Little Stony Creek, Virginia, US
Little Stony Falls to Hanging Rock
||IV-V (for normal flows)
Little Stony Falls
Little Stony FallsPhoto of Dave Blanding by Ryan Petering taken 03/07/04 @ High
Little Stony offers just about every creeking scenario there is. It has ledges (BIG ledges),
slides, difficult boulder gardens and is continuous for pretty much the entire 3 mile run. The run
drops about 780' for an average gradient of 260' fpm. Better have your ducks in a row for this one.
Ain't nothing worse than unorganized ducks.
From the put in near the parking lot the creek doesn't look that menacing. The water is flowing
along a rock bottom and flows over a series of small slides for about a 100 yds before the
proverbial bottom falls out.
--- LITTLE STONY FALLS ---
Little Stony Falls is a 28 vertical waterfall that lands in a large pool. The pool is about 10?
deep so penciling is not a bright idea. This drop has broke ankles and backs so have your mind
right before you attempt it. To run set up in the river right eddy above the drop. The lead in is a
slide that angles slightly to the left. Maintain you bow straight or slightly to the right but stay
in the center of the drop. People launch and land this one at every conceivable angle but keep in
mind that it is more shallow on the left and running left has the tendency to make people pencil
Next up is an 11' ledge that is usually run on the left. The right side is vertical but very
shallow at the base. Boof as far out as you can roughly 5? from the left bank. You will land on a
clapper(shelf) about 6' down. If you launch out far enough you will land on a slope and slide the
remainder of the drop. Low water will probably mean
that you won't get an optimum launch, so brace yourself and don't sit up straight.
Just around the corner is Big Falls of Little Stony. This 35-40 footer is pretty spectacular
looking. Due to its massive width the flow isn't concentrated, which results in a shallow pool. The
water at the base of this thing is probably only 5-6' deep. It has been ran but no description will
be given here. If you?ve got the skill for this one, you shouldn?t need this guide. Note that only
3 people have run the Big Falls. The best portage spot is a
couple of hundred feet upstream on river left but if you've gone too far you can still get out
30-40' above the falls on the river left bank.
You have now made it down 1/6th of the creek. The rapids between the ledges have been pretty tame
to this point but this is where the ledges end and the last rapid begins. Well at least it seems
like one rapid from here to the take out at Hanging Rock. This is the beginning of the first of two
boulder garden sections that is broken by the occasional slide. Be wary of pinning spots and
strainers. A large stream coming in from the left tells that Turn Signal is right around the
Turn Signal is a steep twisting drop into a roostertail of water slamming off a ledge on the right
bank. Ride the roostertail off the ledge to miss the undercut rock on the left. After this paddle
the boogie water down to the interesting part of the run.
--- MANHOLE ---
The boogie water you just paddled will lead you into probably the toughest boulder garden on the
run. The first significant rapid is Manhole. This rapid is named for the large manhole size sieve
at the crux move. It can be portaged on the left. To run it enter either right or left to avoid the
shit rocks. As you approach a horizon line you will enter a 10' wide channel between two boulders.
Here's the crux. BE left of center or center. You are now less than a paddle length from a sieve
big enough for you and probably your boat. Definitely no place to be. Boof left over the 5' ledge
into the eddy. Now your ready for the Chessboard.
--- CHESSBOARD ---
If you carried manhole keep on truckin' around the Chessboard. This rapid has hotter moves than a
three balled tomcat. This rapid has several must make moves with plenty of pinning potential and
undercut rocks. The entrance is on the right, the biggest move is in the middle and you finish in
the center. Look this one over good. Many carry this one and most everyone do at high water. Your
about halfway through.
Now it's time for a little fun before the finale. After Chess Board the creek lets up for just a
moment and then its on to the slides.
The slide section is one of the more enjoyable sections of the creek. There are several slides with
the most notable being Peel Away. This is a long slide that begins with the creek heading left then
steepens as it turns right. The best way to run this one is begin in the center and go far left
when the creek turns back to the right. There are a few holes to punch as you go down this section
and then a large hole at the bottom.
As the slide section ends the second boulder garden section begins. Just because you're 2/3rds of
the way down, it doesn't mean the action stops. This section has several notable rapids that are
reminiscent of something off the Green Narrows. This sections is roughly a mile long so don't let
your guard down until the creek starts to flatten out right before the Hanging Rock takeout. The
last rapid on the run is a real doozy. It has a pinning spot backed up by a significant slab of
rock. You can get out anywhere upstream on the left and walk down the little road to your car. If
you chose to run it and all goes well get out on the left and carry your boat 30' to your
This run is tough at low water and has several recommend carries at high levels. The 2 boogie
water/boulder garden sections mentioned above are solid class IV punctuated with class V and V+
drops. If you've never been here before and you're not with someone that is familiar with the run
you should hike the trail that runs along the entire creek and scout.
Overall the run is not terribly undercut but there are a lot of logs and numerous spots with
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Last Updated: 2010-01-21 01:22:33