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Tip for going over the dam: stay to the left; there is a break in the wall and you can get over much easier. Now I go to Meadville most of the time but I have done just about all of French Creek... now this run is very easy and fun it has lots of islands and cut outs. As you start, you cross under a bridge and come to an island where the boat launch is, then another bridge... from here about the next .73 miles is very nice water - it can get low, but is full of life and big flat rocks you can lay on in the low water. My dog loves to run on them.
There are many more islands as you make your way to Meadville and I have found if you stay to the right of them it makes for easier passage except when you come into Meadville where it gets sad as the water is full of trash and junk - shame.
This trip takes me about 3-4 hours depending on water level and how much my dog wants to play. No real rapids or waterfalls but a nice day trip.
I've done this route about 50+ times over the past 3 years in my canoe and 100+ in my kayak.
EZ-Dock modular docks
Canoe Pack Liner
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles