Octoraro Creek - New Bridge Road to Richardsmere

Octoraro Creek, Maryland, US


New Bridge Road to Richardsmere (Lower Octoraro)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

New River Ranch Falls

New River Ranch Falls
Photo of Falls by Walt Shank taken 07/13/01 @ Loowwwwww!

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Octoraro Creek near Richardsmere, MD
usgs-01578475 300 - 4600 cfs II 00h56m 390 cfs (running)
Brandywine Creek at Chadds Ford, PA
usgs-01481000 2.40 - 9.00 ft II 01h11m 3.14 ft (running)
usgs-01580000 2.50 - 10.00 ft II 00h26m 3.09 ft (running)

River Description

Nice little section with some trashy and scenic surroundings. This is a kind of a forgotten corner of MD, but it's worth visiting and the river is worth running. It's kind of like the Brandywine without any dams.

The first 3 miles are pretty mellow, but things start to get going after the Rt. 1 bridge. Fun Class II rapids result as the Octoraro (which is Native American for "rushing waters") drops down to the Conowingo. Take out on a small side road before the Rt. 222 bridge in the historic mill town of Richardsmere.

The Upper Octoraro is categorized as a Pennsylvania stream.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-06-20 15:42:57


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.
August 23 2018 (152 days ago)
eldpeppler (160075)
Ran 8/21/18 @ 3.6 ft on gauge. No portages required, no stream-wide strainers, and only one shallow
spot. Fun riffles and boulder gardens with a single 1 ft drop about half way. Scenery is great,
very little hints of civilization. It only took us about 1.5 hours to travel the 6 miles.
June 20 2017 (581 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
There is a relatively new Gauge on the Octoraro: "Richardsmere" for which I have a reading of 300
cfs as a minimum for this gauge and 340 cfs as the bottom of a moderate level. More correlation
made with the "Richardsmere" Gauge would help to see where things fall. Also, the Dam pictured here
has been removed.
June 5 2017 (596 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
Gauge switched to Octoraro at Richardsmere
August 21 2011 (2711 days ago)
walrajr1 (153038)
Could someone please explain why the gauge used for this run is "Brandywine Creek at Chadds Ford,
PA." I looked on Google earth but never found a any connection to the Octoraro Creek. There is a
gauge found on the USGS site for Octoraro Creek:
Shouldn't we use this one instead since it is on Octoraro Creek?
June 7 2009 (3516 days ago)
x (1)
Ran this stream on April 17, 2009, gauge at 3.0, a little low, but not terrible as my group are
novices and this made for a great training run. The description is accurate, the most fun is in the
small gorge section below the Rte. 1 bridge which had just enough water in it that day. I figure
that about 3.3 on the gauge and up will please most paddlers. LK
July 29 2008 (3829 days ago)
x (1)
usgs has a station on (octoraro: #01578475) new bridge road. there has been a lot of vandalism at
this site. if you see vandalism in progress or damage to our gage please call usgs@ 717-730-6987
May 17 2007 (4268 days ago)
Daniel CampbellDetails
The New River Ranch Dam was removed in 2005. The following article talks about the removal and has
pictures: http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=2652. The Dam got it's name from the "New
River Ranch" country music park on the east side of the river just north of the dam. It was open
through the 1950's and early 60's. If you are curious some good info on the park is at this link:
September 27 2004 (5229 days ago)
tom reschDetails
can anyone give me some info on this creek please