Elk Creek - Mt. Carmel Church (Route 650) to New River

Elk Creek, Virginia, US


Mt. Carmel Church (Route 650) to New River

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 4.5 Miles


Photo of Elizabeth Gardner by Cathy Schwirzke taken 07/01/05 @ +7 inches

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03165000 300 - 2000 cfs I-III 00h52m ~ 169 cfs (too low)
Almost certainly too low. Correlation uncertain. Add a comment or report. Ref.gauge (Chestnut Ck) is about 10 miles ESE, across the New (near Galax). Correlation is not assured, but should provide reasonable indication of area flows.

River Description

Virginia Whitewater, Roger Corbett; also Ed Grove


Tripp Culbreth shared:

Ran this July 31, 2005. Rt. 274 bridge gauge read + 7 inches.

We put in on Rte. 650 at a pullout just after some trailers along the river not far downstream of the questionable class VI rapids (which were not runnable at this low level mostly due to choked entrance into the first drop of this section and questionable shallow rocky landing zone on last drop).

Starts off as class II. First rapid of mention is a class III- at this level called Slicer. We entered right, caught an eddie on the right and moved right to left thru a chute that runs between a big rock in the middle of the creek and some manky rocks on the left which includes the slicer rock that was slightly covered at this level. Then just more class I/II stuff.

After passing Mt. Carmel Church the creek turns to the right leaving Rte. 650. Class II and III rapids are more frequent after leaving Rte. 650. Mostly small boulder gardens. There were some trees in some rapids but all were avoidable. Todd's Rapid was the next hardest in this section maybe class III- at this level. We entered from the right ducking some tree limbs to go over a 1+ foot ledge then eddied out behind a rock just in front of us. Then ran right to left thru a boney chute that had a tree in the outflow so we had to work right quickly.

The boulder gardens continue as class II/III- until you reach the last ledge. It is a ledge 2 feet high with three chutes; I ran the left, Elizabeth ran the right. The middle chute had a small tree in it. Then class I/II and flat water until you reach the New RIver. The takeout is a short distance down the New RIver on river left.

The section of class II/III- took 45 minutes. The class I/II and flat water took 45 minutes. Total trip:1hr 30min. Scenery was pretty until you left Rte. 650, then beautiful as you leave the last few houses/trailers/campsites. The guidebook Classic Virginia Rivers says that 0 inches on the Rte. 274 bridge gauge is minimum but +6 inches would be the lowest you could get down some of the shoals. An optimal level for intermediate paddlers would maybe be +1 ft. 6 in. but that is just a guess. This could get fun at even higher levels for advanced boaters especially if there is enough water to run the class VI rapids at the top of the run.

(edit 10/25/2015) take out  on left 1/4 below mouth of Elk Creek at New River public boat ramp on (94) Riverside DR


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8IpdTm1NU8  (13 min POV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unUHkInWOXA  ( 4 mi POV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgt8ppu8hjg  (4 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAdHekBNBCA  ( 3 min Clito Falls roadside)


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-26 00:57:49

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.
June 16 2009 (3472 days ago)
x (1)
You cannot gauge this run from the Chestnut Creek gauge. Two very different water sheds on opposite
sides of the New River. At least 1" of rain in 24 hours in Grayson County and it will probably be
good to go.
November 9 2000 (6612 days ago)
william gilbertDetails
Have not run this yet for the year but live not far and have went down and spent time there.There
is a section where there are large boulders (garden)!Lots of death traps that really need to be
scouted first.Not for the begginer! have a safe boating

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