Fifteen Mile Creek - US Route 40 to Potomac River


Fifteen Mile Creek, Maryland, US

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US Route 40 to Potomac River

Usual Difficulty I-II(III) (for normal flows)
Length 9.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 30 fpm

shweet creek


shweet creek
Photo of Josh Crewser by John Duke taken 03/17/03 @ 2.9@ Bellegrove

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
SIDELING HILL CREEK NEAR BELLEGROVE, MD
usgs-01610155 2.50 - 7.50 ft I-II(III) 02h00m 1.56 ft (too low)


River Description

Gertler, Ed; Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

Ed Evangelidi testifies:
Like Sideling Hill Creek, only with more interesting rapids (Class 2) and more strainers. Use lots of caution here in hunting season.

The following info fromJohn Duke
I like to put-in just below I-68 on Fifteenmile creek road(gravel).The creek braids quite a bit in the first 2 miles,Requiring 3 tree carries (easy to spot)Then she drops into a nice gorge,the rapids pick up and the trees disappear.The rapids for the next 3 miles are class 2+ (3 in high water).After this you will come to a quarter mile long pool called Long Pond.Exit Long pond to the left and continue 1 bouncy mile to a nice lunch stop on river left..You will see picnic tables from the creek..These are greenridge state Forest campsites along Mountain road..After lunch the cliffs disappear but some nice rapids remain,there are two nice 2foot+ ledges (both have small horizon lines)Also there are 2 more tree carries(both easy to spot again)Soon you will come to the low-water bridge.You can take-out here or carry the bridge and continue 1 quarter mile to the public access along the Potomac River

Mark Brenneman - 9/13/2018.  Twelve paddlers gathered on Thursday for a somewhat rare trip down Fifteen Mile Creek. The water level was perfect (see below) and the weather was surprisingly balmy, with temperatures in the 70s. We put in below old route 40 on Fifteen Mile Creek Road, finding space for 2 cars, a pickup and a Sprinter van. The going was slow at first, with four portages in the first half mile. There were murmurs from the crew about abandoning ship and going back to the put in. I wondered if the harsh penalties for mutiny at sea applied to a Thursday Paddlers trip, but the mood soon brightened as we entered the gorge.

The remainder of the trip was beautiful and lots of fun. Strainers appeared at virtually every turn and twist of the creek, but were mostly avoidable with precise paddling, ducking, boofing, gorilla walking, limboing and using side channels.  We had a one mishap on a strainer, but nothing serious.  Rapids were plentiful throughout the trip, all class II. The riverside cliffs were spectacular and were covered with sedum.

After four hours on the water we reached the final portage around the low water bridge and then quickly made our way down to the confluence with the Potomac where we had parked. A few of us headed home, while the rest had dinner and drinks at Bill’s Place, right next to the takeout in Little Orleans. Paddlers were Mark, Cindy, Barb, Carrie, Jean, Gary, Lisa, Tony, Wayne, John and Randy in K1s. John Sunda paddled the lone open canoe. 

Water levels as noted above were pretty much ideal. All the levels were well in excess of the minimums, but at no point did it feel like too much. At the time of the put in (12:45) / takeout (4:45) Sideling Hill was 1450 rising to 2330 cfs; Town Creek was 1030 rising to 1690 cfs; Tonoloway further east was steady at 3910 cfs. It looks like we caught a mid-day bubble from an early morning thunderstorm, but the rise was not perceptible as we paddled.


Camping areas
Greenridge State Forest contains 100 widely spaced campsites that make a great basecamp for running many rivers(Potomac,Sideling Hill, Town,Flintstone)3 of these sites are on fifteenmile!
E-mail Me with any questions


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-09-16 16:14:45

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Rapid Descriptions

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