Brush Creek - Confluence of Beaver Branch to confluence of Bluestone River


Brush Creek, West Virginia, US

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Confluence of Beaver Branch to confluence of Bluestone River

Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 6.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 85 fpm
Max Gradient 160 fpm

Into the Mist


Into the Mist
Photo of Jack Woodrum by Lewis Meadows taken 1994

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
BLUESTONE RIVER NEAR PIPESTEM, WV
usgs-03179000 6.00 - 10.00 ft III-IV(V) 01h00m 6.21 ft (running)


River Description

From the put in there is also access at CR 14 bridge a mile downstream and at CR 3 bridge just upstream of the steep section. This last mile below the CR 3 bridge contains the maximum gradient(160'/mile) and the hardest rapids including a two-stage 35' waterfall known as Brush Creek Falls. From the bridge there is a trail following river right that leads to the falls. At the confluence with the Bluestone River it is either a 3/4 mile carry upstream on river left to Eads Mill or a 10 mile paddle to the tramway at Pipestem State Park or a twenty mile paddle to Bluestone State Park.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2001-12-29 07:25:20

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.
November 17 2009 (3284 days ago)
x (1)
There is a USGS gage on the Bluestone @ Falls Mills Va not WVA that drains 44 square miles and
adjoins the Brush Ck basin. The upper portion of Brush Ck drains about 60 sq. mi. and the the lower
drains almost 80 sq. mi.. The Bluestone @ Falls River responds much quicker to rainfall that the
Pipestem gage. If one prefers 200 cfs on the lower Brush just look for about 120 cfs on the Fall
Mills gage.
March 10 2008 (3900 days ago)
chad lesterDetails
Ran lower Brush Creek on 3/6/08 with the Bluestone running 8.8 feet . The level was great the falls
was easy ran at this level . But 4 rapids below the falls is a bad tree hazard , a tree has fallen
and has block the creek . So watch out and becarfull , peace RNKC
August 19 2007 (4104 days ago)
x (1)
Yesterday I took a hike down to the falls from Brush Creek Falls Rd at low water, and witnessed
several local college guys jump off the falls on the far river right side. I wasn't dressed to swim
and check it out, and the water was too murky to see down into, but they were jumping off the far
right, and they told me there were no rocks anywhere near the surface on the far right. Eyeballing
it carefully from the bottom, using a guy standing on top as a mental yardstick, I believe that the
vertical is 20-22 feet. Significantly taller than Wonder Falls, but not 30' by any stretch, and a
relatively easy vertical drop. The approach is a steep 5' high bedrock slide with lots of cracks
and fissures in the rock, with definite pitoning possibilities in the last few yards above the
falls. Scout carefully; it looked to me like the easiest and safest run would be on the far right,
maybe 10' off the right bank.
April 23 2007 (4223 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
I caught this 4/18/07. I didn't run the upper section, but I noticed from the gorge rim that it
appeared to be constant waves in a very scenic gorge. There is an old railroad trail that runs up
it, although the bridge(s?) seem to be gone. It looked like fun, but maybe not for some Class 5
boaters. Also, if you put in at Eads Mill Rd, the shuttle is about 2.8 miles for what is probably a
5+ mile run---great for a bike shuttle. I did the lower section, starting from the Brush Creek
Falls Rd bridge. This is, I would say, a 4-star section of creek, although it is short. If it were
longer, I'd give it 5 stars. On the first day that I was here, the water was a bit high for me, so
I scouted and waited a day to do it. There is an old railroad trail on the right that eventually
becomes quite high above the river. It would make a nice shuttle trail, except that it is above
cliffs at the takeout. A scouting hike here is a good idea; you want to know where the mandatory
portage (or Class 7 at low water, anyway) is. If there are leaves on the trees, you may not be able
to see anything. Starting at the bridge, there is a boulder sitting on a rock shelf on river left
just upstream of the bridge. I ran this when the water was even with the top of the shelf directly
below the boulder. This was an easy and fun level---optimum for a first timer! If the water is
touching the boulder (+8 inches or so), that would probably be more Class 4-5. If the water is
creeping up the boulder, the creek is probably going to be even more very serious. Below the
bridge, there are two easy ledges that you should have scouted when driving down the road. The
35-foot, 2-stage waterfall (Class 5) comes after a long, flat pool. The first ledge drops into a
trough that looks like a piton problem, but I found it to be well-padded even at the low level when
I did it. Launch the main, 30-ft, straight-vertical drop near the middle; I penciled in just right
of center in my short boat, and I had no problems. I've heard that it may be shallow on the right
side. The next significant rapid is a pillowed boulder where the creek narrows. Paddle pretty much
straight down the middle, slightly left-to-right, boof the boulder onto the pillow---it's maybe
Class 4 (at this level). Below here is an island; left is Class 3, right is shallow. Below this
island, slabs slope down to the left toward a hole that is unmistakeably dangerous at higher
levels. There is a flat-topped rock on the left to mark this drop. I snuck it to the right, over a
smooth ledge that slopes down to the left. At low water, this is too low to navigate, and it will
push you leftward along the lip, probably backwards, maybe into the hole. Scout! Ironically, after
sneaking the hole to the right, I noticed that it didn't look too bad at this level. Still, there
was something strange about it, so scout carefully. After a trivial rapid or two, you come to a
ledge. The left and center have a hole that may be sticky at higher levels. An easy, fun slide
bypasses this to the right. Soon, you come to the approach for the Class 6-7 drop. This starts
where the creek turns sharply left. I scouted on the right below a large tree that is growing out
from the right shore; this eddy may wash out at higher levels. There is a large eddy downstream on
the left, below a right-to-left ledge with a stout hole above a smooth, fast slab. I discovered
that catching this eddy at this level is Class 5+, because I got blown right by it! I managed to
catch a last-chance eddy above the Class 7 drop, but it was scary. Portaging from above the left
turn might be better, or it might be possible to sneak down the left at higher levels. Whatever, be
extremely cautious here! There is a large rock that blocks the creek from river left; the right
side is overhanging, and a hole flushes into this undercut from about 12-15 feet downstream. At low
levels, nothing can escape it, not even light, like black holes in space! It might be runnable at
higher water, but definitely scout! Below here is an easy slide with an undercut shelf rock on the
left; start far left, and build up left-to-right momentum. Class 3 rapids lead down to the
Bluestone. At the Bluestone, exit left because the best takeout is straight across the river; the
farther downstream (to the right) that you go, the harder the exiting will be. It's an easy 3/4
mile walk back to Eads Mill along an old railroad grade. Directions: Eads Mill Rd, CR 14 runs
alongside, over, and under I-77 in S. WV between Exits 14 and 20. At Exit 14, it's the first left
turn from the eastbound road. At Exit 20, it's the first left turn from westbound 19. "Eads Mill"
is just a former town. There are no signs or buildings; it is not marked in any way, shape, or
form. It's just a forest alongside the river, now. There is a one-lane bridge. Upper Brush Creek
crosses this road up higher (farther south). Brush Creek Falls Rd is an unmarked turn to the east
across from address #6727, nicknamed "The Green Isle" by its owner. When I did the creek, the level
at the dam way upstream
(http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&format=gif_default&period=9&site_no=03178150) was
22.45. At the peak of the massive storm two days earlier, the level was 22.72. I don't know how
helpful this will be, but there it is. Have fun, be careful!
September 21 2004 (5166 days ago)
Adam LewisDetails
Ive only had 1 chance before to catch this creek running and a shoulder injury ended that. I talked
to my friends that did do the run and they said that basically the falls were the easiest part. I
beleive the word used to describe the rest of the run (Im assuming the section below the falls) was
"explosive." Granted they ran it above the recommended level (by alot I think) their
comments still reflect the character of the run. So, if you take out below the falls, you miss the
meat of the run.
September 19 2004 (5169 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
To the streamkeeper....after reconsidering what I had previously written, I was a little concerned
that I may have downplayed some of the potential trouble that could happen on this creek. But at
the same time, I wanted to let intermediate boaters know that they would find miles and miles of
class II/II+ on the upper portions of this run. Had I known that, we probably would have just run
the lower stretch.

