This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 12.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 05/16/2017 1:03 am

River Description

Big Reed Island Creek downstream of Rt. 58 contains some moderate whitewater in a pretty micro-gorge as it approaches the Laurel Fork confluence.  Laurel Fork almost doubles the flow and there's a nice rapid just below this with some big waves. Above and below this the creek is pretty but milder and there are more cabin intrusions.  For a good run on the upper section you'll probably need close to a foot on the Silverleaf Rd. bridge gauge as a minimum.  Take out as far upstream on River Rd. as you can as there is mainly flatwater the last couple of miles to the Silverleaf bridge.

This reach should probably be divided in two parts; the upper section with most of the whitewater from Rt. 58 to River Rd/Silverleaf; and then a milder section from River Rd/Silverleaf to Rt. 221. See Ed Grove's Classic Virginia Rivers for a good description of this stretch of the creek; Roger Corbett's Virginia Whitewater only includes the section below U.S. 221.

See also Lower Big Reed Island Creek.


Rapid Descriptions


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Charles Whittle
5 months ago

I have used the Smith River at Woolwine as a surrogate gage. Each 100cfs increment equates to about a foot on the Silverleaf Rd gage. Been watching the relationship for 20 yrs. 1/2 ft on the Silverleaf gage is enough to run downstream to Rt 221

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Jay Ruff
4 years ago

Started at Silverleaf with the gauge at the bridge well below 1 ft. Water wasn't even on the bridge pillar gauge. Lots of rocks just below surface to maneuver through/slide over. I was floating a Necky Rip rec kayak, my friend was in a Perception Carolina 13.5 touring kayak We both enjoyed the scenery and the challenge of the falls. I would like to have more water to run the Silverleaf to 221 stretch again. See the pics attached: The first set of falls, went river right. Second set of falls, went river left, then back to center to exit. Third set and most intimidating, went down the middle channel, which was pretty easy to ride.

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Kenneth Swarey
7 years ago

Use the Chestnut Creek gage as a surrogate. I would not run this unless it was running at least 125 cfs.

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11 years ago

Not a very demanding stretch seriously. You will be fine in a rec boat without a skirt. a couple of nearly unavoidable strainers last time I went, but other than that pretty safe.

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12 years ago

This is the best stretch of BRI that is worth running. Gauge used to be a minimum of about 1 foot at the bridge at Silverleaf Rd. No USGS gauge. Class (II+ - III). Not for a novice!

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Directions Description

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article main photo

Attention Virginia Boaters!

Jason Robertson

During the high waters of Spring 2003, there has been a noticeable increase in reported confrontations between boaters and property owners in Virginia. Please remember to be respectful and courteous to property owners; do not trespass; and avoid confrontation in order to preserve access in the future.

Matt Muir


Philip Young


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191690 11/12/01 n/a n/a
1201139 03/22/12 Philip Young Added link to more info
1207543 05/16/17 Philip Young Added photos & text