Blackwater - North Fork Confluence to Hendricks

Blackwater, West Virginia, US


North Fork Confluence to Hendricks (Lower Blackwater)

Usual Difficulty III-V (varies with level)
Length 7.345 Miles
Avg. Gradient 88 fpm
Max Gradient 144 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03066000 250 - 1200 cfs III-V 01h22m 136 cfs (too low)

River Description

Keel Hauler Rating - 32

From the top, gradient by mile is:

Put-in 2 mi downstream the North Fork from Thomas past the town of Coketon. Park here, walk 3/4 mi on rail-trail past North Fork Falls. Put-in from an extremely steep goat trail just below the confluence of the Upper Blackwater and North Fork.
Takeout at the AW takeout on the right side of the Black Fork just downstream of the confluence of the Blackwater and Dry Fork in Hendricks.

Mark Anderson adds a description of the run.
- The rapids begin immediately at the putin, so take a breather after the long carry in before launching. The first few rapids are nice technical boulder drops. Then you come to Krakatoa.
- Krakatoa is a sloping ledge into a mean hole followed by a second ledge. Scout this on the left. At lower flows the first ledge can be run left/center with left angle and the second can be boofed off a center shelf. At higher flows, the first ledge hole is harder to clear and the hole feeds undercuts on either side.
- Boof or Consequences (a.k.a. The Ledge or The Boof). This is not far downstream of Krakatoa. Most of the river is constricted over a 5-foot-ish ledge in the center of the river. Scout this as well. Boof the right corner into a right eddy. The pourover created in this drop literally spits sprays of water from the hole.
- Rock & Roll. This follows after some boat-scoutable drops. It is easy to scout this on the right by taking out just above the congested and blind entrance. There is a lot going on in this rapid and it's steeper than it looks, but there's more than one way to approach it. The rocks at the constriction at the bottom are undercut.
- The Slide. On down the river there is a long low-angle slide that goes on for a couple hundred feet with flow that shifts from left to right. Be sure to skirt the big hole at the bottom.
- The Waterfall. Midway through the run there's a 12-or-so-foot sloping waterfall with numerous lines and numerous junky spots. The left and center area seems to be easiest to navigate. There's vertical far right line where the flow lands on a rock shelf.
- Other Notes: People complain about the carry in, but the final 2 flat miles once the gorge widens out seems worse to me. There's plenty of Class IV fun in between the descriptions above. At lower flows there are inconvenient rocks in almost every rapid. At higher flows, there are several places where a boof will make the day go more smoothly.
AW Access Director Jason Robertson's directions and editorial comments:
Heading upriver from Parsons/Davis, turn right at the Hedricks (no-"n") store in Hendricks (with- "n"). Go to the end of the street (3 blocks) and park to left of foot bridge over river.
Heading downriver from the confluence, turn at the first left after the bridge, go to end of street and bear right at the "L", drive to end of street at next "L" will see parking area on left and foot bridge on left.
The site is in dire need of repair. Needs to be mowed/bush-hogged. The change room sidewalls were kicked out by some hoods 2 years ago and have not been repaired.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2013-04-24 13:42:55


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 8 2013 (1116 days ago)
Chris PreperatoDetails
Did the Lower Blackwater Saturday April 6th. There is one tree above Rock and Roll that blocks most
of the channel, there's a path through on the left, but, it's got lots of branches. We walked
right. There's a river-wide log in the run out at the 2nd bridge...easy to portage around/over.
Everything else is "clear" that you can run every rapid, but one of the channels is usually
blocked with a log or branches. Especially after the cascade midway through the run, the 2 miles of
rapids below that have a tree in basically every rapid. There's one towards the end that blocks the
right channel chest high and would be especially nasty. Still very runnable as a whole, but, keep
on your toes, as I'm sure some of it will shift.
March 20 2013 (1135 days ago)
Scott AndersonDetails
There is still some wood in the Lower Blackwater, but as of March 15, 2013 everything is passable
with caution.
July 10 2006 (3580 days ago)
Nori OnishiDetails
The tree in lower blackwater is back again. After all the big rapids there was a tree on a drop
that has a huge boulder in the middle. Old one flushed out two years ago but there was a new on on
July 8 2006. This tree is only constricting the right side and left side is wide open.

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