Tohickon Creek Trip Reports

Date: Saturday 5/9/98
Level: After several days of rain, 4 feet on the Ralph Stover Gauge; 3000 CFS at the Pipersville Gauge.
Weather: Rainy
John / Mary Koeppe, C-2
Rob Kelly, K-1
Rich Kulawiec, K-1

This was a VERY high-water run on the Tohickon; for comparison, normal release levels are about 1.8 feet or 780 CFS, yielding a class III-IV trip.

At 4 feet, the Tohickon from Ralph Stover to the mouth is one rapid that's 3.5 miles long. Eddies are scarce and difficult to reach. Most of the river is continuous class III, with several rapids of IV+ difficulty. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that this is NOT a runfor novice or intermediate paddlers: the consequences of any kind of mishap would likely be loss of equipment -- at a minimum -- and possibly significant injury to the boater. A run on the Tohickon at this level should only be attempted by boaters who are (a) familiar with the river at normal release levels and higher; (b) confident of their self-rescue abilities (translation: reliable combat roll in class III water) (c) able to boat-scout and navigate long, complex rapids and (d) in the company of other equally-skilled paddlers.

Scouting: Triple Drop (river right; all three drops should be scouted at once due to current velocity); Racecourse (river left).

All that said, it's a heck of high-speed paddle. Most of the rapids are unrecognizable -- the *only* rock sticking out of the water was Pyramid Rock, late in the run. Everything else was underwater, often forming huge pourover-type holes. At this water level, this trip was significantly more difficult than the Deerfield Monroe Bridge Section (aka The Dryway). But if you're up to it, it's an excellent training run for big-water paddling. But be prepared for a river that is very different than the one you find at 3 feet (1800 CFS), a level at which it still looks like the Tohickon. At 4 feet, it looks more like Upper Keeney in the New River Gorge.

Rich Kulawiec

Date: Sunday, 3/31/96
Level: Release at 2.7'
Weather: Sunny, air temp in the 60s, water cold
Group: Just me (your never alone when you're with yourself)
Equipment: Crossfire

Beautiful weather, they moved the release from mid-March to the end of March due to previous years of bad weather - good decision. Didn't have a race this year. Put in at Ralph Stover park and took out on the Delaware. Not as crowded as the fall releases, but still a lot of people on the river. Stayed out of Fish or Swim and the holes in the last rapid, but otherwise surfed until my hands went numb (got to get some gloves).

Date: Saturday, 7/26/97
Level: 2 days after a heavy rain, 0.5 on the park gauge, about 200 cfs
            Click to see gauge chart for that day.
Weather: Sunny, air temp in the high 80s, water temperature warm
Group: me, my wife and 2 kids
Equipment: 11' Momentum raft

A great day, quite a bit different from the cold weather of the releases.  It was the first time we took the kids down the river, and it was a nice level for it - not at all pushy.  But I would not want to run it much lower.  A lot of exercise avoiding the rocks on the flatter sections.  The drops had enough water to provide a clean line down each one, and were a lot steeper than normal - the kids were pretty impressed by the whitewater.  The race course took a lot of maneuvering, but there were good lines down the entire stretch.

We ran all the drops, and only got briefly hung up once or twice. We did a 360 coming down the last ledge drop above Hat's rock - the current tended to push you to the left of the rock.  We snuck Pyramid rock to the left - the right side looked like it had raft wrapping potential.  Had to drag the raft over a few shallow rocks on the left side of it.

A couple kayakers had apparently put on earlier, but we had the river all to ourselves.  All in all, a great way to spend a hot summer's day.

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This information is my opinion only and may not reflect actual conditions. It is based on my usually hazy memory, and should not be used to decide whether you or your guides are qualified to run the river.  TOP Back to the 
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