Pond Ridge Branch is a teeny-tiny tributary of the North Fork Moormans, above Sugar Hollow Reservoir. You'll need a heavy, hurricane-style rainfall to make this one go. We got in there on the day after a 4-5"+ rain fell on already-saturated ground. You'll know that there's a chance it's running when you're driving through hub-deep water from the Moormans River on the road toward the reservoir. Your next adventure will be getting across the swollen North Fork Moormans to get to Pond Ridge Branch. Harris and I walked up the North Fork about 100 yards to a spot where we could ferry across the N. Fork, then walked down to the confluence with Pond Ridge Branch.
Pond Ridge Branch has been called the "Middle Fork Moormans" by some folks, but it is much smaller than the Moormans Forks, and has a completely different character. It reminded Harris and me of the South Fork Rockfish in neighboring Nelson County. I scouted this creek in about 2001 and noticed that someone had been in there maybe 5-10 years before that, and had cut some wood out of the creek back then. Folks had made at least one foray into Pond Ridge Branch before us. Wood is the problem here. Harris and I had a great level, but the continuous nature of the small creek, and the amount of wood, made it hard to bite off much of the creek. We ran several sections of the creek but had to skip some of the better drops since they ran into downstream log jams with no intervening eddies to catch. We did run one of the more significant drops, a 10-12' vertical into a long 100-yard rapid sequence that was pretty busy. The run would be a super-fun big-water-day option if it was free of wood. It also makes a perfect companion piece to the South Fork Moormans.
There is, of course, no gauge on this little stream. The closest gauge is on the mainstem Moormans River, several miles downstream: the USGS gauge, "Moormans River near Free Union." The Moormans will need to be absolutely bumping for Pond Ridge to be in play. We got on Pond Ridge Branch while the Moormans gauge was peaking at around 7500 cfs in late January, 2010. We had a good level on Pond Ridge Branch, enough to actually form some slightly-sticky holes in places.
Permits are not required for this reach.
This little ripsnorter is a tributary of the North Fork Moormans. It joins the North Fork about a quarter-mile above the Sugar Hollow Reservoir. The reservoir is west of White Hall, VA. Follow Garth Rd. west from Charlottesville. Bear left onto Rt. 614 toward Sugar Hollow. You'll be driving alongside (and through) the Moormans River. IfPond Ridge Branch is running, you will want to be in a vehicle with decent ground clearance since you'll be fording the river in places. Go past the reservoir to a parking area at the head of the lake. Walk up the fire road about 50 yards to an overlook where you can gaze over the North Fork and see Pond Ridge Branch. You can judge the level from here. Note: Boating is not allowed on the reservoir.
"Middle Fork" Moormans
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