This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 3.4 Miles
Gauge Gunpowder Falls Lower
Flow Range 333 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 18 minutes ago ~ 336.69 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 10/01/2019 2:58 pm

River Description


The typical put-in for the Lower GunPowder is at the US1/Belair Road Bridge. There is a really nice gravel parking lot with easy access to the river on river left. The take out in Spring or Fall is at Jones Road, just before the US 40 bridge across the Gunpowder (if coming from the East) or just after (if coming from the west).   From Memorial Day to Labor Day (inclusive) the take-out is Mariner Point Park.



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For more information about this run, see:  1) http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11; 2) Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails, Ed Gertler.

John Berg relates:  This is a great run if you can catch it after a rain when Loch Raven Reservoir is full. At lower levels there are not too many playspots. I have not run the upper sections. I usually put in at the Belair Road (Hwy 1) bridge for a shorter but more action-packed run.


Ed Evangelidi relates:

There has been some theft problems at the Jones Rd. takeout, so don't leave your boat or gear unattended or leave anything of value visible in your car. Use the hiking trails (river right is usually best) to scout any rapids that you are unfamiliar with.

Rapid Descriptions

US1/Belair Road Bridge Put-in

Class - N/A Mile - 0
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The typical put-in for the Lower GunPowder is at the US1/Belair Road Bridge. There is a really nice gravel parking lot with easy access to the river on river left.

"Pot Rocks"

Class - III Mile - 1
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"Pot Rocks" (Mile1.0) - This is the first real rapid.  The classic line at about 1' or lower is to run the first drop and catch an eddy on river right, peel out from this eddy and use the eddies behind one rock to slingshot you into an eddy behind a larger rock.  From this eddy, run the tongue in the center (or a little right of center) on the final drop and eddy out.  As the level gets higher, this line gets more and more tricky so that at higher water levels, the line is to start in the center and keep moving left, choosing the best slots between the rocks to get you to the tongue at the bottom drop.  At most levels, there is a descent surf wave at the very top of the rapid. The eddy at the bottom of the rapid on river right is really great for enders and cartwheels. At some levels, the hole right after the ledge is really good for spins. 

"Pots 2"

Class - II Mile - 1.2
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"Pots 2" (Mile 1.2) - Below the pool at the bottom of "Pot Rocks", class II rocky rapids continue, ending with a channel that splits evenly on a rock -- the easiest line is to move from left to right above the rock, but a right to left move is also possible.

"I-95"

Class - II+ Mile - 2.2
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"I-95" (Mile 2.2) - A series of rapids starts at the I-95 bridge.  Here, the river is split in two by a bridge pier supporting I-95.  The most common line is to stay left of the pier and just at the end of the pier is a slot that moves right and then left, eddying out below.  There is a nice surfing wave to the right of the pier, but it can be hard to get to at lower water levels or if there's wood, which tend to collect at that side.  With some effort, you can sneak behind the bridge pier to attain back up to the surfing wave.  Below I-95, the easy line is to stay center left, although there are some slot moves to play with, if you stay to the right.  This series of rapids ends at MD 7 (Philadelphia Rd). 

"Fall Line"

Class - III Mile - 2.5
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"Fall Line" - (Mile 2.5 - This rapid gave the river its name:   "Gunpowder Falls".  But to avoid confusion, since this is the same name as the river and the run, paddlers use the name "Fall Line" for this rapid.)  This series of rapids begins right after you go under the MD 7 (Philadelphia Rd) bridge. It starts with a short series of back-and-forth lines that culminate in a large staging eddy on river right.  From this staging eddy, the quarter mile long rapid really starts and can be easily scouted or portaged from the paved trail on river right.  The basic run is to enter on a center tongue and keep moving left.  Avoid a tendency for the river to push your boat to the right, because if you try to float the rocks to the right, you'll find yourself swimming.  Which is not to say that you can't work the eddies on the right, they just have to be worked, not floated.  There are tons of little play waves and holes on the way down this rapid, and eddies and micro eddies both right and left, but the basic line is to keep moving left. About halfway down there is a big eddy on river left where you can stop.  From there, just peel out, missing the rock on the left and run the rest of the rapid in the center or a little left of center catching an eddy at the bottom.  At higher levels, there is a really fun slot move on river left from the big eddy mentioned above. Directly at the bottom of the slot move, there is a really good surfing wave.

Just below "Fall Line" there is a small beach on river left and, a little farther down, a relatively gentle surfing wave on river left which is good for beginning surfers to use to learn to surf.

"Overstreet"

Class - II+ Mile - 2.8
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"Overstreet" (Mile 2.8) - This rapid is a continuation of "Fall Line".  You run this rapid in the center prepared to make a few sudden moves to accommodate the sudden appearence of rocks to be avoided or hit as necessary.  The exact line for this rapid varies considerably with levels, but is generally in the center.

