Bear Creek - U.S. 219 to Youghiogheny River at Friendsville

Bear Creek, Maryland, US


U.S. 219 to Youghiogheny River at Friendsville

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 84 fpm
Max Gradient 100 fpm

John sliding down Bear Creek

John sliding down Bear Creek
Photo of John G by Art Barket @ 240 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03076600 240 - 2000 cfs IV 00h31m 76.6 cfs (too low)

River Description

Gertler, Ed; Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails
This one is often run when the Upper Yough is too high. It's basically a roadside drainage ditch, with the resultant imperfect water quality and scenery, but it can be fast and continuous--a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. When it's roaring along at 1000 cfs, it's Class V. And you'd best be lookin' for wood.

Directions: follow the road out of Friendsville. One good putin is at a roadside pulloff just upstream of a small bridge; but there are others. The takeout is at the confluence with the Yough, at the park in Friendsville.

Ed Evangelidi testifies:
First half of the run has easier whitewater (Class III) but often has more wood in the stream. With more water, the south branch is also runnable.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-12-04 16:58:28


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.
January 5 2017 (741 days ago)
gnarwhale (158759)
ran it at 351 cfs. a few trees down. major strainer after hot tub rapid.
May 13 2013 (2074 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Paddled Bear on 5/11/13...level of about 500-525cfs. Putting in at the church, there were no
required portages, but, we did have to bounce over one river-wide log about 2-300yds down from the
put-in. A few inches less water and you'd have to portage it. There were also several branches all
over early on in the run, though, it was largely clear of wood after the South Branch comes in.
Sounds like putting in above the church requires multiple portages, and I imagine any future high
water events will shift some wood around, so, keep your eyes open
January 10 2012 (2563 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Paddled Bear a lot this spring, often putting in just above where an old metal bridge crosses the
creek. It makes for about a 4 mile run including most of the best rapids, though there is an even
lower put-in that skips some of the early class 2-3 stuff.
The first mile is generally class 2-3 boogie water, then the river picks up through a few slides
and boulder gardens, fun Class III+ rapids. It ends that stretch with a bend to the right and a
creek coming in on the left (one of the Forks of Bear Creek). The next rapid is a really fun
boulder garden with multiple lines, and probably the best rapid on the river. Another rapid leads
you to a left bend in the river, which leads to a horizon line that is tough to see past. It is
slide that can be run just about anywhere, as the rock that used to be in the landing at the bottom
middle has washed away. A few more boulder garden rapids (and a few bridges) lead you to the end of
the run. Just after the last bridge as you approach the park in town is a great 4-5ft boof rock, a
nice way to end your trip. It's a great stretch to use as a warm-up for a day that includes Meadow,
Fikes, or other similar creeks in the area. I found 350cfs and up to be great levels, it starts
getting pretty scrapy below 300cfs.
The stream was clear of trees as of the Fall of 2011, though it is definitely in a wooded area, so
always keep on the lookout. There aren't many blind rapids though, so you should be able to spot
them in advance.
August 4 2008 (3817 days ago)
Mark ZakDetails
Was on bear on 8/2/2008 at well over 1,500 cfs. Trees were very much an issue in the upper half.
Only one tree was especially a problem mid-rapid and led to a member of our group broaching,
swimming and walking off. The others were carefully avoidable. Use caution. Another crew took off
of Bear within the first few miles because of wood.
March 17 2007 (4323 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
This is a lovely stream that is near a road that is usually barely noticeable. When I did it a few
years ago, we put in below an obvious concrete bridge that was too low at that level to navigate.
There was one tree portage and one or two logs to paddle around. The first scoutable drop was a
tight plunge between overhanging branches down a diagonal ramp to the left. The wave at the bottom
was intimidating, but not malevolent. The next big drop is a broken ledge adjacent to the elevated
patio of a house. Scouting is advised. Below here, the channel is worked by bulldozers and less
attractive, but still fun. After an initial cautious run, it's no problem to bomb down in less than
an hour, generally when everything else is too high. The streambed is narrow and fast! Great fun!
June 12 2003 (5697 days ago)
Dan RabunDetails
I'd say a reasonable minimum for most people would be 225 cfs or so. My first run was at that
level, and the upper portion was extremely scrapey. Personally, I think 250-400 is a nice level,
300-375 being ideal. I'd have to recommend only boating the bottom 3 miles, and taking out at the
park in Friendsville. The Upper section is very pretty, but lots of wood.
May 9 2003 (5730 days ago)
Mark AndersonDetails
I'd have to take issue with the Gertler description - perhaps he was on another stream. I found the
water clear when I was there - wintertime though - and the banks are lined with mountain laurel and
hemlock trees. It is true the last bit has camphouses along it, but I found this run to be
surprisingly pretty given its proximity to the road.