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 02h08m 38.6 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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 29 2014 (1269 days ago)
Cagg1271 (153409)
HAs anyone run this since the fall? Any wood of concern?
August 15 2013 (1526 days ago)
mbfox13 (155817)
Paddled this yesterday at around 2.4. Just a warning, right after the first drop there is some wood
blocking river left. The log extends about halfway through the creek, and its avoidable if you run
on river right. There is a tree branch overhanging the clear right section that isn't a problem
now, but may be a potential strainer at higher water level.
July 21 2011 (2282 days ago)
RyanSpahn (153341)
Does anyone know who created this post about this portion of the Gunpowder? I created a river
tubing MD resource 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. thank you, ryan spahn
September 27 2010 (2579 days ago)
mab108 (152449)
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.
July 19 2010 (2649 days ago)
jjscouts (150813)
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
March 9 2007 (3877 days ago)
George BrewerDetails
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.
June 3 2004 (4886 days ago)
tom reschDetails
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>
April 4 2004 (4945 days ago)
I wished to pass on info about the Gunpowder at Prettyboy Dam. I just finished paddling it Sat 3Apr
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.
Stewart Thrasher

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