Upper Yough

Dam Release Class V Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Yough!


Don't miss the amazing beauty and heart-pumping action of the Upper Yough. Spots are limited, don't miss the boat- Reserve today.

What makes the Upper Yough so special…

With its drop of up to 116 feet per mile, the Upper Yough is one of the steepest commercially rafted rivers in the country!
Your rafting adventure on the Upper Yough begins when you enjoy the scenery in the deceptively calm entrance pool. You’ll soon find the river’s main attraction…whitewater, and plenty of it! Even the Class III rapids we warm up on will get your attention. Soon, you will be headed into the “heart” of the Upper Yough.
Get ready to be careening through the tightest of slots in boulder-piles like “Split Decision” and the “Fat Man’s Squeeze”.  The “heart” of the Upper Yough is something very special…virtually one continuous Class V rapid! There’s simply nothing else like it anywhere! To get through this stretch, you must skillfully paddle over 20 Class IV and V rapids, including such famous monsters as “Bastard”, “Meatcleaver”, and “Cheeseburger Falls”. In the majestic Upper Yough gorge, the river commands your attention and precise cooperation is needed to skillfully navigate the many blind chutes and ledge drops. This 11-mile trip is one of the world’s finest. If you’ve rafted before and want to climb to the top of the rafting ladder, the Upper Yough is an absolute must. Space is limited so “don’t miss the boat”!
Running a river as challenging as the Upper Yough requires the highest standards of professionalism in both the company you choose and the guides that company employs. Upper Yough Expeditions pioneered commercial rafting on the Upper Yough and has been running the river commercially for over 35 years. Our safety record is unsurpassed. Our rafts are top-shelf…self-bailing rafts with footcups and safety straps. Type V Coast Guard approved PFD’s and helmets are provided for every trip. Because of the intense and highly technical nature of the Upper Yough, each raft will have a guide and a maximum of three guests. Every trip is accompanied by a safety kayak.
Our guides are seasoned professionals who specialize in Class V river descents. Each is an expert in navigating paddle rafts in steep, technical whitewater. They have come to the Upper Yough because they feel that this unique river is the perfect expression of their need to be at the top of their profession. Each of our guides has an intimate knowledge of the river and respects it for both its beauty and it dangers. As professionals, we take pride in minimizing risks and giving you the most exciting trip possible. We have an unblemished safety record and that is directly attributable to the caliber of the boatmen we employ. Each guide carries valid Advanced First Aid and CPR certifications. Most are have received training from the ACA in Swiftwater Rescue.


  • Class V

  • Age 16+

  • Fully Guided

  • Must be up for an active day of paddling

  • Previous Rafting Required

  • Runs Friday, Saturday, and Monday

  • Small rafts of 1-3 guests plus guide

  • 4 to 5-hour trip starting around lunchtime


  • Chevron down How To Prepare
  • Dress to get wet! Wear whatever you are comfortable getting wet in and whatever is suitable for the weather of the day. In the spring when temps are cool, we have wetsuits available to rent ($10, cash only). You should plan to wear a bathing suit or synthetic layer under the wetsuit. It comes with a heavy, coated nylon paddle jacket to keep your core warm. For spring and summer, you want to avoid wearing any cotton for your rafting adventure. It is best to stick to all synthetic/sport materials, such as UnderArmor. Everyone will need to have shoes that you can wear on the river. Old sneakers, sport sandals, or well fitting water shoes are your best option. Sunscreen is recommended on sunny days. Don’t forget dry clothes and a towel for after the trip.


  • Chevron down Trip Requirements
  • Due to the extreme and continuous nature of the rapids, this trip demands a total team effort and is not recommended for the light-hearted. Participants who wish to challenge the Upper Yough should expect to paddle hard and therefore, should be in good physical shape. Inactive, out-of-shape people who cannot pull their weight will not be permitted to raft the Upper Yough.  No one under the influence of alcohol or abusing drugs will be permitted to raft the Upper Yough. You must be 16 years of age or older and must be accompanied by an adult if under 18 years of age. Previous rafting experience is required.  This is a half-day trip, and we provide all needed equipment with a guide and wetsuits are available to rent.

  • Chevron down Safety First
  • Safety is the most important aspect of rafting with an experienced outfitter. As pioneers of commercial rafting on the Upper Yough, we strive to offer you the safest, most exciting trip possible. However, a good white water river has inherent dangers. To make people aware of this, we require all rafters to sign a liability release form before each trip. A copy of this release is available upon request.  The Upper Yough is very remote river and as such, does not allow easy access by emergency personnel.  Be aware that you will be in a remote wilderness location and access to medical help will not necessarily be available.  As with any white water trip, we reserve the right to switch the crafts we are using and the rivers we are rafting, according to the water levels.

  • Chevron down What To Expect
  • Upper Yough trips have a meeting time of 11am (April, May, September, and October) or 12pm (June, July, and August).  There is no need to arrive early. It is recommended that fuel up with a hearty breakfast or early lunch before your trip as there will be no food stops on the river run.   Most trips are provided with amazing pepperoni rolls (a local tradition) and drinks after the trip. (Occasionally, the Café is closed, and we are stuck with only drinks). Upper Yough Expeditions does not take photos of the trips, but there is usually a freelance photographer who does, and they are generally available in the park after trips to show and sell photos.  Tipping of your guide is customary and appreciated if you feel they showed you a quality and memorable day on the river. Cash is appreciated, but tips can be tacked onto your bill.

Upper Yough Expeditions
Phone (800) 248-1893
Map Marker

PO Box 158
Friendsville, MD 21531