This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III+(IV)
Length 7.2 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 06/08/2007 10:22 pm

River Description

If you have an hour or two, take the time to hike the Mountains To Sea trail between FR228 and FR496 to see the incredibly beautiful and dangerous upper section of Steels Creek. Dropping at about 450 feet per mile, the CA-like "teacups" section drops over 200 feet in one tenth of a mile of waterfalls, slides, teacup-shaped pools, caves, strainers and sieves.

Now get the upper section outta your head and lap the ~110 feet per mile 1.1 mile middle roadside section from the end of FR228 to the island takeout. You can also lap the entire 2.2 mile middle section by running down another 1.1 miles to the confluence with Little Fork and hike the trail back up to FR228.

If you want more action you can hike up the trail from the end of FR228 and bite-off runnable Upper Rocky Broadish type pieces in the 120 to 200 feet per mile range.

Below Little Fork the creek drops around 10 to 20 feet per mile as a scenic class II with one or two man made obstacles to portage.

If you run Steels be sure to send a visual from the Upper Creek bridge gauge to the StreamTeam.

Directions to Put-In

On Highway 181 (North out of Morganton or South from Linville/Blue Ridge Parkway) 0.2 miles south of the 17 mile marker you will turn west onto FR228. Along FR228, at 1.7 miles you will cross Little Fork, at 2.8 miles you will see the Island take-out for the Middle Roadside Section, the Buck Creek Confluence is at 3.6 miles. At 3.9 miles the road ends at a parking lot with a trail running north along the east side of the creek. Cross the creek and you will hit the Mountains-to-Sea trail that will take you up to the Teacups and eventually up to FR496 (which also intersects with highway 181 near the 21 mile marker).

Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
Area Map


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Gary Mitchell
12 years ago

3.16.07 Middle roadside section has 3 creek wide strainers that could be limbo'd or easily portaged

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

3.16.07 Steels Creek was good to go when the Upper Creek bridge gauge at Brown Mountain Beach Rd was 15" and rising with 1" of rain at Jonas Ridge within the past 6 hours and almost 2" within the past 24 hours

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192011 06/08/07 n/a n/a