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Difficulty IV
Length 0.25 Miles
Gauge Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA
Flow Range 1.20 - 1.80 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 1.24 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 12/04/2018 11:01 pm

River Description

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.

Other events that may be of interest

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.

Thank you!

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.)

2001 Ohiopyle Falls Race Goes Off Without a Hitch

This fun falls opens up one weekend every year, for the AW Ohiopyle Over-The-Falls Festival (Race and Freestyle), at 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
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.

Rapid Descriptions


default user thumbnail
tucker deloach
12 years ago

can anybody tell me why it is illegal paddle ohiopyle falls

Gage Descriptions

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2019-07-13 High Near Miss/Rescue One Boat Trip Read More
2017-06-26 High n/a High Water Read More
2015-03-18 n/a Fatality High Water Read More



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Ohiopyle (PA) Over the Falls Festival Aug 16, 2014

Mark Singleton

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. 

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Ohiopyle Over the Falls Festival (PA) Aug 18, 2012

Mark Singleton

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.

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Discovery of Invasive Aquatic Alga Didymo in Youghiogheny (PA).

Mark Singleton

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.

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Ohiopyle State Park (PA) Announces Falls Access For 2011

Mark Singleton

The PA Bureau of State Parks announces 2011 access guidelines to Ohiopyle Falls.

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Tenth Annual AW Over the Falls Ohiopyle Falls Festival

Mark Singleton

On August 23, 2008 AW will be running Ohiopyle Falls during this one day event and festival.

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AW Ohiopyle Falls Festival September 15, 2007

Mark Singleton

The Festival this year was postponed due to high water in August and rescheduled for September 15th. Activities for the one-day event include the Over the Falls Race and Freestyle Event plus practice runs and the “The Upstream World Championships held on the Lower Yough sponsored by Wilderness Voyageurs."
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Ohiopyle Falls Festival Moved Sept 15

Mark Singleton

The Festival this year will be a one-day event on September 15 with a number of activities scheduled. This is another small step toward our ultimate goal of opening up the Falls to responsible public use. Your participation in the above events is a way of showing Park Management that falls running is not a stunt, but rather a challenging component of whitewater sports.
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2006 Clif Bar "Flowing Rivers" Grant Recipients

Ben Van Camp

Clif Bar and American Whitewater are happy to announce that the Fairbanks Paddlers, the Kansas Whitewater Association and the Three Rivers Paddling Clubs as the recipients of grants for the 2006 Flowing Rivers Campaign. The Flowing Rivers Campaign is a joint initiative between American Whitewater and Clif Bar. The campaign puts money in the hands of people who are protecting the rivers that are running through their backyards. See the great projects that were funded this year.
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Pennsylvania Dam Removal Conference to be Held January 31st.

Kevin Colburn

There will be a one day conference on January 31st in eastern Pennsylvania that will address dam removal and rehabilitation in the state and region. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd.
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AW and Ohiopyle Falls Access in News (PA)

Jason Robertson

American Whitewater's on-going access efforts on the Lower Yough's Ohiopyle Falls were in the news this week. 
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PA: Ohiopyle Falls Access

Jason Robertson

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Ohiopyle Falls Access Proposal

Jason Robertson

On April 4th, 2001 American Whitewater formally requested a meeting with Superintendent Doug Hoehn at Ohiopyle State Park to discuss a permanent arrangement for allowing safe, legal access to the waterfalls year round. Here is an abridged copy of the proposal that we forwarded to Superintendent Hoehn as well as Pennsylvania's Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John C. Oliver. Secretary Oliver ran the Falls in September 2000 as part of the second annual Ohiopyle Falls Race.
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2011 Ohiopyle (PA) Over the Falls Festival August 20

Mark Singleton

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.


Matt Muir


Ryan Groth


Tony Allred Jr


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1205101 07/20/15 Matt Muir Updated with info for 2015 Over The Falls Festival
1192981 08/03/08 Matt Muir n/a
1195155 05/30/09 Matt Muir Added abstract
1198059 08/13/10 Matt Muir ACCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1198064 08/14/10 Matt Muir More info about the Fest and access.
1200437 07/22/11 Ryan Groth Updates USGS gauge
1198095 08/23/10 Matt Muir Stressed info for the 3-wk pilot access program.
1200476 08/07/11 Matt Muir 2011 Falls Race & Freestyle 8/20/11!
1210571 12/04/18 Tony Allred Jr 12-1-2018 - update of description started