Photo: Richard Hopley runs Swallow Falls, by Pete Martin. Photo courtesy of the Monocacy Canoe Club.
For a helmet-cam view of the run, check out this video from the Top Yough Race in April of 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3uD704nj5U&feature=related
American Whitewater editor Bob Gedekoh writes:I just learned that several days ago a boater swam above the siphon on Suck Hole on the Top Yough and his boat went down it. Fortunately the boater managed to avoid going down the siphon too. (I was not there when it happened, but heard about it from those who were.) The boat disappeared completely. It was down in there for a couple of days, but has since been recovered. At any rate, the logs, etc that had been blocking the siphon for the past few years have shifted... and the siphon is once again open for business. I think a lot of younger boaters dont even know where the Suck Hole siphon is, or how dangerous it can be, since it has been blocked by debris for so long. Be careful and spread the word. Bob G (FYI the siphon drains the eddy that most people catch at the top of the rapid on the right. This is the eddy just above the huge midstream rock. Look behind you next time you are in that eddy and you will see it.)
Alternate takeout: paddle an extra 4 miles of flatwater and run the Upper Yough!
This one's maybe a little smaller and tighter than the Upper Yough. On balance, it's a bit easier, because the continuous rapids aren't quite so big. Nonetheless, it deserves respect and it's a lot of fun.
Gradient, from putin to takeout: 110, 110, 30. In other words, you have two very busy miles before it flattens.
Rapids of note:Swallow Falls. This is the first rapid, a long slide into a hole. You don't want to go upside-down here, or your paddling clothing and/or skin might suffer. In addition, the hole can be a keeper at higher levels (~3.5'?). Though it looks intimidating, it's not that tough. Call it a Class IV.
Note: recently, a paddler sustained a back injury here. See this photo for a look at the piton rock which can cause injury.Swallow Tail. This 6-foot riverwide ledge comes right after a large pool following Swallow Falls. A good read of the tongue and a few strong strokes should help you avoid some unintentional cartwheeling action. Call this a IV at low levels (less than 3.0?), because it's really a one-move pony; IV+ at higher water, because a successful run requires some precision.Suckhole. This one is a fairly long, very technical rapid with holes and a sieve at the bottom of the big inviting eddy on the right. It's mostly a read-and-run rapid. Call it a 5.0 at 3.0+, because it's complex and there is that sieve.
Directions: To the putin: From I-68, get off at the Friendsville exit. Head South on Rte. 42 about 7 miles.
Head South on Rte. 219 for about 7 miles.
Turn Right on Mayhew Inn Rd.
After about 4 miles, bear left onto Oakland Sang Run Rd. Go about a mile, and park on the left, just before the bridge across the river.
To the Takeout (from the highway):
From I-68, get off at the Friendsville exit. Head South on Rte. 42 about 5 miles.
Head Right onto Gap Run Rd.
After about 0.7 miles, make a Left onto Bishoff Rd.
Head Right onto Sang Run Rd.
After a mile, turn Right onto Crabtree Bottom Rd.
After a mile, turn Right onto Hoyes Run Rd.
Make a Right onto Oakland Sang Run Rd.
The takeout is an easy walk from where you see the road (River View Terrace) from the river. If you see Gap Falls, you've paddled too far.
To get from the putin to the takeout, or vice versa, check the linked Google map.
A nice description of this run can be found at GORP.Other related or nearby streams:Lower Yough (Class III)Bear Creek (Class IV)Upper Yough (Class IV-V)Middle Yough (Class II)
A variety of routes depending on water levels. The scouting rocks on river right are very slippery.
Note: There's a piton rock at the bottom of the slide. In 2012, this was the scene of a back injury. Check out this photo to see the rock at low water.
A big-ol' ledge drop. At higher levels, this can be sticky.
Eddy hop down the left. Don't go into the sieve on the right, just below the big rock at the top that hides most of the rapid. This sieve has swallowed numerous boats over the years. It's especially dangerous when it's not jammed full of logs, bottles, tires, woodchucks, and other debris.
Lat/longitude coordinates are an educated SWAG, from Google Satellite Map.
The Hoyes Run gauge right near the takeout of the Top:
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The directions to the put in are incorrect. It says, "turn right onto Oakland Sang Run Rd" that will take you to the take out. You want to take a left at (google says to "continue") Oakland Sang Run, a right at Swallow Falls Rd, and then park on the left after a mile or so.
Below are directions from Friendsville to the put in. Note that Swallow Falls is clearly visible in the satellite map so this definitely the put in.
