Elk - A) Route 1326 to Route 1305 (above Big Falls)

Elk, North Carolina, US


A) Route 1326 to Route 1305 (above Big Falls) (Roadside Elk (along Hwy.194))

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 8.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 130 fpm
Max Gradient 210 fpm

Roadside Elk

Roadside Elk
Photo of Brad Roberts by Shayne Day taken April 2000

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03479000 400 - 1000 cfs IV-V 00h21m 440 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Carolina Whitewater, B.Benner

This is a fun one. Lots of good boat scoutable boogie water. Some good slides. A couple of large vertical drops. At one point in the first two miles the river completely disappears under a bunch of large boulders. The easy portage is river left (river right is someone's backyard). There are some undercuts and sieves to be avoided. This is a run that short creek boats were designed for!

There is an option of doing a short run from SR 1326 to the NC Hwy 194 Bridge. This gives you the top three miles of roadside water and a very easy shuttle.

Bradley - 2001

Don't miss the take-out. Just downstream lies Big Falls. Inadvertently running it could be way ugly.

From Elk Park:
Take-Out: In downtown Elk Park look for the signs to Big Falls and follow them. Take Little Elk Creek Road (SR 1305) to the river. First bridge over water you come to is the take-out.

Put-in: From Elk Park take Hwy 19 south to NC 194. Eventually you will cross the Elk. From there continue on to SR 1326. It will be a small turnoff on the right. Its easy to miss.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-08-04 17:41:03

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.
September 21 2009 (3408 days ago)
x (1)
did it at around 500 and it was still very low
April 3 2009 (3579 days ago)
x (1)
josh lerner there are no mandatory portages and you can run the whole thing and take out in the
parking lot at the convergence of elk river and elk creek(make sure you have an suv or something)
March 24 2003 (5780 days ago)
Mark MastalskiDetails
Even at low water this is a high intensity run. Four of us ran this stretch on March 20, 2003 when
the level was 32" below the put-in bridge beams. I would say this would pretty much be
minimum. Keep an eye out for strainers, and undercuts abound. Along the first steep stretch there
is a 3-4 foot pourover with a severly undercut rock on left-center and a log across the rest of the
drop. Portage on the right or at low enough water you can portage the rock shelf which has the
undercut. I call this one "Lost Lendal Falls" since my Lendal paddle slipped away from me
while I was getting out to portage. Tight slots, 6-8 foot drops, and undercuts abound so be careful
(did I say that already?). As the river begins a right turn you will see a house on the river right
and a bridge over the water. Make your way to river left to scout/portage. This drop contains a
class VI sieve on river right between two large boulders and a strainer at the bottom of the entire
drop. There is an eddy at the extreme river right by the strainer but it is difficult to catch. Not
catching it would bring ugly consequences. This section also contains an absolutely sweet long
slide which begins on river left takes a sharp turn to the right then throws you back to the left
and into a pool. Nice!

After the bridge a second steep section begins with even better drops. At the sight of an old mill
the river drops about 12 feet into a sweet pool. Run left of center and boof a bit...no problem.
Further down the river continues through a maze of boulders and drops. There is a severe pinning
hazard on very river left where a screw-up can send you into the undercut rock wall which extends
out from left. If you run this section make of three things: first, don't pin in the left slot
which is made by the shore and a large, flat mushroom shaped rock; second, make sure you can make
the slot around the wall because it is severely undercut; third, get ready to immediately take out
on river left because a class VI drop is just ahead.

Take your time and scout what you don't know. Boat scouting this one can be difficult as the
gradient exceeds 200fpm in a very narrow canyon.