Dismal Creek, Virginia, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
Locals have been running this one since the mid to late '90s, but it runs so infrequently that it
has remained mostly unknown outside the New River Valley. Many runs in VA are kept secret by
those "in the know" to protect access, but since this one is squarely in the Jefferson
National Forest I see no reason not to let this one out of the bag.
Dismal Creek is a small creek with its headwaters forming along the Appalachian Trail as it heads down Sugar Run Mountain. The run is short, only 1.5 miles of worthwhile rapids. Multiple easy access points from the (unnamed) forest service road that follows the creek make it an easy "choose your own adventure" high water alternative for folks in the area. Dismal Falls can make a nice "park and huck" while headed to or returning from other area rivers.
The nature of the streambed and its rapids remind me a lot of a smaller version of the Tellico in TN. There are a few technical boulder rapids, some easier class II-III boogie and two bigger bedrock ledges. For the most part it is class III+ with a few places warranting at class IV rating (Dismal Falls being one of them). However, this creek has a lot of wood in its fairly small streambed and some badly placed wood could easily create class V hazard.
If anyone else has pictures please add them. If anyone knows more named rapids or has any additional information, please post comments or e-mail me to let me know.
Lat/longitude coordinates are approximate, to get the intrepid paddler into the ballpark.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|