Savage, Maryland, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||75 fpm|
|Max Gradient||115 fpm|
|SAVAGE RIV BL SAVAGE RIV DAM NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MD|
|usgs-01597500||350 - 1800 cfs||III-IV||01h56m||55.5 cfs (too low)|
American Whitewater is working aggressively to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600 - 1000 cfs) for the second weekend of each month between June and September. This is contingent upon water availability and UPRC cooperation.
These efforts have worked very succesfully in the past, and have resulted in water releases for
recreational purposes. However in 2009, the following text was posted on the Army Corps of
Engineers Website: "Constraints have been placed on operations at Savage
River Dam during the 2009 season due to a malfunctioning outlet gate. These constraints
may result in a wider than normal range of lake elevations along with a slight increase in the
possibility of flow over the spillway." You can view the text at their website.
6/5, 7/3, and 9/25
SOURCE FOR THE FOLLOWING TEXT: William Nealy's Whitewater Home Companion, Southern Rivers Volume I, which has more on this run. Text used with permission.
The Savage is THE whitewater rocket ride! With an average gradient of 75 feet per mile (with sections exceeding 100 fpm) the action is fast and continuous. The Savage's overall difficulty rating below 800 cfs is Class III-IV. At 800 - 1,200 cfs it is Class IV. Above 1,200 cfs the Savage is the longest Class IV-V rapid in Maryland!! Due to the steep, narrow and unrelenting nature of this run paddlers should be: 1) Well insulated (water temp 46), 2) Adept at fast self-rescue and wave-crest scouting, and 3) In possession of paddling skills commensurate with water levels... below 800 cfs - intermediate to advanced, 800 - 1,200 cfs - advanced to expert, above 1,200 cfs - expert only.
Savage River Road follows along the entire 4.25 mile run. At approx. mile 1.5 and just before the swinging bridge that marks the end of the slalom course there is a large undercut rock (House Rock) on river left.
The takeout is on the North Branch of the Potomac just upstream of the confluence. Please respect the locals and refrain from drinking or changing clothes in the open, here. The putin is just minutes up the road and its relative remoteness lends itself to these activities.
Another good source of information about this run is Ed Gertler's Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails.