Catoctin Creek - SR 663 to Potomac Confluence

Catoctin Creek, Virginia, US


SR 663 to Potomac Confluence

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 4.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm
Max Gradient 10 fpm

View from bridge at putin

View from bridge at putin
Photo by RC Forney taken 06/15/02

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01638350 4.00 - 12.00 ft II 01h08m 2.49 ft (too low)

River Description

This is a pleasant mild whitewater run located near the DC metropolitan area. The spice is provided by a couple of fun rock gardens and ledges which even include a surfable wave or two. There are probably 15 rapids of one sort or another interspersed by moving flatwater sections that never exceed a quarter mile or so.

The water is full of sediment at runnable levels but reasonably clean, and the scenery is quite good. There are rock formations, the usual herons, ducks and turtles, and stupendous river birches, some of which have fallen and create challenging strainers. I never had to get out of my boat, but some maneuvering was required. Some were river wide "limbo strainers" that could be trouble at higher levels.

The putin is at 663 bridge in Taylorstown, VA. There is somewhat of parking lot here and easy access to the river across the road from the gauge. The takeout is just down stream of the Potomac confluence at a public boat landing located at the foot of the Rte. 15 bridge.

I was surprised by this river. I thought it would be smaller and less interesting. I found it comparable to other more well known nearby reaches, such as the Rappahannock above Rte. 211.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2002-07-25 02:38:30

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.
August 2 2017 (469 days ago)
Alex DarrDetails
Ran at ~8.5 feet from Featherbed ln Bridge to the Potomac. Was an excellent, beautiful run, with
numerous class II wave trains above Taylorstown bridge. Taylorstown bridge was collecting wood, but
the far right channel remained open. Below Taylorstown bridge, one riverwide strainer required a
portage, and the last 2-3 mi consisted of class II-III wave trains with a few sloping ledges and
holes that could be run without difficulty. No major hazards or dangerous rapids at this level,
although down trees could easily block the creek at more dangerous sections of fast-moving water.
There are many blind turns where a poorly placed strainer could be problematic.
April 29 2008 (3852 days ago)
x (1)
Bob Franz and Andy Collins ran the section from Taylorstown Bridge to the Potomac River take out at
Point of Rocks at 2.68 water depth, in 1 hour. The water was deep enough to have fun in the rapids
in this section of the creek. Several trees down in the creek but plenty of room to get around the
April 19 2007 (4227 days ago)
Will JacobsDetails
I grew up on this creek and my family still lives in Lovettsville in the Log Cabin outside of town.
We rally race the gravel roads in this area at speed and for a out of towner they can be confusing
if you don't know them.....esiest way to get to the put in is from Lovettsville rd in Lovettsville.
From north side of town you should bear right after the community center on the left onto Milltown
road...go about five miles and take a left on Featherbed lane....this is the road that takes you to
theold one lane bridge thats the put in.....Overall nice calm stream but potentiall for alot of
strainers.....close to my house so I always went....very secluded with only agriculture to surround
January 1 2005 (4700 days ago)
James DoughertyDetails
I did this river after looking it up on AW. It was beutiful and there was a lot of wild life,mostly
hawks and blue herons. I did it three days after reading it was at medium H2O, and was somewhat low
but worth it. unlike many rivers, a road didn't parallel along side it. Try to have a good
detailed, local road map because it is hard to find the little local roads but the locals helped
us.Locals told me this river goes up after a good rain.

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