So I visited the Top Yough for the first time in 14 years, and I didn't have perfect recall concerning the proper line at Suckhole. I tried the most obvious line, with a vague feeling of some partially-lost memory that there might be some hidden midstream rocks, but thinking that at this higher water level (250 cfs/2.8) than my 2 last times, maybe it would go. Well, I pitoned into some unseen, covered midstream rock(s), ricocheted over to broach on a rock on the right, and had an all-too-interesting recovery, blah, blah, blah, ferrying river left 5 feet above Certain Death, blah, blah, blah, etc. So on my second trip, while I was waiting for my partners who had somehow gotten left behind, and after throwing a rope to a girl who turned out not to need it (nice recovery, Flea), I spied a solo boater who seemed to know the True Line, and who paddled it confidently and with nice momentum, and I, not being an idiot, immediately decided to emulate him, 'cause I know a good thing when I see it! Consequently, I'm here going to describe the ideal line for you, in case you just have to run the hero route despite the presence of a perfectly good sneak route tight to the left. First, a digression: The first mistake that I made on my first run was to start right. This puts one at a bad angle upon entering the constriction at the main ledge. Everything after that is just trying to recover. So, then, the friendliest approach to the hero route starts tight left, drops over the small approach ledge, and then angles rightward across the main ledge drop at the constriction. From here, stay right of the unseen, submerged midstream rocks in the foamy, choppy water, and just left of the intermittently-covered flat rock on the right (where Flea messed up), and then cut a smooth arc back to the left above the ugly pillowed rock just above Suckhole, the left side of which is mildly undercut at this level, so try not to contact it. Your line should describe a backwards C, or a parabola (I think) for you engineering types. It's elegant and uncomplicated, and I hope that this will aid you so we can prevent the pile-up of boats and corpses at Suckhole. Yeah, I always hate it when I have to paddle past a big pile of smelly river-soaked corpses, so let's be safe out there.
On 7-1-09 our party had a boat stuck at the rock at Suck Hole. True to its name it sucked in the boat and it was jammed. It took us three hrs to remove it. Many thanks to the Harrington Manor for their assistance,Chris, Jeremy, and Tim you guys are awesome
go by cfs New
Re: Top Yough know it alls please read: bankfull1 New
Date: May 25 2005, 15:15 GMT
180 is minimum
450 is medium
600 is juicy
1000 is one heck of a ride
its at 450 right now, should hold in the mid 200's for the weekend, which means lots of sweet boofs
The hard rapids actually start well upstream of the suggested putin. If you have an exploratory mindset, check out this section too.
2 years ago
by David Millrod
7 years ago
by Martin Greenberg
by Joseph Hatcher
8 years ago
Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.
The gage referenced is the Oakland gage.
180 is minimum
450 is medium
600 is juicy
1000 is one heck of a ride
People also use the Friendsville gage, which ain't bad. The Friendsville gage includes contributions from Muddy Creek, which can pump up the Top Yough below Swallow Tail, but be careful: it can also include the release from the Deep Creek power plant.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Suck Hole at low water
Thigh straps - optional
Strainer below Suck Hole
Hallway Move on last rapid
Mike at last half of Suck Hole
Just a few minutes from the Top Yough
Suck Hole Approach
Swallow Falls, Boating and Spectators
Swallow Falls - Taber
Swallow Tail Falls
4th Rapid After Suck Hole
3rd Rapid After Suck Hole
2nd Rapid After Suck Hole
First Rapid After Suck Hole
Suck Hole Up Close
8th Below Swallow Tail, Before Suck Hole
7th Below Swallow Tail
6th Below Swallow Tail
5th Below Swallow Tail
4th Below Swallow Tail
3rd Below Swallow Tail
2nd Rapid after Swallow Tail
First Rapid below Swallow Tail
Swallow Tail MD
Swallow Falls, MD
Swallowtail Falls, MD
Swallowtail from the riverbank
Suckhole at the Bottom
Suckhole from above
Muddy Creek Falls
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
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At Maryland's Upper Yough, one of the country's finest whitewater runs, American Whitewater has been maintaining the Sang Run Access for the past 20 years. With the 4th of July weekend coming up, a quick reminder that we are guests of the Town of Friendsville when we take out. In addition changing clothes discretely ad behaving respectfully, please observe social distancing during the pandemic. Garrett County has a low infection rate, and a mask when patronizing local businesses is the norm. We are also beginning our annual fundraiser to pay the expenses American Whitewater has at Sang Run. Out goal is $1,000, and we have already received $160. The Fee Box at Sang Run is still closed due to vandalism. We suggest $20 for the full season; $5 for one weekend. Please donate on line, or use the donation jar at the Wilderness Voyageurs shop at the takeout. Please go to https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Membership/donate/? and put "Upper Yough Access" in the comment box.
American Whitewater super-volunteer Don Millard has been taking care of the Sang Run and Friendsville Access Areas on Maryland's Upper Youghioghenny River for the past several years. This bulds on a 2003 agreement between American Whitewater and Maryland State Parks, which owns the property. This year he rebuilt the change house and porta-pot shelter, set AW's sign back up, filled in potholes, and mowed acres of grass. He not only did the work, he donated the materials and machine time! This work givezs AW strong ties to the community (the place is also a fishing access) and local park managers. Also, thanks to him, boaters are not faced with a $5 access fee at both ends! Please remember, the pandemic is still on. Be smart. If you use the porta-pot, wash your hands or use sanitizer!
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