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Difficulty III-IV
Length 4.25 Miles
Gauge SAVAGE RIV BL SAVAGE RIV DAM NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MD
Flow Range 375 - 1800 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 32 minutes ago 125 [CFS]
Next Release 2019-06-01
Reach Info Last Updated 01/18/2019 4:13 pm

River Description


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.

SOURCE: William Nealy's Whitewater Home Companion, Southern Rivers Volume I, which has more on this run. Text used with permission.

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.

Whitewater Releases:

American Whitewater and others worked to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600 - 1000 cfs) on three weekend days annually, June through September. You can see the upcoming scheduled releases, and unscheduled releases on the dam owners' website. AW volunteers meet with other stakeholders twice each year to coordinate the releases.

Another good source of information about this run is Ed Gertler's Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Colin Abernethy
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3 years ago

Ran this reach during the release on 05/29/15. Log mentioned by the previous commenter at memorial rock had been removed by the ASCI crew prior to the event. Great run even though the release was 600CFS less than last year. The shuttle lines were extremely long and the release was only 4 hours, so you had to get on early to get two or more runs in. Full-length video of our first run can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr1kkONLEVo

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n/a
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9 years ago

Right now its up to 400cfs...I've run it between 350 and 450 cfs back in June...most of the run is clean (the dam looks sketchy), its not til the last third when the river braids a bit that it gets scrapy at all. At 250cfs it'd probably be turning into a rock fest...but at 350 we did multiple laps and it was worth it

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9 years ago

With the construction stalling releases can anyone local or with experience give us a description around ~250? AW now shows it as green. Are we talking a fun ELF or ass scraping level 2? I've run the Savage once during a release weekend and it's a hell of a ride. What's it like at lower levels?

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10 years ago

Steve Ettinger: Don't take the 349 cfs indicated as the real zero level. It can be run comfortably down to around 250 cfs, as indicated in the rankings of river difficulties accessible from the MCC home page, and from the earlier comment posted here about recreational releases of 300 cfs.

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Robert Farmer
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12 years ago

A few years ago, the old lady who lives near the dam (the dam-keeper's wife?) screamed at me that she would call the police if I tried to put in below the dam. What's with that?! Just FYI. I put in lower.

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BradR
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14 years ago

The North Branch Potomac Whitewater Release Schedule for 2004<br />
<br />
April 10 and 11<br />
April 24 and 25<br />
May 8 and 9<br />
May 22 and 23 <br />
Large releases suitable for whitewater recreation may be scheduled for several other weekends during the summer and fall, provided sufficient water is available. These weekends will be announced about two to four weeks in advance on this website, or on a telephone recording at (410) 962-7687.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />
NEW<br />
There are plans for an Artificially Varied Flow (AVF) release beginning on August 14, 2004 at 10 AM and lasting until August 15, 2004 at noon. AVF flows are scheduled periodically to help improve downstream habitat. The release rate will be 850 cfs from Jennings Randolph Lake,<b> with a corresponding release of 350 cfs from Savage River Dam.<br /></b>
Additional AVF releases are being considered for September 11-12 and October 9-10, 2004. More information will be provided here at a later date.<br />
The Thursday afternoon releases have been cancelled due to lack of interest!<br />
Smaller recreational releases of 300 cubic feet per second are scheduled to occur from 10:30 AM until 2:30 PM each Thursday from July 15 until August 26.<br />
<br />
Additionally, attempts will be made to avoid large releases during selected weekends, unless such releases are required as a result of highwater conditions, downstream water supply needs, or unforeseen circumstances. These weekends are as follows: April 3-4 and 17-18; May 1-2, 15-16, and 29-30; June 12-13 and 26-27; July 10-11 and 24-25; August 7-8 and 21-22; September 4-5 and 18-19; and October 2-3 and 23-24. <br />
Releases from Jennings Randolph Lake are made for a variety of purposes and are subject to increase or decrease without prior notice. <br />
<br />
The whitewater releases are sponsored by the Mineral County Parks and Recreation Commission. They can be reached for further information at (304) 788-5732.<br />

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BradR
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14 years ago

A group from DC recently ran the Savage on a release of 350cfs and found the stream navigable. The paddled creekboats.

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Mike Croak
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15 years ago

Paddled the Savage 5/22/04 at 1000 cfs. Dangerous strainers approximately 1/4 downstream of 5' dam (in middle of run). Trees down on each side of the river give the false appearance that the middle line might runnable. It's not. Eddy out before you get to these trees. There is another tree in the water behind them that you cannot see until it is too late.

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Sam mershon
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16 years ago

STRAINER ALERT!!! Towards the end of this run there is a rapid with an island in the middle. both channels are blocked with wood. You can identify this rapid by a blue warehouse on river left. I highly suggest scouting this from the bank or the road. unless conditions improve it is highly advisable to walk this one.

Release Schedule

More Information
Date Start Time End Time Flow
06/01/2019 11:04:44 11:04:44 0
07/07/2019 11:04:44 11:04:44 0
09/28/2019 11:04:44 11:04:44 0

Gage Descriptions

Note that the Savage River has three scheduled releases annually, but also runs occasionally following significant rain events.