"S-Turn"

Class - II+ Mile - 3
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"S-Turn" (Mile 3.0) This rapid is the last rapid on the river.  The rapid was formed by a long gone Dam that left a rocky delta on river right that pushes the river to the left and a large rock just downstream on river left that pushes the river to the right .  The result is as soon as it begins, there's a hard turn to the right against the large rock and then a turn left (down river) again to the runout.   At the top at lower water there is a nice surfing hole with good eddy access.  At the bottom on river right there is a nice crisp eddy line for doing stern squirts.   The inside corner of the last turn at lower water usually allows an “elevator” move to go back up to the top of the rapid.  Sometimes it can be a play wave or hole at higher water.  You can also hike down the railroad track from Jones Road if you want park and play.

Jones Rd. Take-out

Class - N/A Mile - 3.4
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"Jones Rd." Take-out (Mile 3.4)

The take out is at Jones Road, just before the US 40 bridge across the Gunpowder (if coming from the East) or just after (if coming from the west).  Because of overuse and trash accumulations over the last few summers, the Jones Road take-out will be closed from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (inclusive). Also, US 40 in the vicinity of the river has been marked "No Parking" by the Baltimore County Police.  According to the Park, the Jones Road parking area should be open prior to Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend. 

Mariner Point Park Take-out

Class - N/A Mile - 6.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
"Mariner Point Park" Take-out  (from Memorial Day to Labor Day [inclusive])(Mile 6.3).  

From Rich Conde:  When the Jones Road take-out is closed, Mariner Point Park is an alternate takeout but requires several miles of flat water paddling (Total distance from US 1/Belair Rd to Mariner Point Park via Big Gunpowder mouth:  7.8 miles, [4.4 miles flatwater]). I found a shortcut (total distance from US 1/Belair Rd to Mariner Park via shortcut:  6.3 miles, [2.9 miles flatwater]) which I don't think crosses private property and has several advantages: 1) cuts off a portion of the flat water; 2) is sheltered from the wind, and 3) retains the most scenic portions of flat water (lots of wildlife). The portage was obviously used a lot, and has easy entry and exit points.  The Mariner Point Park has a shorter take-out walk since, when you are actually loading, you can drive your car right to the river landing, with parking up the hill.  Also, from time to time there have been break-ins at the Jones Road lot, so it may be safer to leave cars at Mariner Point Park than at the Jones Road lot  (Thanks Rich Conde).  

To get to Mariner Point Park, continue on US 40 east until you cross the Little Gunpowder (Harford County line).  Immediately after the Little Gunpowder is a stoplight at Joppa Farms road, turn right at the stoplight onto Joppa Farms Road and go 1.7 miles, then turn right onto Kerney Drive.  Go 0.6 miles on Kerney Drive to Mariner Point Park. 

Comments

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Tony Allred Jr
|
6 months ago

Again in 2019, the gate at the Jones Road take-out will be closed from Memorial Day weekend (May 25, 2019) through Labor Day weekend (reopening September 3, 2019). This is from a MD DNR sign at the entrance of the Jones Road takeout. The closure is because of overuse and trash accumulations at Jones Road over the last few summers (Also, US 40 in the vicinity of the river has been marked "No Parking"). According to the Park, the Jones Road parking area should be open prior to May 25, 2019 and after September 2, 2019. For a more detailed description of the river with current warnings, current level correlations/calibrations and the correct rapid names see: http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11.

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Tony Allred Jr
|
1 year ago

Again in 2018, the gate at the Jones Road take-out will be closed from Memorial Day weekend (May 26, 2018) through Labor Day weekend (reopening September 4, 2018). This is from a MD DNR sign at the entrance of the Jones Road takeout. The closure is because of overuse and trash accumulations at Jones Road over the last few summers (Also, US 40 in the vicinity of the river has been marked "No Parking"). According to the Park, the Jones Road parking area should be open prior to May 26, 2018 and after September 3, 2018. For a more detailed description of the river with current warnings, current level correlations/calibrations and the correct rapid names see: http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11.

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Tony Allred Jr
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3 years ago

Again in 2016, the gate at the Jones Road take-out will be closed from Memorial Day weekend (May 28, 2016) through Labor Day weekend (September 5, 2016). This has been confirmed with the Park on April 28, 2016. The closure is because of overuse and trash accumulations at Jones Road over the last few summers (Also, US 40 in the vicinity of the river has been marked "No Parking"). According to the Park, the Jones Road parking area should be open prior to May 28, 2016 and after September 5, 2016. For a more detailed description of the river with current warnings, current level correlations/calibrations and the correct rapid names see: http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11.

