Neshannock Creek

A. Mercer to Volant                                        12.0 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Pol              Level

     I               9/20                                Small                                  A/A                          

                                                                                                                           Streamside

Topographic Maps: Mercer, New Castle North

County Maps: Mercer

Description: This section starts out as a flat land area stream with Class C water. Then occasional small hills can be seen, as it becomes a pleasant Class I run. No strainers were encountered, but they are always a possibility. Anglers are fond of the trout fishing in this creek, especially around the Borough of Volant. [Reported 1998]

Difficulties: None

Shuttle: Put in at the State Route 58 Bridge at the eastern end of Mercer. To reach the take-out, follow State Route 58 west into Mercer and turn left/south on US Route 19. Follow US Route 19 for about 7.0 miles to State Route 168. Turn right/southwest onto State Route 168. Go about 2.5 miles to Volant and State Route 208. Turn right/west on State Route 208 and go about 100 yards to the bridge.

Gauge: None. The shallowest part can be seen by taking a one mile side trip west on Leesburg Station Road (State Route 2002) from the Springfield Falls Intersection.

Normal Wet Period: No available statistics on seasons. Since this section is small, it should normally be runnable approximately January through April.

B.  Volant to Lakewood Park                         9.5 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

     II             27/60                  Medium (228/243)                   A-B/A                        
                                                          East Brook                                 

Topographic Maps: New Castle North

County Maps: Lawrence

Description: After about 2.5 miles in Class I-II riffles, steep banks rise on both sides, homes and fishing camps disappear behind you. The creek swings left and then right, and a twisting S-turn of white froth leads you between two high piers, "the Guardians of the Gorge." This is the first of four Class II-plus rapids, which, together with another four easier Class II's, form the 0.8 miles of the Neshannock Gorge. All too soon, you pass out of the gorge, under the Lakewood Road bridge. The remainder of the trip alternates pools with short riffles. [Checked 1998]

Difficulties: About 2.7 miles into the trip is the gorge. Four hard Class II rapids require solid skill at technical maneuvering. When the water gets high, the rapid after the Guardians develops a nasty hole at the very end. Scout on river right.

Shuttle: Put in in the town of Volant. The trip can be shortened 2.5 miles by putting in at the State Route 956 bridge, or at the covered bridge on a side road running north about 0.1 miles from the State Route 956 bridge. To get to the take-out, go southeast on State Route 956. Turn right/south on State Route 168. Turn right/west on State Route 1002. The Penn­syl­van­ia Fish and Boat Commission Neshannock Creek Access Area is just west of the bridge on river right downstream. Inter­mediate access is available at the Lakewood Road bridge below Neshannock Falls, and near the mouth of the Little Neshannock Creek.

Gauges: We do not have enough information to report runnable levels on this section.

Normal Wet Period: No available statistics on seasons. Since this section is medium-sized, it should normally be runnable approximately December through May.

C.  Lakewood Park to New Castle                4.3 miles

Class           Grad                    Size (Area/Volume)                  Scene/Poll             Level

   I-II           18/26       Medium (228/243) East Brook      A-B/A-B
                                       Medium (244/407) New Castle

Topographic Maps: New Castle North

County Maps: Lawrence

Description: Although this section never enters a true gorge, it usually has high, wooded cliffs on one side or the other. The pace starts out gently, with Class I drops alternating with short pools. It gradually picks up, and the last 2 miles into New Castle are almost continuous Class II rock gardens with maneuvering and standing waves. [Checked 1998]

Difficulties: None.

Shuttle: Put in at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Neshannock Creek Access Area, west of Lakewood Park on State Route 1002. The parking lot is river right downstream of the bridge. To reach the take-out, go east on State Route 1002 about 0.4 miles to Lakewood Road, at the top of the first hill. Turn right onto Lakewood Road. Go about a mile, and turn right/south onto State Route 168. Go about 2 miles into New Castle. At the bottom of the hill as you approach town, turn right onto the first bridge, then immediately right again to head upstream on river right. Take out along this road.

Gauges: We do not have enough information to report runnable levels on this section.

Normal Wet Period: No available statistics on seasons. Since this section is medium-sized, it should normally be runnable approximately December through May.