Potomac (Mather Gorge)
|Stretch:||Base of the Great Falls to either Anglerís Inn or Lock 10|
|Difficulty:||Class II to III|
|Distance:||2 to 6.5 miles|
|Flows:||2.0 to 7.0+ ft Ė 3.0 ft is ~2,850 cfs. Current American Whitewater gauge|
|Gradient:||12.4 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Base of the Great Falls|
|Take-out:||Anglers Inn parking area or Lock 10 parking area.|
|Shuttle:||2 to 6 miles|
I donít have a whole lot to say about this section. We only did the top half of it as a paddle out from the falls. Most people choose to walk back to the top to make it so only one car is required. But since we had additional cars, and plenty of spare time on our hands, we opted to float through this nice and scenenic gorge. The river starts off with some mellow class II to III- rapids just below the falls before turning flat until the Difficult Run Rapids. Downstream of the Anglerís Inn there are a few more rapids but it sounds pretty mellow. I would recommend this float. It was prettyÖ and why not, saves you from having to carry your boat anymore than necessary, and I am always a fan of that!
- O-Deck (III-). Directly below the Great Falls, the channels all combine and drop over a wave train that has a great surf wave at higher flows.
- Fishladder (II+ to III-). Directly above the Fishladder which enters on the left is a fun rapid with an entertaining boof on the far right.
S-Turn (II+ to III-). Directly below the Fishladder, the river tightens and collides with the walls and causes some swirly eddy lines to negotiate. I can imagine at high flows the center rock turns into a bit of a pour over making matters a little tougher. You could easily go around it all on the left though.
The next mile and change is flat water in a really cool gorge.
- Difficult Run Rapids (II+). We ran the Maryland line which was down the far left channel. It had a nice little surf wave that I am sure gets better with higher water. Just run down the center of the channel.
Take-out: From DC, take the George Washington Memorial Parkway to Us-495. Cross the Potomac on US495 and immediately exit to take Clara Barton Parkway and head upriver. This quickly Tís with MacArthur Blvd, turn left and continue heading up river. In 1.1 miles you will get to Anglerís Inn, using the parking across the street on the left to access the river. Alternatively, downriver an additional 2.5 miles is Lockhouse 10
Put-in: In another 2.3 miles you will get to the park entrance. It is ~$30 for a year pass for the park, or ~$10. Head down the canal trail (to the left as you face the canal) to the river just below where the Fish Ladder rejoins the main flow.
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