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Tony Allred Jr
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4 years ago

According to discussions between the Gunpowder Falls State Park and the Baltimore Canoe and Kayak Club, the gate at the Jones Road take-out will be closed from Memorial Day weekend (May 23, 2015) through Labor Day weekend (September 7, 2015) because of overuse and trash accumulations at Jones Road over the last few summers (Also, US 40 in the vicinity of the river has been marked "No Parking"). According to the Park, the Jones Road parking area should be open prior to May 23, 2015 and after September 7, 2015. For a more detailed description of the river with current warnings, current level correlations/calibrations and the correct rapid names see: http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11.

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sdfetrow
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5 years ago

According to a sign at the gate of the take out parking lot on Jones Road: The parking lot will be closed beginning May 1, 2014 until September.

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n/a
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7 years ago

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Stephen J. Ettinger
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14 years ago

Here is how to calculate whether you will have enough water. a)Check whether Loch Raven Reservoir is full -- it normally stays full if the inflow exceeds about 150 cfs; b)If it is full, add the gauge readings on the Gunpowder (at Glencoe), Western Run and Beaverdam Run. They should total at least 350-375 cfs in the winter and spring, 400 cfs in the summer (when there is more evaporation and more water drawn from the reservoir for lawns). c) If it is not full, forget it. d) It takes about 2 days (at low levels) for that water to get to this section -- so, for example, Thursday's reading will tell you whether you will have enough water on Saturday; e) Above those totals, you get about 1 inch for every 40 cfs, for the first foot or so. After that, each inch requires more cfs, but I haven't worked out the formula.

Gage Descriptions

Daniel Anderson testified:
The only gage for the Lower GunPowder is the gage painted on the US1/Belair Road Bridge. The gage is on the downstream side of the bridge on river left. I would consider 0” to be the bare minimum to paddle. At 3”" it isn’t too scrapy, 6"” is getting better, and I would consider 1' to be the optimum. Higher than 1.25'’ is a fun, fast run, but most of the play spots wash out or get vicious and trashy. If you can’t get to the bridge to check the level, check out www.watershedshop.com for levels or look at the postings on www.baltimorecanoeclub.org , usually some people who live around there keep the rest of us updated on the status of the river.

Directions Description


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Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1212460 05/21/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
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1211076 02/01/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1210102 07/13/18 Tony Allred Jr 7-10-2018 - cleanup
1211075 02/01/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1208551 12/06/17 Tony Allred Jr 12-5-2017 - cleanup
1210382 09/23/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-22-2018 - add photo
1210383 09/23/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-22-2018 - add photo
1211993 04/22/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1207662 06/06/17 Tony Allred Jr 9-24-2017 - cleanup
1210384 09/24/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-22-2018 - deleted photo because of apparent problems
1210261 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210260 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1208936 02/18/18 Tony Allred Jr 2-17-2018 - cleanup
1208989 02/26/18 Tony Allred Jr 4-15-2018 - small edit/cleanup
1210259 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210398 10/01/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-30-2018 - added river lengths for rapids.
1209636 05/20/18 Tony Allred Jr 5-18-2018 - minor changes to the description
1210262 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210400 10/01/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-30-2018 - cleanup
1210265 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210263 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210264 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1209643 05/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 5-21-2018 - minor change to description
1210266 08/21/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-25-2018 - cleanup
1210723 12/15/18 Tony Allred Jr 12-15-2018 - cleanup
1210401 10/01/18 Tony Allred Jr 9-30-2018 - cleanup
1210724 12/15/18 Tony Allred Jr 12-15-2018 - cleanup
1211072 02/01/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
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1211994 04/22/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1212936 06/17/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1213779 10/01/19 Tony Allred Jr updated description
1208603 12/21/17 Tony Allred Jr 12-5-2017 - cleanup
1208552 12/06/17 Tony Allred Jr 12-5-2017 - cleanup
1207661 06/06/17 Tony Allred Jr 5-31-2017 River Description edited to correct rapid names and to be more complete.
1190517 04/04/04 n/a n/a
1207625 06/05/17 Tony Allred Jr 5-31-2017
1207622 06/05/17 Tony Allred Jr Edited 5-31-2017
1207654 06/06/17 Tony Allred Jr 5-31-2017
1208304 09/25/17 Tony Allred Jr 9-25-2017 - edits to the river description
1208317 09/25/17 Tony Allred Jr 10-8-2017 - cleanup
1208597 12/15/17 Tony Allred Jr 12-5-2017 - cleanup
1208612 12/23/17 Tony Allred Jr 12-5-2017 - cleanup
1208786 01/24/18 Tony Allred Jr 1-26-2018
1208849 02/02/18 Tony Allred Jr 2-5-2018 - cleanup
1208613 12/24/17 Tony Allred Jr 1-23-2018 - cleanup
1208927 02/17/18 Tony Allred Jr 2-17.2018 - minor correction to the description text.