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Difficulty III
Length 2 Miles
Gauge Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, PA
Flow Range 3.80 - 4.20 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 3.46 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/20/2002 6:19 am

River Description

The "Wave" is a 4 to 5 ft high wave that is 30 feet across. A pillow hole forms in the middle that allows for 360 spins and the river right edge of the wave is good for blunts.There is a huge eddy on the river right side of the wave behind the railroad bridge concrete truss. Washing off the wave to far down stream requires alot of work to get back to the eddy. The trick is to enjoy your surf and then to slide back into the eddy, without getting washed off.

You can easily spend anywhere from 2 -6 hours at the Wave.
Put In and Take out are the same place

Follow the same directions as to the Codorus Creek Takeout. See Codorus Creek. Instead of turning right when you cross over the Codorus Creek at the takeout, turn left onto River Farm Road. Follow this gravel road for about 1/2 mile, until the road starts to curve to the right and gets away from the Codorus Creek. There is limited parking on the left side of River Farm Road.

Put In on the Codorus Creek, you have to paddle approximately 1/2 mile on the Codorus to reach the Susquehanna River. Paddle and Ferry straight across the river, you'll see a Railroad Bridge downstream of you. You must be about 3/4 of the way across the width of the river before you cross under the Railroad bridge. As you are looking at the railroad bridge, you will notice old stone trusses and new concrete trusses, you want to go between the old stone truss and the new concrete truss, on the river left side of the new concrete truss.. 50 yards before you pass under the railroad bridge is a micro eddy and a nice cartwheel ledge/hole. When you pass under the bridge catch the huge river irght eddy, behind the large concrete truss. The wave is now towards river left. Please be aware that the current is swift below the wave. A swim here will end oup with the boater and rescuer a 1/4 to 1 mile below the wave, and on the wrong side of the river. The Susquehaanna river is a very wide river. And below tthe wave there is not much for eddies for a weary swimmer to catch. I never recommend anyone paddling out here alone. It is only Class III, but if you swim, you are in for along swim.

To get back to the Put In/Take Out, you can set a shuttle downstream of the railroad bridge on river right or left. But this is not the standard way off taking off the river. We typically, paddle out of the eddy at the wave from behind the truss towards the river left side of the concrete truss. There is a small island in front of the next truss over. You have to get out of your boat in front of this truss and rock hop upstream to the last available piece of broken concrete. This concrete fragment is large enough for at least 3 or 4 boats to launch from. Upstream ferry at a 45 degree angle towards river right. Keep your nose targeted on the outlet of the Codorus Creek. It will take you at least 10 minutes to ferry across the river. Once you are along the river right shoreline, you have the following options. You can try to attain your way up along the river right shoreline and than paddle upstream on the Codrus. I've done it and is a pain in the ass, especially since you arms are already spent after all the paddling and playing you have already done. We typically get out on the river right shoreline right above the railroad bridge in a little cove. You will find a hiking trailing straight ahead. The hike out is approximately 1 mile. There are no good landmarks to find the beginning of the trail, so your best bet is to go with someone that knows the way.Ultimately, you need to see the Codorus Creek on your right. If you have not seen the Codorus Creek after about 0.5 miles, than your are lost. Following this trail will take you right back to your car. You will cross under the railroad truss that crosses the Codorus about 1/2 way on the trail, so you can look for that landmark also.

Rapid Descriptions


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Steve Becker
6 years ago

This can also be a run - starting on the eastern side at the town of Bainbridge. Called the Haldeman Riffles, there are 5 class 2 ledges, and some nice surfing at one well before the bridge. The Wave can easily be avoided by taking any of the other river chutes making a nice class 2 run for beginners, but just about anyone should be able to go straight through it, as long as you do not have an open deck boat. The Wave is located in the bridge chute left of the largest abutment on the river left (seventh tunnel from the river left edge). The island on its left is a nice spot for a break. Take out on river left at - River Front Park. The last mile is flat water. The river flow really slows after the bridge all the way to Chickies Rock (another 4 miles downstream/lake).

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Chris Preperato
14 years ago

At levels above 4.1 or so, you have to start from the eddy on river left of the wave to catch it...which means you have to basically walk up the island beside that eddy and ferry out into the wave, and try to slip back into the eddy.

Anything below 4.0 is easy to catch though

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Mark Cooper
14 years ago

The wave is very hard to catch in a short, spud boat @ 4.1. It's difficult to get across the eddy line and over the green on river right and into the pile without getting flushed. The word is that at 3.9 it's a little easier to catch in a short boat. Bob's S8 did well @ 4.1 so bring your fast boat.

Gage Descriptions

Perfect level is 4.0'.

In the winter, the gauge reading is not always accurate due to ice on the river upstream of the wave. This portion of the river at the wave, stays ice free almost every winter.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2014-07-04 n/a Fatality Other Read More



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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.

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193354 01/20/02 n/a n/a