On March 24, 2011, The Bureau of State Parks announced a pilot extension of the successful three-week program run in 2010, so that boaters will be allowed to run the Falls without being part of a scheduled event.A quick overview of the rules:1) From May 21 through Sept. 11, 2011, paddlers will be allowed to run the Falls between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
2) The water level must be 1.8' or lower.
3) A minimum of three boaters per party is required. (The second and third boaters need not run the Falls.)
4) When a permit is required, paddlers must have a permit. All paddlers must register.
5) Putin on river right (Ferncliff).
6) Takeout at the Loop takeout or Bruner Run. (i.e., no taking out at the Lower Yough putin and hiking back up multiple times for a huckfest.)
Please read the full set of guidelines by clicking here.Remember: this is a pilot program. PLEASE abide by the guidelines and DON'T mess this up for everyone.
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.
July 25, 2015 - the Upper Yough Race, sponsored by Wilderness Voyageurs
August 15-16, 2015 - Riversport Slalom, main race on Sunday August 16th
August 29, 2015 - the World Championships of Upstreaming, unsponsored by Wilderness Voyageurs
Please see the Paddlers' Press Release, published July 19, 2015, for full details.
AW Ohiopyle Access Committee
Barry Adams 412-242-4562
Race Results by year: 2014 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 2000 1999
(There was no race in 2003, due to high water on the official race weekend and on the backup weekend; there was also no race in 2013, because of construction of the visitors' center.)
This fun falls opens up one weekend every year, for the AW Ohiopyle Over-The-Falls Festival (Race and Freestyle), at fallsrace.com. Other than that, it's been illegal to run...until now. Thanks to the AW Ohiopyle Falls Committee, and especially its tireless and relentless chair, Barry Adams, AW is has achieved expanded legal access to Ohiopyle Falls, beginning August 22 (the day after the Festival).
The Falls itself is a 15-20-footer, not too tough if you stay in the center and don't get sideways. At "normal" levels, the penalty for screwing up is a serious working in the hydraulic at the base; but it does seem to let people out eventually. The river-right eddy is known as the "Kosterizer," in honor of someone who got worked there in '99. It's probably the worst place to be.
The approach rapids aren't to be overlooked. They got ledges and stuff. The first ledge has a hydraulic which can make top-level boaters swim if they get caught; the second ledge has a piton rock, which has a very nasty tendency to break glass boats.
Excellent coverage of the early Ohiopyle Falls Festivals is available at IplayOutside.com:First Annual (November 13, 1999)Second Annual (September 30-October 1, 2000)Third Annual (September 29-30, 2001)
And now for something completely different: Click here for Karl Gesslein's view of Ohiopyle Falls, drawn up after the groundbreaking 1999 race. (Clicking will open up a new browser window.) If you like that, check out some more drawings here.
Other related or nearby streams:Middle Yough (Class II)Casselman (Class I-III)Lower Yough (Class III)Meadow Run (Class V)Upper Yough (Class IV-V)Top Yough (Class IV-V)
Lat/Longitude coords verified by GPS.
can anybody tell me why it is illegal paddle ohiopyle falls
The maximum level for running Ohiopyle Falls is 1.8'. The Corps of Engineers does what it can to keep the river at a sane level for Race Day. The above gage is the virtual Ohiopyle Gage, based on some old data butt probably quite reliable. It's based on the Confluence gage (minimum: 1.8'; max: 2.1'). You can get the official Ohiopyle level from the USACE gage.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Directions from Pittsburgh
Directions from Washington, DC
Annelies Layton at the Falls
Hugh, Ohiopyle Falls
Garrett going Backwards
Garrett Boofing the Falls
Look Ma' No Hands...Dan LeDonne's Run 2010 Access Granted
Clay Wright at Ohiopyle Falls
Snyder at Ohiopyle Falls
Ohiopyle Falls. Aug. 5. 06
Ohiopyle Falls at 10ft!!
Ohiopyle Falls by Karl Gesslein
Topo Duo Falls
Open Boat Carnage at Ohiopyle
2001 Ohiopyle Falls Race
Eddy at Ohiopyle Falls
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.
On August 23, 2008 AW will be running Ohiopyle Falls during this one day event and festival.
The PA Bureau of State Parks announces 2011 access guidelines to Ohiopyle Falls.
This year’s Over the Falls Festival will be on Saturday Aug 20, 2011. The event needs plenty of assistance and requires everyone 18 and over who wants to run Ohiopyle Falls to give the event at least one hour of volunteer safety time. Running this waterfall should be for experienced boaters only and has all the potential hazards involved with any other Class IV rapid.
Invasive aquatic alga known as didymo, or “rock snot,” has been found in the Youghiogheny River (PA). The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding anglers and boaters that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other rivers.
For two decades, American Whitewater has worked hard representing boater interest for access to Ohiopyle Falls. Over The Falls Festival celebrates our 2010 access agreement with Ohiopyle State Park for private boater access to Ohiopyle Falls. This years Ohiopyle Falls Festival will be on Saturday Aug 18, 2012.
This year’s Festival will be on Saturday Aug 16, 2014. You can register at the event. We need plenty of help, and will require everyone 18 and over who wants to run the Falls to give the event at least one hour of safety! Registration fees are only $15 and volunteers who give us at least two hours of their time will receive a cool T-shirt.
This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
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