Patapsco, S. Branch - 2. Marriottsville Rd to Woodstock


Patapsco, S. Branch , Maryland, US

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2. Marriottsville Rd to Woodstock (Lower South Branch/Patapsco Mainstem)

Usual Difficulty I-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 17 fpm
Max Gradient 25 fpm

mckeldon falls perspective


mckeldon falls perspective
Photo by mike kemp taken 2003 @ unknown

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
PATAPSCO RIVER AT HOLLOFIELD, MD
usgs-01589000 250 - 1800 cfs I-III(IV) 01h34m 53.9 cfs (too low)


River Description

Note: read below and/or click the Map tab to see the multiple access points for this section.

The put in is at Marriottsville Roadat the Carroll County-Howard County line. Proceed from here with caution, for just a few hundred yards downstream lies McKeldin Falls, the largest single rapid on the Patapsco River. It's a solid class 4, quadruple-ledge drop that falls a total of about 12 feet over 20 yards. When the hills on river left become high and canyonesque, listen for it, and get out (river left) to scout. The portage is a wickedly steep climb up the hill/cliff on the left, and then around to a large pool at the bottom. For the experienced, a variety of routes can be used depending on water level, but beware of small sieves against either shore, and a very wide, flat, mildly undercut rock (usually submerged and creating a strange looking hydraulic) at the dead center of the river near the bottom. It looks as if it would love to eat the nice flat bow of a playboat.

From here, the river calms again for the next 3/4 mile to the confluence, and remains in character for next 2 miles to the takeout at Woodstock Road (steep climb out on the right) to the parking lot across from a roadside bar. Don't miss this high overpass: Daniel's Dam is the next best takeout, after a further five miles (of mostly flat water) downstream.

If you'd like to run just the McKeldin Falls, for a charge of $2.00 weekdays or $3.00 weekends, you can enter the McKeldin area of Patapsco State Park and follow the signs to the McKeldin Falls parking area to park and have a short carry directly to the Falls.  


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-09 11:11:29

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.5McKeldin FallsIVHazard Photo

Rapid Descriptions

McKeldin Falls (Class IV, Mile 0.5)

mckeldon falls

mckeldon falls
Photo by mike kemp taken 2003 @ unknown

McKeldin Falls is the largest single rapid on the Patapsco River. It's a solid class 4, quadruple ledge drop that falls a total of about 12 feet over 20 yards. When the hills on river left become high and canyonesque, listen for it, and get out (river left) to scout. The portage is a wickedly steep climb up the hill/cliff on the left, and then around to a large pool at the bottom. For the experienced, a variety of routes can be used depending on water level, but beware of small sieves against either shore, and a very wide, flat, mildly undercut rock (usually submerged and creating a strange looking hydraulic) at the dead center of the river near the bottom. It looks as if it would love to eat the nice flat bow of a playboat.
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from online maps.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 7 2017 (76 days ago)
TonyAllred (3101)
I've split the Gaither Gorge section from the McKendin Falls section, so some of the following
comments may refer to the other Patapsco, S. Branch section.
March 14 2015 (892 days ago)
Bbyronellis5 (157155)
S. Br. Patapsco from Gaither Rd. to Henryton Rd. today with Tony during rain with snow melt, it was
high and brown. Hollofield 2,130 cfs and 4.27, Cedarhurst 1,120 cfs, Unity 546 cfs. Least that's
what it said when we got back, Gauges were 1/2 lower early morning before leaving home. No
strainers to portage. A lot of play was washed out. 4-5 good rapids with 2/3 moves to miss holes,
with no terminal holes. Intermediate run. Most of the rocks you would normally see around
Sykesville were submerged.
October 26 2009 (2857 days ago)
Jared EspleyDetails
We ran from Skyesville to McKeldin Falls on 25Oct09. It had poured the night before and the
Cedarhurst NB Patapsco gauge peaked at 870 cfs. However, looking at it after the fact, it looks
like that by the time we ran it that it had dropped to 108 cfs. The section was barely runnable but
we still were happy to be out on a beautiful fall day. We never had to walk but we did get
temporarily stuck on gravel bars several times. Mckeldin was runnable but boney. Given the same
level again, if it was a choice between not paddling and doing this, I'd paddle this. But if there
were anything else you could paddle I'd probably recommend that.
June 15 2009 (2990 days ago)
alienrace (150588)
Ran this with about 180 cfs on the Little Patuxent guage, 60 on NB at Cedarhurst. Level was pretty
low, but passable and still fun on the bigger rapids. The rapids below McKeldin Falls to the
confluence are alot of fun too, making it worthwhile to go down to Woodstock. Aside from the class
IV McKeldin Falls, the toughest rapids seem to be the three steep, bouldery drops past that barn.
April 5 2004 (4886 days ago)
tom reschDetails
Paddle from Gaither Rd. to Henryton Rd. on April 3, 2004, No river wide strainers, was a branch in
the second part of No Way Out rapid no problem just keep to left of it. Level was around 3.50' on
the Hollifield Gauge about 1300cfs
November 2 2003 (5041 days ago)
Jen MacPhersonDetails
Ran Gaither Road to McKeldon, 4 hours, on 11/2/03 at 2.6. Scrapey but runnable. Another 6" -
1' on the guage would be ideal for passing through all the rock gardens. Whatever log jam used to
be is no longer there. Had to portage 2 riverwide strainers, both in flat water, - 1 just below
Gaither Rd and the other in the park.


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