Chestnut Creek - Galax (Route 721) to Byllesby Dam on New River

Chestnut Creek, Virginia, US


Galax (Route 721) to Byllesby Dam on New River

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 13.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 13 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03165000 200 - 5000 cfs I-III 00h19m 312 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

William Gilbert wrote, in Nov. 2000:
Chestnut is a nice creek to run -- beginners can run it with no problems. If you make the run down to the river then you will have to get out and scout one fall (Chestnut Falls); its about an 8-ft drop. Run river right and you will flow down a chute. When the water is up you can go a few diferent ways, but only rarely does the water get that high
May everyone have a safe float,
William Gilbert


slide show from 10/04/15 run of last 2.5 miles (793 to Byllesby boat ramp), featuring SUP  (7 min)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-24 05:11:18

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.
May 10 2014 (1681 days ago)
lescott (151302)
Whoever wrote the gauges was either a class 6 boater (where everything is a class 1-3) or doesn't
understand cf levels...Based on my runs below 793 to the New River, Chestnut Creek is: 200-400
cfs=low (class 3-) 400-600 cfs or 3-4 ft (=medium (class 3) 600-800 cfs=high or 4-6 ft (class 3+)
800-1000=very high (class 4) There are a number of technical ledges, holes and drops on this
two-mile+ run.
March 14 2010 (3199 days ago)
mack roebuckDetails
We ran Chestnut Creek yesterday, led by Galax veteran paddler Tom Peddy. We put in by the church on
highway 793 to run the bottom two and a half miles of the creek and two miles of lake paddling on
the New. There are few pure class 3 paddles out there. This run is one. Chestnut Falls is not on
this section. Our level was 2.4 on the USGS gauge and 1.4 on the bridge gauge making for a solid
class 3 run. I believe at the minimum of 2.0 and 0, this run would be a low class 3. There are
several creek wide ledges that at higher levels would be class 4 due to the hydraulics they would
generate. The New River Trail is beisde the creek making for easy portages and scouts. The tunnel
is currently closed for repairs. Due to the large quantity of pasture land in its watershed,
Chestnut Creek goes up and down fairly quickly. That is unfortunate, for this creek is a fun and
senic run. The lake paddle is also a deterrent. Yesterday, the New was running high and the "lake"
had a healthy flow most of the way.

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