So please disregard the previous post and replace it with what's below. If you any
questions/conerns, feel free to email me.....alexzendel@hotmail.com
September 19 2004 (5169 days ago)
Alex ZendelDetails
We ran this creek on 9-18-04. The Bluestone Gauge was between 8 and 9 feet and dropping after
Hurricane Ivan brought a significant amount of rain to the area - not nearly as much rain as the
Asheville area and northern WV got. Given the class III-IV rating, we put on at the put-in listed
above and expected to find something similar to NC's Big Laurel Creek. It was mostly II+ with a
little bit of class-IIIish rapids in between. But about a mile above the Rt 3 bridge, there are two
class IV's stacked on top of one another.

While we stood at the falls (in the pictures above) trying to decide on the best line, another
group of boaters arrived. Shortly after, some locals showed up and told us that some people jump
off the right side of the falls at lower water .... and that's where everybody decided to run.
There were some flat boofs and a couple of people penciled in. One boater went slightly "over
the handlebars". Apparently the right side is deep. However, it is a 20 foot waterfall and the
potential for injury is there. On the last run, one boater landed flat and reinjured his back after
having strained some muscles within the previous week or so.

Throughout the run, many creek-side tree trunks were under water and I don't think I would run the
right side of the waterfall with any less water - the potential to stall at the lip of the drop
would be there... We didn't run the section of the creek between the falls and the confluence with
the Bluestone.


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