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Keel Haulers River Ratings

These are the generally accepted river ratings for normal water levels indicated. Weather and water conditions can drastically alter the nature and difficulty of any river. Water level is extremely critical and it should be determined prior to accepting these general river guidelines. Ratings are not a substitute for careful scouting and a realistic evaluation of one's own paddling skills. Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.

Classification of Rivers

Basis of River Ratings
Average Gradient Maximum Gradient Volume river vs Gradient
Width of River Ease of Rescue Inaccessibility
Difficulty of Rapids Continuousness and/or rapid length Obstacles, rocks, trees, undercuts
Water Temperature

 

International Rating Definitions

International River Rating Vs. Keel-Hauler Rating

International Rating Keel-Hauler Rating Points
I 0 - 7
II 8 - 14
III 15 - 25
IV 26 - 33
V 34 - 37
VI 38 - 42

When Comparing Two River Sections
A lower rating does not mean that you can't run a harder section, only that you will be much more challenged

+/- 1 point     Very Similar
+/- 2 points Noticeable Difference
+/- 3 points Meaningful Difference
+/- 5 points Profound Difference

Keel Haulers List of River Ratings

Rate your Ability and compare to the following river ratings.

  • * Rating based on a short portage of a rapid which might significantly increase the section rating.

    Can't Find your river listed? Check alphabetical listing.
    Alphabetical Listing of KEEL HAULERS River Ratings

    Revised 09/26/11

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    Class II
    Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.

    Difficulty Rating

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    7

    Little Beaver (OH)

    8

    Kokosing (OH)

    Pine Creek (PA)

    Vermilion (OH) (1)

    10

    Chattooga II (GA)

    N. Fk. Little Beaver (OH)

    12

    Yough, Middle (PA) 2'

    Cacapon (WV)

    13

    Slippery Rock, Lower (PA) 2'

    Casselman, Ft. Hill-Conflu.(PA) 2' Markleton

    Hiawassee (TN) 2000 cfs

    13

    Lower Stonycreek River (PA) Carpenters - Greenhse Ferndale 3.5

    Tuckasegee, Sect 3 (NC)
    Dillsboro to 1392 - 700 CFS * 

     

    14

    Conoquenessing (PA) 1.6' Zelienople

    Middle Fork Tygart (WV) 5' Above Audra

    Yough, Below Bruner Run (PA) 2

    14

    Laurel Hill Creek (PA) 600 cfs

    Quemahoning Crk- Boswell, Ferndale 5

     
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    Class III
    Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.

    Difficulty Rating

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    15

    Cattaraugus Creek Canyon (NY)

    16

    Cuyahoga Gorge (OH) 600 cfs

    Missinaibi (Ont)

    Casselman To Ft. Hill (PA) 3' Markleton

    17

    Rocky River, West Br. (OH) 2.5'

    Arkansas, SR24 to Nathrop (CO) 2.5

    New, Prince - Thurmond (WV)

    18

    James River (VA) 3000 cfs

    Clear Shade (PA) Fern 5'

    Cheat Narrows (WV) 2'

    18

     Potomac, N.Br.,  Bloom.(MD) 1000cfs

    Wolf River, Section 3 (WI) 400cfs

     

    19

    Nantahala (NC)

    Hopeville Canyon (WV) 6'

    Cheat, Dry Fork (WV) Parsons 4.5'

    20

    Haw, Lower (NC) 3000 cfs

    Cuyahoga Gorge (OH) 1200 cfs

    Slippery Rock Gorge (PA) 0'

    20

    Shade (PA) Fern 4.5'

       

    21

    French Broad -Hot Sp.(NC) 2000 cfs

    Meadow, Middle (WV) 500cfs

    Saint Francis, (MO) medium flow

    21

    Stony Creek (PA) Fern 3.5'

    Slippery Rock Gorge (PA) 2'

    Pigeon (TN) 1200-1500 cfs

    22

    N. Fk. Umpqua (OR)

    Trinity below Pigeon Pt (CA)

    Snake River, Canyon (WY) 5k cfs

    22

    Tellico, Lower (TN) 400 cfs

    Chattooga III (GA) 1.8' *

    Rio Sico (Honduras)

    23

    Clear Creek/Obed (TN) 2000 cfs

    Rogue River, Wild section (OR)

    Hudson Gorge (NY) 3'

    23

    Yough, Lower (PA) 2'

    Upper Big Sandy (WV)

    Little Sandy (WV)

    23

    Shavers Fork, Bemis (WV) 1000cfs

    Reventazon (Costa Rica)

    Russell Fork, above Breaks (VA) 800 cfs

    23

    Wolf River, Section 4 (WI) 400cfs

    Peshtigo, Roring Rapids (WI) 12" or 5' USGS

    24

    Arkansas, Brown's Canyon (CO) 1500 cfs

    Middle Fork Salmon (ID) 3'

    Lowe, Keystone Canyon (AK)

    24

    Obed DBT - Nemo (TN) 2000 cfs

    Tygart, Arden (WV) 2.5' *

    Rio Blanco (Ecuador)

    25

    Big South FK. Gorge (TN) 2000 cfs

    Big Laurel (NC) Newport 4000cfs

     

    25

    Poudre, Rustic-Narrows pg (CO) 4'

    Snake River, Canyon (WY) >12k cfs

    Animas, City run (CO)

    25

    Ocoee (TN) 1200 cfs

    Nolichucky (TN) 1800 cfs

    Savage (MD) 1000 cfs

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    Class IV
    Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.
    Difficulty Rating