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2006-05-28 Medium Near Miss/Rescue Other Read More
1997-05-06 Medium Fatality Other Read More
1990-07-02 Medium Near Miss/Rescue Cold Water Read More
1976-09-05 n/a Near Miss/Rescue Cold Water Read More

Alerts

 

News

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UPDATE - FEE BOX AT SANG RUN PUT-IN BROKEN INTO!!

5/20/2019
Charlie and Sandy Walbridge

The hasp was broken in the last 24 hours. Please DO NOT PUT MONEY IN THE BOX UNTIL IT IS REPAIRED! To donate on line, please go to https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Membership/donate/? and put "Upper Yough Access" in the comment box. Memorial Day Weekend is coming up, and Deep Creek Hydro on Maryland's famous Upper Youghiogheny River will release on Sunday, May 26th, and Monday, May 27th from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. This marvelous stretch of expert-level whitewater draws hundreds of paddlers from all over the country. American Whitewater has worked closely with the Town of Friendsville and the State of Maryland to make river access hassle-free. Please remember that we are guests of the town of Friendsville. Use the paddler parking lot off Maple Street; do not park or take out on Water Street or Morris Street without permission from local residents. Be discrete; use the change house to get ready for the river. Remember that public drinking and rowdy behavior is not appreciated by nearby residents. Upstream, the Sang Run Access is owned by the State of Maryland and has been maintained by American Whitewater volunteers for almost 20 years. Please leave a donation in the fee box. $3 for a sin, go to gle use or $20 per season pays for the porta potty, gravel, and other expenses. The water has been running high for the past few weeks. Be careful and be safe!

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Three Savage River Releases Scheduled for this Summer

6/1/2012
Charlie Walbridge

The Upper Potomac River Commission has announced three recreational whitewater releases from Savage River Reservoir in Western Maryland this summer. The releases, based on water availability, will take place June 3, July 1 and Sept. 29. The river, which hosted the 1989 World Slalom and Whitewater Championships, offers five miles of very continuous Class III-IV whitewater. Adventure Sports International has been working with a variety of agencies to manage the difficulties challenging access issues connected with the release. They are running a shuttle service on release days. Their work deserve the support of all Savage River paddlers; please check in with them and contribute generously to their shuttle operations.

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Changes for 2011 Savage River Releases (MD)

1/5/2011
Kevin Colburn

Changes were just announced for the 2011 Savage River release program, which provides three recreational releases each year.  The changes are intended to increase the storage of cold water for downstream sport fishing, and thus reduce the chances of releases being cancelled.    

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8/25/2010
Kevin Colburn

The Savage River release originally planned for early September will be resceduled for later in the month.  Read more to find out how you can take advantage of this great paddling opportunity. 

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Savage River Release July 4th!

6/14/2010
Kevin Colburn

The Army Corps of Engineers announced late last week that they are planning a whitewater release on the Savage River for Sunday, July 4, 2010.  Their tentative plan is to release 1000 cfs from 9am to 3pm, and changes to the flow rate or duration are possible if hydrologic conditions change.  

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Strainers, Large Woody Debris, Removal, and Ecology

1/7/2002
Jason Robertson

1197thumb.jpg Strainers, filters, sweepers, log sieves, log jams, do you have a chill running down your spine yet? Logs are generally disliked by boaters; their importance to the ecosystem is completely misunderstood; they are removed whenever possible; and if one is ever implicated in the injury or death of a human it is ceremoniously destroyed. Here are some considerations to think about before removing a log for safety, or prior to placing one in the stream for fish habitat.
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MD: Savage River News

7/9/2001
Jason Robertson

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MD: Response to UPRC (June, 2001)

7/9/2001
Jason Robertson

The UPRC's attorneys responded to American Whitewater in May, 2001. Our response and rebuttal of claims is attached. In brief, the UPRC failed to explain why there were no recreational releases on the Savage in 2000.
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MD: Savage Visitation Survey (June, 2001)

7/9/2001
Jason Robertson

American Whitewater surveyed 131 paddlers and found that 97% would plan on visiting the Savage River if there were reliably scheduled releases. Though 83% of the paddlers had heard of the Savage, only 26% had visited the river. 69% reported that the greatest deterrent from visiting the river was the lack of reliably scheduled releases. Safety, whitewater difficulty, and travel distances were of minimal deterrence to the boaters.
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MD: Letter to Governor Glendening (July, 2001)

7/9/2001
Jason Robertson

American Whitewater sample letter seeking Governor Glendening's assistance obtaining whitewater releases on the Savage River.
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What Does the Future Hold for Savage River Releases?

5/2/2001
Jason Robertson

On April 4th, 2001 American Whitewater wrote the Upper Potomac River Commission requesting a meeting to discuss the future of whitewater releases on the Savage River. A copy of this letter is attached. As of May 2nd, the UPRC has failed to respond to this or earlier requests, and has not returned our phone calls.
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Tony Allred Jr

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Mark Healey

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Liam Oliver

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Matt Muir

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Kevin Colburn

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208777 01/18/18 Tony Allred Jr 1-18-2018 - corrected river length
1190542 03/19/09 Mark Healey n/a
1195575 06/27/09 Liam Oliver
1199167 01/20/11 Matt Muir 1-17-2018 - Cleanup
1210856 01/18/19 Kevin Colburn Description Update
1210233 08/14/18 Tony Allred Jr 8-8-2018 - cleanup