The Gunpowder River watershed consists of two converging freshwater rivers, Gunpowder Falls (also called Big Gunpowder Falls) and Little Gunpowder Falls. Along Gunpowder Falls, dams contain Prettyboy Reservoir and Loch Raven Reservoir.

Big Gunpowder Falls

The Big Gunpowder rises in York County, Pennsylvania and flows southeast into Maryland, passing thru Baltimore County. Northwest of Baltimore, the river’s flow is contained first by Prettyboy Reservoir. The river is contained a second time by Loch Raven Reservoir before continuing its path. At Joppatowne the river is joined by the Little Gunpowder and the Bird River.

Gunpowder River State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park, the largest state park in Maryland, includes several parcels along the river. The area is famous for its spring runs of hickory shad, many of which are caught from US Route 40 north to the fall line.

Gunpowder River Kayaking

Below Prettyboy Dam, water conditions on Big Gunpowder Falls vary from flat water to class III, depending on location and water flows. Big Gunpowder Falls and Little Gunpowder Falls flow over the Piedmont Plateau – Atlantic Coastal Plain Fall Line near US Route 1. When water levels are high on either tributary, kayakers can expect to encounter conditions as high as class III.

Tidal Gunpowder River

The tidal portion of the Gunpowder ranges from the B&O Railroad Bridges on Gunpowder Falls and Little Gunpowder Falls, downstream to the river’s mouth at Joppa.

Related Information

Regional Information

Lakes – Rivers