Reading gauge (USGS 01471510 Schuylkill River at Reading, PA). Gauge location: 40.334716,-75.936573
Fluctuations in river levels are a normal occurrence, so it is important to always check the appropriate USGS gauges before heading out on the river.
Use this Gauge when paddling between Kerper’s Landing (RM 75.5) and Pottstown Riverfront Park (RM 53.9).
Gauge Height Recommendations
Kerper’s Landing (RM 75.5) to Gibraltar Bridge (RM 67.4): Minimum 2.5 ft*; Good 3.2 ft*.
Gibraltar Bridge (RM 67.4) to Pottstown Riverfront Park (RM 53.9): Minimum 2.5 ft*; Good 3.1 ft*.
* NOTE: The Reading Gauge was temporarily relocated a few years ago because of renovations to the nearby Penn Street Bridge. Until this Gauge is recalibrated or more recent on-water data has been collected, consider Current Gauge Height + 1.5 feet as an approximate calculation that more-closely aligns with the pre-renovation Gauge Height Recommendations above.
Although we do not offer maximum water level recommendations because of all the possible variables, we do want all paddlers to be aware of some of the potential hazards of higher-than-normal water levels and flow. Higher water makes the river move faster and with greater force. It makes maneuvering, put-ins, take-outs, and rescue more difficult and more dangerous. These conditions require quicker decisions and stronger paddling skills. And higher water can flood around riverside trees and over islands (causing hazardous strainer conditions) and can often carry large floating debris, including tumbling trees, down the river.
River Level Predictions
If you are planning a trip a few days into the future, you may also want to look at this Advanced Hydrologic Prediction graph. It shows current USGS Gauge Height and attempts to predict water levels at this gauge a few days in advance, based on weather forecasts and water already up-river in the watershed.