bunch..
June 3 2008 (3878 days ago)
Wayne GmanDetails
There is a strainer in the upper gorge just before twist and shout aka elbow crusher. Its on the
creek left side and very hard to see on a river Left scout. Boaters are regularly getting pinned
under this large log each time I'm there. They usually get minimal help to get out or mostly to
manage gear in the swim out. Scout it on river right to easily see the log. Make a bigger move to
the right staying higher to miss the big log. My last run in February saw there was now another
less troublesome log stacked in there too. Last seen you could ride out the right side around the
one big log and over the new one in the landing pool. Its likely to pick up more wood in this pile.
August 3 2006 (4548 days ago)
Eli LandisDetails
just because its been run doesnt mean its runnable. Go left on Goliath and you wont be standing
straight for a couple weeks
May 17 2006 (4627 days ago)
Jay SeilerDetails
Hornbecks ran today with the Bushkill gauge at 2.3. The best way to check this creek is by the rain
gauge. If Hornbecks is primed it will only take about a half inch in Edgemere to get it going. If
the area is dry over an inch is what youll want to see before heading up there. Today was a good
low level. Goliath was run by Eli Landis-I'll let him tell you about it. Slot machine got heavy
looks, but no givers. Good lines on Davids aka "Devils falls" according to an old local.
He also called Goliath "5 fingers". I managed to find a shelf at the bottom of Davids and
pitoned hard! Creased my boat pretty bad-not to mention a hard hit at the bottom of a 25 ftr. I
might suggest a further right line and separate a little from the back of the drop at the bottom.
Try to keep the bow up too. I am going to swim in when the water drops to locate the piton shelf,
there is definitely one in there! Have fun and Be safe!