Currently, my descriptions are limited to the section from Prettyboy Reservoir to Falls Road (1.5 miles). To date, I have not made the run from Falls Road to Phoenix Road (15 miles). I may consider breaking these two sections up, since they are most often run as individual sections.The runs were broken up by the regional streamkeeper in April 2004Prettyboy Reservoir to Falls Road BridgePut In
Very difficult to put in at the Prettyboy Dam, due to the 100 ft canyon walls and the fact that reservoir personnel frown upon it. I typically put in approximately 0.5 miles downstream of Prettyboy Reservoir. This putin is located approximately 0.5 miles south of the takeout bridge where Falls Road crosses the Gunpowder. When you cross the bridge coming from the North or river left side of the bridge, continue 0.5 miles up the hill. At the crest of the hill on the right side is a small parking area. There is a gated fire road entrance. Follow the fire road until it bears to the right; it then turns into a foot trail. From the gate to the water is approximately a 0.5 mile hike, all downhill. The hike is not bad and the trail is not very steep.Take Out
The takeout is at the Falls Road bridge, either upstream or downstrream of the bridge on river right. Do not park at the takeout itself. There is a parking lot approximately 1/8 mile up the hill on the right hand side as you walk South on Falls Road. You should have passed it on your way to the Put In.River Description
The first 0.25 mile is Class I-II warmups. The next mile is Class III. The last 0.25 mile is Class I-II.CAUTION:
You need to watch out for Strainers and Fishermen on this stretch. This creek is not very wide, and very popular with fishermen. If possible, try to stay behind them. So be respectful and friendly in order to to keep this run open.
Reference Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails, by Ed Gertler, for more details on this section.
Ed Evangelidi testifies:
No question that the short whitewater stretch is also the prettiest part of the run. However, on a hot summer day, it is hard to beat the rest of the run [running down to Big Falls, Blue Mont or Monkton Rds.]. It takes less water to negotiate the shallow spots here and it is in a pretty state park from Falls Road to Big Falls Road. Then comes a stretch through an active quarry with man made Class 2 rapids and finally a very long stretch of fairly easy water but with bikers whizzing by on a nearby bike path and floating tuber congestion in season. The confluence of the creek and Little Falls has a great swimming hole on river left where the cold Gunpowder water mixes with the warmer tributary.
As of January 2018 a log jam of large tree trunks have blocked the left and center of this rapid. Until this wood jam clears, there is a nice slot on the far right that avoids this wood. Stay Right
1 ft drop off a river wide ledge. There's a little "Z" runout on river left that might look tempting, but is too tight to be anything but trouble most of the time. Just take the plunge off the ledge.
First drop stay center, second at bottom hit a rock (at lower levels) then (at all levels) make a sharp right turn; at the third drop go center again with a little left angle. Eddy to left.
The name "Chainsaw" does not describe anything about the rapid, but refers to a legendary and unfortunate incident that is not to be discussed here. Because the right and center of the rapid collects wood, at the top of the rapid, stay to far left. Then when as far left as possible you're forced to turn right against the left shore. Make the turn and take a drop and miss vertical log that is slightly left of center. Because it happens fast just keep going past the log -- usually to the right because that's where you are. You can also go to the left of the log, if that's where you are. Just don't panic and hit the log. The line is mostly the same at higher water, except there's more power in the turn against the left shore, but there's more manuvering room in the turn and the higher it is, the more you'd need to be right of the log.
Three chutes, left, right & center. Most run either left or right chutes. Left chute is a straight narrow drop. Right chute - start right, make a shallow left turn to avoid slanting rock on river right side which will flip you if you get under it and lean away from it. Center chute is a sloping slide down the rock at lower water, more of an option with more water. Eddy to left.
This rapid is runnable left at all levels. Eddies far left and a surf hole center and left bottom at 250cfs and up. Attainment at all levels at the bottom.
