Wills Creek - Fairhope to Hyndman

Wills Creek, Pennsylvania, US


Fairhope to Hyndman

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Wills Creek below Hyndman, PA
usgs-01601000 2.45 - 7.50 ft III-IV(V) 00h22m 2.24 ft (too low)

River Description

This river is a fun class IV with a road alongside allowing most of the river to be car scouted. There is one section which merits a close look, Yo-Yo Rapid, while the rapid itself has changed radically from the description found in most guide books, there is a difficult slot move in the drop just below the house size rock that use to be the main problem in the rapid. The river left slot is against the railroad retaining wall and is severely undercut creating a major problem if things go wrong The center slot appears to be the best shot from above; there are shallow rocks in the landing and just below the slot making the move more difficult than either the right or left slots. The right slot consists of a boof move of a large flattish rock and is relatively clean, however at high levels it becomes a large hole and there is a potential pinning rock 10 feet below with all the current from the slot hitting it.


Overall this a great run with a creekish feel, there is one other drop that is below the last bridge befor the take out, its is a river wide ledge that can be run easily tight on the right side or through a tough set of slot moves even farther right.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-11-08 19:13:55


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 3 2018 (251 days ago)
baerly (154552)
Ran Wills on 3/4/2018. Level was 2.97'. This was my first run since the very significant change at
YOYO. At this level is was straight forward, just point the boat down stream and hit the center
chute. As mention by RNorman there is a submerged boulder in the chute. This boulder would most
likely be a problem with any less water and if you flip roll up quickly or tuck tightly. The rapid
may need a new name as YOYO just doesn't seem fitting now. Made it back to Wills 4/2/2018 Level was
2.98'. New log at the top right hand side of Railroad Cut Falls. Also a tree extending from the
right side to the left side of the creek just above the first bridge. We were able to scrape over
it on the far left.
April 10 2017 (609 days ago)
rnorman (153511)
Significant changes at YOYO: Ran Wills this past weekend and YoYo has changed dramatically, once
again. There is no longer a straight 3+ ft. drop in the main/center slot, rather there is now a 4-6
ft wide sluice just to the left of the large boulder that channels almost all the water, and ends
in a flushing hole that appears to have a large, submerged boulder in it (which at lower water
could possibly be a piton hazard). Perhaps most important, is that this change has dropped the
level of the upstream pool (the approach to YoYo) by about 2 ft.. The result is that the right-side
eddy above YoYo, from which everyone used to scout, is no longer accessible/existent. Moreover this
pool now has new features: fast current and at least 2 new holes (one which is just above the
entrance to the new, wide sluice drop). Approaching YoYo, especially at medium and high levels
should now be done with extreme caution, as there are no easy places to eddy out and scout (on
either side of the stream) within the last 150 feet above YoYo. Also, the large piece of metal
formerly lodged in the center slot is now gone, and probably resting at the bottom of the hole
below YoYo. Lastly, there is now a third major strainer on this run, one of which is around a blind
corner 1/4 to 1/2 mile upstream of YoYo and has resulted in several nasty swims by otherwise
skilled boaters. ....That said, Wills is still a beautiful, fun run. Just stay safe :)
January 18 2017 (691 days ago)
rnorman (153511)
Also, as of Jan. 16, there is a tree down across the main channel about 1/3 the way down from
Fairhope, about 2-3 main rapids upstream of YoYo. Resulted in at least one nasty swim. Suggest
portaging or approaching with extreme caution. Easily visible from upstream if you are eddy
hopping. Also, there is another major strainer just downstream of YoYo in the main left channel.
Difficult to see from above. Suggest scrapping down the far right channel. Thx, Ray
January 18 2017 (691 days ago)
rnorman (153511)
Note, the warning below about metal in center slot is in reference to Yo-Yo rapid! (Can't seem to
get back to the original comment to edit.) Thx. Ray
January 18 2017 (691 days ago)
rnorman (153511)
Ran Wills on Jan.16, 2017 at 2.65 ft. There is now a large10 inch wide piece of metal lodged on the
right side of the center slot (just next to the large boulder to the right of the slot). It seems
to be several feet long with over a foot sticking out above water at the 2.65' level, and it
doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. Boaters should excercise caution at all levels. This is
the main slot folks run at lower levels. At higher levels, you should still be able to boof the
main drop to the left of the slot, but I would not advise running the center slot until this piece
of metal has moved. (I'll try to upload a photo if I can figure out how, or if someone can advise.)
Boaters running after Jan. 16, please update this post with any changes you note. Thx! Ray Norman
October 30 2015 (1137 days ago)
Jordan FieldsDetails
Ran this yesterday from post office bridge down to the gooseberry swimming hole at 2.63 ft.... What
a fun creek run!!!...probably just class III at this level but very fun picking lines going thru
chutes!!!...had successful fun run and can't wait to do it Again!!!
November 4 2012 (2227 days ago)
John GuetterDetails
Lost a Blue Werner Sidekick paddle just above YoYo on 03 03 12. Name and contact info are on it;
pogies were attached; would love to be reunited with it if anyone spots it. We ran it at 750 cfs
and except for the lost paddle, had an awesome run. No change in the rebar situation, so heads up
through YoYo. This is a great creek! 04 22 12: Lost paddle is found and returned! Thanks to Vern,
