Gunpowder Falls - 2 - Prettyboy Dam to Falls Road

Gunpowder Falls, Maryland, US


2 - Prettyboy Dam to Falls Road

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01581920 90 - 900 cfs I-III 00h42m 36.7 cfs (too low)

River Description

Currently, my descriptions are limited to the section from Prettyboy Reservoir to Falls Road (2 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 2004

Prettyboy Reservoir to Falls Road Bridge

Put 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 trial. 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.
Major Rapids

Z-Turn,Class II+

Double Ledge(?), Class III

If anyone knows the name of these rapids let me know. I will describe the detail of them later.

You need to watch out for Strainers and Fishermen on this stretch. The fishermen are one reason I wait for highr levels, the higher levels keep the fishermen away. This creek is not very wide, and I hate to come hammering through a stretch where there are a few guys fishing. So be respectful and they will respect our position also.

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. 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.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2004-04-04 20:34:34


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.

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