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Difficulty IV-V+
Length 4.5 Miles
Flow Range 12.90 - 13.90 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 12.61 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/04/2004 10:51 pm

River Description

This is a very small streambed with many hydraulics. One and possibly two portages.

Putin: Bridge on CR-5 west of Craigsville

Takeout: Confluence with the Gauley. Take CR-5 west from Craigsville and look for a 4wd dirt road on the left. It's about 1/2-3/4 mile down to the river. I wouldn't drive my 4wd truck down there.

Rapid Descriptions


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Robert Farmer
12 years ago

When I ran it a few years ago (2002), there was no wood, but this probably changes every so often. The "mandatory piton" drop is not really a mandatory piton, although it's tight. However, beware of the falls immediately downstream---quite exciting when you're not expecting it! Scout left. This is an excellent, great run, with enough water and no logs. At the time, I ran every drop, with no undue stress, other than the surprise falls. When driving the shuttle from the put-in, turn left at the first intersection. The next left occurs where the road turns @130 degrees to the right; it looks kind of like the driveway of the house on the left. The road was great (perfect--I'd drive my Mercedes down there) when I was there. This leads to a popular fishing spot (well-below the confluence) on the Gauley. When I put on, the water was @ 6 inches below the top of the big rock upstream of the put-in bridge. This was probably too low for most people, but it did work. Use your own judgment.

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Charles and Nancy Brabec
15 years ago

According to a friend there is a lot of wood in the creek. His group took off because of it.

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11 years ago

this creek is ok. Lots of flatwater, both on the creek and alot more on the Gauley. The drops are BIG in the middle section. Several BAD seives in between the first hard one(ten footer) and the falls(sliding drop). SCOUT THIS WHOLE SECTION! its not an easy scout, but you need to know where the sieves are. SET SAFETY ON THE RIGHT! enjoy the long paddle out, not far after this. mostly class III to IV, BUT the hard section is good class V creeking. Brandon Reynolds !

Gage Descriptions

The Craigsville gauge can be used as a guideline, especially in the spring before the trees get their leaves.

The best indicator is if the water is washing over the flat rocks at the putin.

The Craigsville gauge conversion table for feet-to-cfs is approximately:
11 feet = 440 cfs
12 feet = 1460 cfs
13 feet = 3000 cfs
14 feet = 5500 cfs
15 feet = 8500 cfs


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



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Tow Tether Danger Highlighted by Recent Accident

2019-02-25 19:53:07-05
Charlie Walbridge

Nancy Kell, a very experienced Mid-States kayaker, died on February 24th after flipping in a Class II rapid on West Virginia's Red Creek. There were a number of strainers in the vicinity above and below the water. One of them snagged her tow tether, pulled her out of her boat, and held her under water. She was with a very experienced crew but they could not reach her quickly enough. Equipment snags are a real risk. In the light of this accident I strongly urge anyone using a cowtail, pigtail, or tow tether to recheck your setup, and to consider whether wearing a tow tether makes sense. Be certain that your tether releases cleanly at both ends. Do not attach the front carabiner to a non-releasable point, like a pocket or strap. Ms. Kell did this, and it may have been a contributing factor. Apparently many current rescue PFD designs to not feature a front release point! Do not attach a tether to the rear of your PFD with a non-locking carabiner, as that may inadvertently clip into a rope. The tether should fit very snugly, without sagging, but as the photo shows Ms. Kell did that, and it did not protect her! The harness release should be quick and foolproof. Practice harness releases under pressure before using it on the river. Finally, remember that any additional strap is a potential snag hazard. Ask yourself if the usefulness of a tow tether is worth the risk, especially on small, strainer infrested creeks. Carry it in a PFD pocket or dry bag if necessary. Click for a link to the report in the AW Accident Database. (Jeff Macklin Photo)


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Gauley Fest - September 13-16, 2018 - Summersville, WV

2018-09-04 07:58:00-04
Mark Singleton

Get your groove on baby! This year Gauley Fest is a 60’s themed event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To memorialize that historic event we are flashing back to another era for a 60’s throwdown. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.

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2018 Letter To Gauley Boaters From The NPS (WV)

2018-08-21 10:07:00-04
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater received the following open letter to boaters from the rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area. This letter will keep you up to date on important management actions of the National Park Service on the Gauley River. Enjoy your paddling season on this classic whitewater river. As in past years, American Whitewater has leased the field above Masons Branch, also known as the Legg field, for overflow parking.

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Cheat Canyon Settlement Reached; Land Set Aside for Endangered Species

2007-02-13 00:00:00-05
Charles Walbridge

After two years of intense negotiations an agreement reached to protect endangered species in the Cheat River Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products acquired roughly 5,000 acres in the Cheat Canyon below Albright, WV in 2003 for $9.75 million. When they began building roads and cutting trees the following year the government took no steps to enforce the Endangered Species Act. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 by Friends of Blackwater Canyon, the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreational Association. Although American Whitewater was not a party to the litigation we are gratified that an agreement was reached and commend both parties for their efforts.

Matt Muir