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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The North Branch Potomac Whitewater Release Schedule for 2004<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 />
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 />
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 />
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 />
A group from DC recently ran the Savage on a release of 350cfs and found the stream navigable. The paddled creekboats.
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
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?
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.
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
3 years ago
by Chris Preperato
Note that the Savage River has three scheduled releases annually, but also runs occasionally following significant rain events.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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First Person View of Memorial Rock Rapid
Life long memories
Slalom ca. 1973
SAVAGE DAM Release BRIAN HALL
SAVAGE DAM Release BILLY BURSON
Above Memorial Rock
John Hefti at the Savage Races, 1973
Savage River Slalom 1976
Carrie Ashton, Savage Races, 1974
Charlie Walbridge, Savage Races, 1973
Savage at 3000 cfs
Savage in the race course
Yet another great drop.
Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 3
Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 2
Savage 89 Worlds Jon Lugbill - 1
Savage 89 Worlds Eric Jackson
Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 5
Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 4
Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 3
Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 2
Savage 89 Worlds Davey Hearn - 1
Savage 89 Worlds Dana Chaldek
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tonight American Whitewater presented the Town of Friendsville, Maryland with a $5000 check towards the extension of the Upper Yough Access Parking Area. This, combined with a $1000 donation from Keelhaulers Canoe Club, made a strong statement of how much paddlers value the river and the town! Under the leadership of Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle and long time paddler and Friendsville resident Jess Whittemore the town raised $7 in additional funding for every dollar paddlers donated - just like they did on the initial construction! This makes these gifts a great value for the whitewater community. A big shout out and thank you to ALL who donated!
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