Tubing on the Gunpowder, Monkton to Glencoe, Maryland


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Directions to the Monkton Parking lot: Take exit 27 on 1-83. Head East on Route 137 Mount Carmel Road. Travel .6 miles. Take a right on York Road Route 145 going south. Travel one block. Take a left on Monkton Road, Route 137 heading east. Travel another 3 miles. At the bottom of the long hill you will see the river, the train station and the parking lot, as well as the tube rental store.

This year I decided to make a tubing trek from Monkton to Glencoe a Mountain Club of Maryland trip so I could get some more detail and pics for all of you who have interest. I didn't do much to advertise this event and only one kind soul showed up to go with me. After making these big plans to get better pics, I ended up leaving my dry bag and good camera at home. So these fuzzy low-resolution pictures taken with my PDA will have to suffice. My apologies!

I had never tubed from Monkton to Glencoe although I have tubed several other stretches of the river. Luckily we had much rain recently and somebody decided to open up the gate up at Pretty Boy so the Gunpowder was flowing fairly fast. The river was still pretty shallow though so we didn't need to worry about drowning. My cohort, Ellen, rented a tube at Monkton Bike Rental, it was a truck inner tube with a really nice cover on it as well as a mesh bottom. Ellen is a MCOMD member who recently moved here from Tucson.

The Gunpowder water was cold as usual. A bird followed us down river and Ellen managed to get herself bit not once, but twice in the same area of her elbow by bees. Her arm puffed up a bit but we were having too much fun to be concerned. I hope she doesn't end up in the hospital tonight.
The river twisted and turned, it took us about 3 hours to get down to Glencoe. We returned to Monkton via the NCR trail.
UPDATE June 2008 For another post about tubing on the Gunpowder River at Big Falls, north of Monkton click on this link I've got directions, map and video for you.

UPDATE July 13, 2011 I went down this Monkton to Glencoe route again yesterday. Air temp was 95 degrees and sunny, and by the time I got out of the water at the second railroad bridge after 3 miles, I was blue from the cold water. The river was absolutely spectacular, I can't say enough good things about this stretch. About every 0.2 miles I met a new big blue heron. The riparian area is alive with kingfishers too. I saw one deer. I don't know who is doing what to clean this place up but there seems to be far less sunken tires and debris in the river and I could see the improvement. The tube rental place is offering a "free" shuttle included with the price of the tube rental to take the tubers to a point north of Monkton, so all the tubers seem to be on that stretch of the Gunpowder now. If you want peace and quiet yet a good tube run then Monkton to Glencoe is for you.

9 comments:

platypotamus said...

we go running and biking along that trail pretty regularly... and have tested the waters from time to time. figured the Gunpowder wouldn't be warm enough for tubing until sometime in late July, or early August. it was pretty hot on Saturday, though, I guess.

Cham said...

The Gunpowder is a conduit for water that runs from Pretty Boy Reservoir to Loch Raven. Since the water comes from a deep lake it stays pretty cool. You can tube now, later in the month or August, the Gunpowder's water will always be cool.

My suggestion is to tube on a hot day.

Malnurtured Snay said...

I didn't know PBR and LRR were connected. Neat! Sounds fun ...

... and wet!

platypotamus said...

yep... the cold temp from that Pretty Boy bottom-water is supposed to be good for the trout. I've tubed the Gunpowder too many times to count, over the past couple of decades - since I was big enough to stay afloat ;). It does always seem more comfortable in the late summer, though.

in any event, always a good time.

oknups said...

The rock and roll adventure on the Big Gunpowder Falls, would be from Pots Rocks, to the little dam below route 7.
Pots rocks is below rt 1. There is a rather long flat water section "The long calm" maybe 3/4 mile up river from the rt 7 bridge and about 150 yards long then the river starts to drop again. The drop from route 7 to the point the river becomes tidal is supposed to be about 27 ft in maybe 1/2 mile it really moves after a good thunderstorm.
The whole run is best after a good storm.
When I was a kid my friends and I used to run it on beach mats, pool mats? not sure what there are called.

Cham said...

Thanks oknups, I will have to try that after a good rain.

Anonymous said...

i am going to so do that today

Anonymous said...

how did you get stung by bees on the river? I hate them, I thought youd be safe floating along.

thanks

D

Cham said...

There is a lot of vegetation along the river, much of it flowering. I can see why there would be bees around. I haven't had a problem with bees since that tubing trek back in 2006, our concern was that my friend was mildly allergic to bee stings. She was okay though. If you have an issue with bees I would recommend long pants and long sleeves, that way there would be minimal skin exposure to the air.