Potomac River Near Williamsport MD

I am looking for advise for running the Potomac River. I want to put in in Cumberland to Shepherdstown. This is a 130 mile trip. I have done the Cumberland to Hancock trip a few times and want to extend on down. What obstacles should I be looking for? I know that I will have to portage around Williamsport power plant and Dam #4. Is there any other areas that I will need to be concerned about?

Thanks for your help!


– Last Updated: Aug-31-10 9:26 AM EST –

I've done the entire Potomac from D.C. to the Chesapeake but not the upper sections. But, many members of the Chesapeake Paddlers Association have done all the upper Potomac. Post at:



Sweet, another local kayak site to browse!

Chesapeake Paddlers Association
I think you will like Chesapeake Paddlers Association. Most of the activity is on the General Forum, but it’s not as active as Paddling.net.

Here is the direct link to the forums:


I am BayMystic on the forums.


dam # 5 …

– Last Updated: Aug-31-10 8:22 PM EST –

...... about a mile below Four Locks ,

talking w/Bill last week , he said the river is about as low as he ever remembers seeing it - that's low !! (river wide gravel bars , ledges , etc. exposed , some wells running dry)

4.9 at Paw Paw enters the "yellow" , 3.5 at Hancock enters the "yellow" .

It rose up for a 24 hr. period at Paw Paw yesterday , rose at Hancock today ... back down now .

Notice the cfs increases by about a factor of 3 for a 1.25' rise (PawPaw) , and 0.8' (Hancock) . Both came close to the "yellow/caution" zone ... check link ,


I wonder how it will be with real low water , a little more than a 1/2 mi. above the Cacapon where the MD. shore juts out (looks like Florida) and islands below ??

When are you planning ??

would love to hear more…

– Last Updated: Aug-31-10 9:11 PM EST –

when are you planning to go? in how many days?
if you use the Panoramio layer in Google Earth there are some good shots of Dams 4 & 5, as well as of some of the campsites along the way. would also like to know about the portages... I'd like to do that trip myself.

I think one of my paddling buddies has a WV river guide... I can borrow it if you want to know what it says about that stretch of the Potomac.

I want to go the first week in October. Hoping to have some rain and decent water levels by then? I did the first half of this trip in April with the water level at about 2.5 ft and had no problems.

Google earth
Has always been my friend! What what I see online there is 3 dams I will have to portage. Dam 5 about a half mile before the 81 bridge, The power plant at the same bridge and dam 4 about ten miles before synders landing.

I am planning on doing 25-30 miles a day which should put me at 4 days, maybe 5 depends on how it is going.

There is always room on the river for one more…

2.5 at which station ??

– Last Updated: Aug-31-10 11:35 PM EST –

....... we've got 6 days set to hang out around Paw Paw to Hancock in Sept. ... I'm kinda dreading low water , but we won't be trying to cover miles , we're hanging out and fishing (just me and her in our tandem)

there's really no way to tell this far out in advance , but late Sept. through all of Oct. there is increased chance for quick onset of "big" rains over a day or two , which can cause the river (up there) to rise real fast (especially since it's been so dry in that region this year) , increases well into the red (danger) zone , flash flood , etc. ... I'm sure you have your own ways and tools too , I'll suggest you keep an eye on the QPF and related Wx systems "as alaways" when heading out on the rivers for extended days and all that hoopla be careful stuff ... enjoy !!

hey there sapien, how ya been …