who found it while fishing, and to his paddling son Josh, who got it back to Ohiopyle for me!
Thanks! John
September 13 2011 (2645 days ago)
Stephen ForianDetails
Jumped on this on 9/9 just before it flashed. We walked off just down stream after lots and lots of
water dropped in from all sides. Went above the put in only to be turned around by a flooded road
by a tiny creek that was blown out. Watched at lease 6 different trees ranging from 20 to 60 feet
long and 18 to 36 inches in diameter washing down stream. Be vigilant about new wood the next time
someone runs this. Looks like the tiny stream that dumped into Wills had not had high water in many
May 23 2011 (2758 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
The center line at Yo-Yo has changed for the better after all these spring floods. All the little
rocks that used to be just upstream making it hard to get to the left side of the shelf are gone,
and its now a straight-forward move to boof off the left side. Its possible the rebar is still in
the hole there, we didn't see anything at 7-800cfs, but it may be just underwater. The right line
still looks the same, though the rocks just downstream of the move definitely have some
undercut/sieve-like formations
February 10 2010 (3225 days ago)
The center line @ YO YO has a piece of rebar sticking up out of the water. Ran it @ 250cfs a few
weeks ago. Rebar sticking up just below the pour over in center. If you do run the middle line,
stay close to the big rock on the right side. At low flow like this you could see it about 4-5 inch
out of the water. Any higher of a flow and you wouldnt even know the rebar was there and could be a
real danger,especially if you go over the center drop and flip.
December 27 2008 (3635 days ago)
Ben DurrantDetails
There's some major wood on this run. Not too long after Yo-Yo there is a tree across the whole
creek. You know it's coming because there's a few houses on river left, then a retaining wall
further down. You can skirt the wood on the FAR right, but you're still going to hit some small
branches. About a mil further down there is another log sticking out from river right. You can
easily miss this by running a small bony slot on the left.
April 25 2008 (3881 days ago)
Wayne GmanDetails
We ran railroad falls at 500 cfs on the hard left side. The second to last ledge hole is the crux
of the rapid. Power through, keep the nose straight or you'll be back surfed right into a very
retentive hole. Its harder to clear with speed than it looks. Have a throw bag there as its an easy
rescue but horrible recycling. The last hole seems to be nothing when I've been there to actually
boat the railroad at sane levels. It would be interesting for people to post their highest CFS that
they cleaned this Railroad cut falls. Yo Yo is pretty easy to skirt right if you have any
riversense of where not to be and when to scout.
March 5 2007 (4298 days ago)
Nathan BlatchleyDetails
3/6/07 - Yesterday a couple of us ran the bridge to bridge section of Wills (Fairhope down to first
bridge). When we got to Yo-Yo we discovered that there had been a significant change to the drop A
10X 10 slab of concrete has fallen off the retaining wall on river left and settled in the river
left slot. It sits at a 45 degree angle and now forces all of the water under the undercut
retaining wall. There is no way to run the left slot and avoid the under cut or the half dozen
reinforcing rods hanging into the water. The right slot and center slot were still available and
have not changed. But given the nature of the left slot it is not a good idea to go left of the
large rock above the drop even as a set up for the center slot as this move would require a boat
length attainment above the left slot to make it back center. Nathan
January 31 2007 (4331 days ago)
Nathan BlatchleyDetails
The official gauge used to determine if its running or not has been switched from the CUmberland
WIlls gauge to the Hyndman Guage at the end of the run. Minimium was set at 2.45, However, I don't
have good data for determining the top end of the runnable, any help on that number would be
January 31 2007 (4331 days ago)
Nathan BlatchleyDetails
As the person who wrote the original description above, the Class V is Railroad Rapid. It is above
the listed put-in but part of the frequently combined Brush into Wills run.
January 7 2007 (4355 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
In reference to a previous comment below, the Class 5 on this section is not the huge slide
(Railroad Cut Falls?) above the normal put-in. The Class 5 refers to Yo-Yo Falls, especially if it
has railroad debris in it!!! This has been true since at least the late 1980s (for proof, see
Appalachian Whitewater, Volume 2, page 28---a description that, I think, was not written by Nathan
Blatchley). The upper drop is not included in this section, even though it may well be Class 5 at
some level(s). In my experience, this whole section is Class 5 when the water is high enough (when
the big slide looked too insane for anyone to run). Or, if there is hidden debris, when it's low
enough, too!
January 30 2006 (4697 days ago)
Stephen ForianDetails
from the monacacy board reported by Steve Ettinger...
The drainage area of the Hyndman gauge is 60% that of the Cumberland gauge, which would suggest
that the AWA minimum of 3.7=580 cfs at Cumberland would translate, on average, to 2.43=350 cfs at
Hyndman. We ran Wills in 2004 at 2.55=410 cfs at Hyndman (with Cumberland at 3.82), and were a
little above minimum, so I think 2.43=350 cfs would be about zero level.
January 26 2006 (4700 days ago)
Andy BlumDetails
There is a gauge at Hyndman which gives more accurate CFS readings since its right at the end of
the run. It can be accessed at the PA gauge webpage,
April 7 2003 (5726 days ago)
Kevin WilliamsDetails
The (V) on this run is Railroad Cut Falls. The falls are about 400 m above the normal put-in (at
the bridge) up the railroad tracks from where they cross the road. The river bends through an
S-turn and then plunges over four distinct ledges for a total drop of 30

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