Gauge Description:


It's never too low for the MD Lines.  Below 2.6' is ELF, but there are runnable channels at least down to 2.4', and most summers the river never gets that low.  So when everyone else is whining about the drought, you still have a class V playground in your backyard.  Count your blessings.  I'd say 2.6' to 2.7' is a good first time level.  Above 2.8' the holes get mean, and above 3.0' they're vicious.  The MD Lines can certainly be run higher than 3.1', but if you're considering it you don't need this guide.


The gage is located at Little Falls (aka Brookmont) Dam, where the river is very wide.  Consequently, an inch on the gage can translate to a foot at Great Falls.  The gage is also 8-9 miles downstream, so if the river is rising or falling rapidly there could be a discrepancy between the gage reading and the actual level.  Scout the rapids visually if there is any doubt.  (You were going to do that anyway, right?)

USGS Potomac River / Little Falls Gage

NOAA Prediction for Little Falls Gage

 

 

 

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
POTOMAC RIVER NEAR WASH, DC LITTLE FALLS PUMP STA
usgs-01646500 2.00 - 3.40 ft V+ 00h25m 4.07 ft (too high)
gauge class Not a good level except for locals with silly names. Pummel is nuts but there are sneaks to the left. Z-turn is huge and merges with Charlie's Hole

gauge graph
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
2.00 -2.85 ft barely runnable-med runnable V gauge is important or has warning It's never too low for the MD Lines. Pencil sharpener, and the far right on Horseshoe are the primary low water lines. Below 2.7 there are distinct pools betw
2.90 -3.20 ft med runnable-a bit pushy runnable V+ gauge is important or has warning Pummel is great in this range but the bottom 2 rapids require more skill. Z-Turn and the river left 'Point' at Horseshoe are the recommended lines above 2.9
3.20 -3.40 ft a bit pushy runnable-high runnable V+ gauge is important or has warning These flows are very pushy and frequented only by experts. Eddying out is difficult so be prepared to run a direct line
3.50 -4.30 ft barely High-extremely High V+ gauge is important or has warning Not a good level except for locals with silly names. Pummel is nuts but there are sneaks to the left. Z-turn is huge and merges with Charlie's Hole
4.30 -6.00 ft somewhat High-somewhat High V+ gauge is important or has warning Horseshoe, and Brine Line levels -the extreme river left side channel. Starts with the Flume, a big slide into a wall, followed by a hole. Then, sneak far left

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Potomac [MD] BOOF! 4.1 Potomac Pathways
Potomac River [MD] Looking down from Pummel n/a Scott Anderson
7y125d05h40m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Account of 12/02/12 a good level Scott Anderson
7y125d05h41m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Account of 12/02/12 a good level Scott Anderson
7y125d05h42m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Account of 12/02/12 a good level Scott Anderson
9y191d05h38m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Entering Pencil Sharpener 0 cfs Brett Mayer
9y191d05h39m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] The Notch 0 cfs Brett Mayer
9y191d05h49m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Horseshoe a good level Brett Mayer
9y191d06h39m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] The Notch a good level Brett Mayer
9y191d06h46m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] the Notch a good level Brett Mayer
9y191d06h49m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) [MD] Low Water 0 cfs Brett Mayer
9y191d06h55m /Potomac River-Great Falls (MD Lines) 'the Notch' a good level Brett Mayer
> 10 years Potomac [MD] The Notch 2.69 Scott Anderson
> 10 years Potomac [MD] Z-Turn 2.76 Scott Anderson
> 10 years Potomac [MD] Pummel 2.9 Scott Anderson