Little Gunpowder Falls - 2) Jerusalem Mill (Jerusalem Rd.) to U.S. Route 40

Little Gunpowder Falls, Maryland, US


2) Jerusalem Mill (Jerusalem Rd.) to U.S. Route 40

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 3.7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 33 fpm
Max Gradient 75 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01584500 111 - 1600 cfs II-III 00h50m 90.5 cfs (too low)
usgs-01581700 101 - 2345 cfs II-III 00h50m 93 cfs (too low)

River Description

This is the delightful, classic Little Gunpowder trip. The first mile is an almost continuous rock garden, starting out class I-II and then adding a few class II and II+ bits.  Then, in short succession, come a series of class III rapids. The first is a 3-4-foot ledge, easily boat scouted and best run in the middle at most levels. It is popular to carry back up and run it again. The next splits around an island, with the left side narrower and shallower. Then comes the Belko Factory Falls, a ragged 5-6-foot drop which can be scouted from the left and run on the right. The remaining class III- rapids, above the Franklintown Rd. bridge, are twisty rock gardens. Class II water then resumes, down to I-95. The final mile and a half has only a pair of class II rapids on either side of Philadelphia Road, a half-mile above the take out.

Early on, the trip features a covered bridge for the paddler to pass under.  The surrounding woodlands are full of deer and quite pretty, except where buildings are close to the creek. You can park at the shopping center alongside the take out. If you continue below there, it is two flat miles to the big Gunpowder Falls, and then another mile to the Gunpowder River inlet.

Ed Evangelidi testifies:
This creek is quite flashy, so don't dawdle, or it might come down on you while you are running shuttle. It has more continuous rapids than on the <A Href="">Big Gunpowder</a> but they are not any harder. Also has a tamer section upstream.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-11-12 13:14:48


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Jerusalem Mill Put-inN/APutin
0.3"Jericho Covered Bridge"N/A
1.0"Jericho Turns"II
1.2"First Ledge"II
1.3"Rock Island"III
1.5"Belko Factory Falls"III+
1.7"Franklinville Bridge"II+
3.4Philadelphia Rd. (MD 7) Take-outN/ATakeout
3.7US 40 Take-outN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Jerusalem Mill Put-in (Class N/A)

Put-in is at the Jerusalem Mill Historic Area at the Jerusalem Rd. Little Gunpowder Falls bridge.

"Jericho Turns" (Class II, Mile 1.0)

The river narrows, then sweeps out of sight (left-then right-then left); there is one small wave at mid-point (at end of right sweep – completely avoidable); be aware of overhanging branches – also, the shoals on the right or the river bank on left could collect strainers, which could be dangerous due to narrow nature of channel and the swiftness of the current at this point – at significantly higher levels the right side shoal might become covered (even passable), but most of the current would still follow the same “left-right-left” course.

"First Ledge" (Class II, Mile 1.2)

"First Ledge" is a 3'-4' ledge, easily boat scouted and best run in the middle at most levels.  Surf potential (eddies both sides); simple, uncomplicated.

"Rock Island" (Class III, Mile 1.3)

Avoid left channel – it is shallow and has high strainer potential – instead, take right channel - half way down you have a decision to make: 1) move aggressively to the left, then cut back to right over diagonal ledge & hole (good fun) or 2) run directly down right side over 2’ ledge (approach might be scapey/bumpy).

"Belko Factory Falls" (Class III+, Mile 1.5)

A 4’-6’ drop and pool rapid, Class III+ (but could be harder at higher levels); eddy out left at top to scout; several options: 1) run extreme left – ledge drop onto well-padded rock (bouncy fun, most likely the simplest route), or 2) Left of Center over jagged ledge into challenging cross-current/hole (this hole is likely a stopper, or even keeper, at higher levels), or 3) run right side into a significant standing wave and hole. At moderate levels, avoid a “dead down the center” approach, as there is a submerged rock (probably boofable at higher levels, but would drop you straight into a possibly stopper/keeper hole.

"Franklinville Bridge" (Class II+, Mile 1.7)

Just upstream of and within view of the Franklinville Rd bridge. This is a two-step rapid (upper and lower with a small pool between):

Upper: Run right or left of midstream rock (left has cleaner approach at moderate levels);

Lower: Run Center or Left of Center for cleanest line. Right side could develop a nasty hole at higher levels.

There is no parking or stopping on the bridge or its approaches - so this is not a potential take-out.

Philadelphia Rd. (MD 7) Take-out (Class N/A, Mile 3.4)

The first take-out for the run - the take-out usually used by Baltimore Area paddlers

US 40 Take-out (Class N/A, Mile 3.7)

Lower take-out which can be used if parking is limited at Philadelphia Rd.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 16 2010 (2953 days ago)
Foghorn (152636)
Ran this last weekend after a decent day of rain. Gauge only spiked at 250cfs, it was maybe 200
when we went through. The big flood storm that came through a few months ago definitely changed
some scenery. The banks are wider and the "islands" between Jerusalem and Franklinville were all
but swept clean. At this level, the run was bony but we only scraped a couple times and all of the
drops were runnable. One thing to note is that after the Jerusalem Road put in there is a huge
near-river-wide strainer which backs up a lot of water and creates its own little rapid, passable
with a tight slot move on the right but take it slow and watch for protruding branches in the
September 27 2007 (4129 days ago)
x (1)
This river is NOT runnable at 1.93 feet / 84 CF/s. We just went down and tried it thinking it would
just be a 'little low'. We were only able to paddle about 200 yards of the first 3 miles. We had to
hike along the trails and take out at Jerusalem Road bridge and hitch a ride back to the putgtin to
get our vehicle. Locals told us that the river is usually a full foot higher. I would say 2.5 feet
would be runnable, with 3 feet preferable. Oh well....
August 8 2007 (4179 days ago)
Tony Del PuppoDetails
I ran the toughest part of this stretch (Jerusalem Mill to Franklinville Rd.) and I must
respectfully disagree with Mr. Evangelidi. At around 130 to 140 cfs on the Winter's Run Gauge, this
river was certainly more difficult than the Big Gunpowder at 12" on the local Rt. 1 bridge gauge.
Belko Factory Falls is more difficult and dangerous than anything the Gunpowder has to offer; as
for the immediate three or four Class threes that come before and after Belko, they are equal to
anything the Gunpowder offers. The pictures on this website are misleading; they were taken at low
levels; run this river after a good rain and see what I'm talking about. I consider myself a solid
Class 3 kayaker. When I ran Big Gunpowder the first time, I only boat scouted the rapids; on the
Little Gunpowder, I got out of my boat and scouted each and every major rapid, which wasn't easy
because there weren't many eddies to catch.