Brush Creek, North Carolina, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|IVY RIVER NEAR MARSHALL, NC|
|usgs-03453000||400 - 2000 cfs||IV-V||01h09m||246 cfs (too low)|
Brush Creek is a small and steep drop-pool creek that cascades into Section 9 of the French Broad River. It boasts 3 big drops (15-30 ft) and lots of other smaller drops and rapids in the 4-10 foot range. All the big drops land in deep pools. Everything can be scouted with relative ease thanks to the pools that seperate every drop. Brush Creek looks like chocolate milk when it is running, and nearby creeks like Big Laurel will be high when Brush is in.
Parking at the put in is an issue as Brush Creek is on private land. Please respect private property around the put in. It is possible to slide into the creek from the road, upstream from the put-in bridge 20-30 meters where the road comes closest to the creek.
Once in the creek the bedrock rapids begin quickly. The first blind drop you'll come to is split into two channels. The right side is a sloped drop that allows an easy boof into a shallow pool. The next big drop is a 15 foot or so fast cascade that requires some strategy on the entrance and is best run far left. This drop is followed by the gnarliest drop on the run: a 20 foot or so drop featuring a smooth slide into an undercut pillow that launches you out into an autoboof for the last 15 feet or so of air. The last big drop is the biggest, a 25 foot or so drop that rolls to vertical and is best run left of center. The pool is plenty deep. There are some great smaller drops and rapids scattered throughout the tightly packed run, all the way to the French Broad.
The best option for taking out is to paddle Section 9 out to Stackhouse. Some paddlers choose to hike up Big Laurel on the way down for some added fun. Water quality in Brush Creek is highly suspect so take precautions.