Upper Yough Whitewater Rafting

Maryland Upper Yough White Water Rafting is Class 4-5 Thrills!

Get your adrenaline fix on the Upper Yough this season! River guides and local kayakers refer to the Upper Yough as the “Dream Stream.” This section of the renowned Youghiogheny River is Maryland’s only Class IV-V whitewater rafting.  It’s a very popular fantastic rafting trip, with limited trip sizes and only 3 guests in a raft. Upper Yough rafting only three times a week from April through October. Releases are generally on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, but please check our trip schedule when you’re making rafting plans. Let’s go adventure!

Upper Youghiogheny River Rafting – What To Expect

The river trip covers 11 miles, and due to the incredibly tight and technical nature of this section of the Youghiogheny, an immense amount of precision rafting is needed to get down the river. Your expert Upper Yough river guides are at the top of their game, with a minimum of five years of rafting experience before they can ever get to the Upper Yough. Tumbling down through the mountains of Western Maryland, this Class IV-V river rafting trip is more like running a steep creek than a river. Fast-paced and action-packed, you have to be on your toes, ready to paddle hard and precisely following the commands of your expert guide!

  • Your day will start at our outfitter store in Friendsville, Maryland.  Located along the banks of the Youghiogheny River and just off Interstate 68, we are easy to find. (Only 30 minutes from Ohiopyle, PA and 15 minutes from Deep Creek Lake, Maryland)
  • There you will receive your rafting equipment and and your initial safety briefing. Once in your gear and properly advised on all safety precautions, you head for the put-in.
  • There you will meet your raft guide, climb into a raft and put on the water!
  • When your trip is over you will arrive at the Wilderness Voyageurs’ Upper Youghiogheny Outpost in Friendsville, MD.  This outpost is riverside, so you will paddle into the takeout where adult beverages and a great meal will be waiting for you


The Upper Yough is Glorious Class V Rafting!

The fun begins with the first two miles of the Upper Youghiogheny being deceivingly calm and tranquil. Enjoy it! Soon you’ll be dropping into Gap Falls & your adrenal glands will start working overtime. You will pick your way down through Class IV rock ledges and tight slots making your way to the pool above Bastard Falls. This is where it gets interesting.  Back to back, you’ll hit four Class V rapids, falling a ridiculous 120 feet per mile. Steep drops, big munchy holes, tight chutes, and powerful wave trains characterize this section of the river. When you pause in the pool below National Falls and gaze back upstream, it will dawn on you that this is what real whitewater is all about.
This is just the beginning to your Class V rafting day. You still have the likes of Heintzerling Falls and Meat Cleaver to deal with, not to mention Powerful Popper, Lost and Found, and the Rockies 1 through 4.


Upper Yough Rafting Trip Guidelines for participants:

The Upper Yough is more strenuous and demanding then many other rafting trips.  The small boat size and and a crew of only 3 guests plus a guide translates into the following:

  • You must be able to pull your own weight, both while in the raft and if you need to get back into the raft, your help is required.  Are you an appropriate height-weight ratio?
  • You should be an active and adventurous individual.
  • You should be an experienced swimmer and are comfortable in the water.
  • You should be able to calm yourself in physically and mentally stressful situations.
  • Previous Class III-IV rafting experience is highly recommended.

If the staff feels that you are not of appropriate physical or mental condition to participate we reserve the right to deny your participation in the trip.


Upper Yough Whitewater Release Schedule

The Upper Youghiogheny has a dam release schedule that begins the third Saturday of April.  Please see the specific release dates below. Weekly Saturday dam releases begin June 18th and run until September 10th. Saturday trips are especially sought after, so book in advance. But the Monday and Friday trips are less crowded, so instead of seeing a boat in every pool, you see the nature that you came to enjoy!


2024 Upper Yough Release Schedule – Friday, Saturday, Monday

APRIL: The last two Saturdays: (4/20 & 4/27)

MAY: The first two Mondays: (5/6, 5/13) The first three Fridays: (5/3, 5/10, 5/17), the first Saturday (5/4)

Memorial Day Weekend 2024: Friday (5/24) and Saturday (5/25)

JUNE: All Mondays, all Fridays, and the last two Saturdays (6/22, 6/29)

JULY: All Mondays, all Fridays, and Saturdays

AUGUST: All Mondays, all Fridays, and Saturdays

SEPTEMBER: All Mondays, all Fridays, and the first two Saturdays (9/7, 9/14)

OCTOBER: The first two Mondays (10/7, 10/14), the first two Fridays (10/4, 10/11), and first Saturday (10/5)

Trip Information

4 - 5

Trip Time - Hours

Varies per water levels & trip size.

Check In Location
Friendsville, MD


Check In Time



April - October dam release days only.


Minimum Age

Hot Meal


Suggested Items to Bring

Quick Dry Clothing
Shoes (not flip flops)
Wetsuits are available to rent

Fully Guided
3 Rafting Enthusiasts and 1 expert guide per boat
  • Friday

  • Saturday

  • Monday


(not including 6.5%  Garrett County Amusement Tax)

River Classification
Class IV-V

Remember this river is dam release and only available Mon & Fri & Sat

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