This rapid consists of a low ledge covering river left to middle with a notch in the left side and a tongue to the right. Good side surfing at minimal Levels and an actual play spot at 280 cfs +. The river right tongue is a straight chute with a possible attainment at mid levels.
This rapid consists of a low rocky chute to boogie water at lower levels. At lower water, if too far left, the chute shoals out; if too far right there's a risk of a surprise. Best run left center. Above 230 cfs it’s a straight shot (not rocky) At 280 is where it becomes a play spot. Washes out at higher levels.
There is a blind turn behind the rock that looks like it's going to be a rapid, but it's just a moving water turn.
Group of us from the GBCC ran this section tonight the level was 1.60 on the Falls Road gauge. There were no strainers to worry about and the scenery was excellant. Only my second time down this strecth and cant wait to run it again>
I wished to pass on info about the Gunpowder at Prettyboy Dam. I just finished paddling it Sat 3Apr 2004.
The level according to the gauge is 2.75 water is being released from one of the 2 tubes and water is cascading over the top. We put in at the dam. There is a strainer that crosses the entire stream , it is approx. 800 ft. from the area that you can launch your boat, but you can't see it until you go around the first bend.
I have been paddling this stream for 4 years and have never been told the names of these drops or rapids, so maybe some one should photograph them, and name them. If you are interested I have a group of people that would like to do this.
My son (call him a class II boater) and I ran this in the 200-250 CFS range. This is a particularly pretty stretch of river. There's a path river right (as well as paths higher up too), and I recommend it as a hiking spot in addition to a paddling one. At this level there were some fishermen, but not a lot. They were just getting started at about 10:30.
Most of the rapids were class I or II-, except for a stretch with four creeky-feeling ones in a row that I would call III-. This would be a really good beginner river if there was a little more recovery space between them.
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HAs anyone run this since the fall? Any wood of concern?
Does anyone know who created this post about this portion of the Gunpowder?
I created a river tubing MD resource http://tubing-maryland.com and I'm looking to add water level information to the site for this location and other tubing MD locations. I see this site has pulled in this data and is displaying it and I wonder where I can find this data? MOre specifically is their an API for me to the pull water level data for this point and display it on my site.
Ran this two days ago and the level was around 2.00. Not many strainers at all except an angry beaver (tried to attack a boater and then pursued us for about 100 yards). A little scrapey at some spots but fun none-the-less.
ran it 7/18/2010 masemore to bluemount. it was listed L8 but it was a good run did not have to do any hiking it was deep enough and only 2 small log jams
I have got nothing but the best to say for this little creek. Absolutely beatiful. I have gotten into kayaking probably about 8 months ago and this was def a fun run. Beware of log jam after triplet. I was there the first weekend of march 2007 and it was there. It is easily portaged on the right after the first two drops.
5 years ago
by Michael Fox
The Gauge for this section is located about 50 yards downstream of the bridge on Falls Road. The gauge is located on the river left side on the downstream face of a large rock. The gauge can be easily read from a trail on river right.
I know people that have run it as low as 0.5 feet (38 cfs) and I have run it as high as 5.4 feet (1,500 cfs?). Because the flow is controlled by Prettyboy reservoir, you are dependent on releases from Prettyboy. There is a required fish release of approximately 38 cfs and during dryer months when the Lock Raven Reservoir (Baltimore City water supply) needs water, a release of at least 88-90 cfs. 88 cfs is the minimum runnable level.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Andy F having fun in the runout
Andys first white water river
surfing the gun powder
upper gun powder
Henry in triple
running triple drop
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Tonight American Whitewater presented the Town of Friendsville, Maryland with a $5000 check towards the extension of the Upper Yough Access Parking Area. This, combined with a $1000 donation from Keelhaulers Canoe Club, made a strong statement of how much paddlers value the river and the town! Under the leadership of Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle and long time paddler and Friendsville resident Jess Whittemore the town raised $7 in additional funding for every dollar paddlers donated - just like they did on the initial construction! This makes these gifts a great value for the whitewater community. A big shout out and thank you to ALL who donated!
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