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    26

    Stony Creek (PA) Ferndale 5'

    Williams (WV) 450 cfs

    Cranberry (WV) 4.5'

    26

    Cheat Canyon (WV) 2.5' Albright

    Black River (NY) *

     

    26

    Lochsa (ID) 6000 cfs

    Eagle River, Dowds (CO)

    Nenana, Gorge (AK)

    26

    Yough, Lower (PA) 5'

    Teeters Creek (WV)

    Grand Canyon (AZ) 10,000 cfs *

    26

    Rio Cangrejal, Lower (Honduras)

    Gros Ventre (WY)

    Menominee, Piers Gorge (MI/WI) 2000 cfs

    27

    Gauley, Lower (WV) 2800 cfs

    Meadow, Upper (WV) 1500 cfs

     Chauga, Gorge (SC) 1.5'

    27

    Daddy's Creek, Canyon (TN) 1.5'

    N. Fork. Potomac, Kitzmiller (WV) 4.5'

    Moose, Lower (NY) 5'

    27

    Ottawa River (Ont.)

    New River Gorge (WV) 1'

    Little River (TN) *

    27

    Clear Creek (CO) - Lower Golden 425 cfs

    Beaver, Taylorville (NY)

    Nantahala Cascades (NC)

    28

    Ocoee, Olympic section (TN) 1600 cfs

    Tellico, Upper (TN) 500 cfs

    Pacuare (Costa R)

    28

    S. Fk. Payette, Staircase (ID)

    Poudre, Up. Misch to Pine View (CO) 4'

    Tygart, Gorge (WV) Belington 5'

    28

    Nolichucky (TN) 4000 cfs

    Cuyahoga, Upper Gorge (OH), 600cfs*

    Doe Gorge (TN)

    29

    Wilson Creek Gorge (NC) 0-3"

    Falls River (MI) medium flow

    Fikes Creek (PA) *

    29

    Arkansas, Royal Gorge (CO) 1500 cfs

    Kicking Horse, Middle (BC)

    Kennebec Gorge (ME) 4500 cfs

    29

    Middle Fork Tygart (WV) 4' Audra

    S. Fk. Payette, Canyon (ID)

    Cheat Canyon (WV) 5' Albright

    29

    Rio Cangrejal, Top/Upper (Honduras)

    French Broad, NF (NC)

    Beaver, Moshier (NY)

    30

    Tinkers Creek (OH) *

    Misahualli,Upper (Ecuador)

    Arkansas, Numbers (CO) 1500 cfs

    30

    Yough, Top (MD) Oakland 3.0'

    Moose, Bottom (NY) 3'  *

    Roaring Fork, Slaught. (CO) 3'

    30

    Cheoah (NC) - 1000 cfs

    Stony River, Mt Storm to Kitz (WV) 5.5

    Pigeon Dries (NC)

    31

    Big Sandy, Lower (WV) 5.2' - 6.1' *

    Chattooga IV (GA) 1.8' *

    Rio Cangrejal, Middle (Honduras)

    32

    Upper Yough (MD) 2'

    Blackwater, Lower (WV) 350 cfs Davis

    Misahualli, Lower (Ecuador) *

    32

    Clear Creek (CO), Black Rock 450 cfs*

    Laurel Creek (WV)

    Little River Canyon (AL)

    33

    Gauley, Upper (WV) 2800 cfs

    Penobscot, Crbwrks (ME) 3500 cfs

    Big Sandy, Lower (WV) 6.8' *

    33

    Deadwood (ID) Top - Bottom

    Rio Cosonga (Ecuador)

    Beaver, Eagle (NY)

     33

    Pigeon, West Fork (NC)    
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    Class V
    Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.

    Difficulty Rating

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    34

    Animas, Upper (CO) *

    Yough, Upper (MD) >2.6'

    Big Creek, Upper (TN)

    34

    Tallulah Gorge(GA) 700 cfs

    Watauga Gorge (NC) 350 cfs

    Santeetlah, Upper (NC)

    35

    Overflow Creek (GA) 2.5'

    Poudre, Narrows (CO) *

    Arkansas, Pine Cr. Can. (CO) 1000 cfs

    35

    Russell Fork (KY) 1000 cfs

    Rio Jondachi, Lower (Ecuador)

    Poudre, Spencer Hts (CO) *

    35

    Racquette (NY) 720 cfs

    Potomac - Great Falls

    Whitewater, Upper (NC)

    36

    Horsepasture (NC)

    Payette, N. Fork (ID) 2000 cfs

    Green Narrows (NC)  *

    36

    Blackwater, Upper (WV) 350cfs Davis

    Blackwater, North Fork (WV)

    Big South Fork, Poudre (CO) *

    36

    Little Pigeon, West Prong (TN)

    Pigeon, Big East Fork (NC)

    Meadow, Lower (WV)

    37

    Linville (NC)

    Raven Fork (NC)

    Road Prong (NC)

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    Class VI
    Ratings are indicative of the paddler skill level required to attempt the entire section not just the difficulty of individual rapids.

    Difficulty Rating

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level

    River Section (State) level


    Please send opinions and corrections to John Kobak -Keel-Haulers Canoe Club E-Mail to Webmaster E-Mail to Webmaster

    River ratings from other sources

    AWA's Examples of Class I-III Rated Rapids

    AWA's Examples of Class IV Rated Rapids

    AWA's Examples of Class V Rated Rapids

    Monocacy Canoe Club's Ranking of Eastern Rivers

    California Creekin'- California River Ratings

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