Gunpowder Falls, Maryland, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||20 fpm|
|Max Gradient||40 fpm|
Daniel Anderson testified on 2003-07-15 13:51:45; edited by Tony Allred 2017-5-31 :
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 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).
Pot Rocks - 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 eddie 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.
I-95 - 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 - 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 there the quarter mile long rapid really starts. 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 - This rapid is continuation of "Fall Line". You run this rapid in the center prepared to make a few sudden moves to accomodate 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 - This is the best rapid on the run. It consists of a nice little ledge drop, then the river makes a SHARP turn to the right over a huge rock. The first little ledge drop makes a really nice surfing wave at higher levels. At lower levels, it makes a really awesome hole that is great for spins. The water going over the huge rock makes a really great hole, perfect for spins, loops, whatever! Watch out for the rock that is DIRECTLY downstream of this hole if you get flipped (and you will!), you better roll up quick or your shoulder will be hurting! The best thing about this rapid is that at all levels, at least one of the wave/holes will be good. You can also hike down the railroad track from Jones Road if you want park and play.
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.
See: http://www.baltimorecanoeclub.org/index.php/en/paddling-resources/2013-10-02-01-22-40/2013-10-02-01-46-11 for more information about this run.
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 testifies:
There has been some theft problems at the various takeouts, so dont leave your boat or gear unattended or leave anything of value visible in your car. Use the hiking trails (river right is best) to scout any rapids that you are unfamiliar with.