Cheat, Laurel Fork - US 33 Bridge to Cheat, Dry Fork (Jenningston)

Cheat, Laurel Fork, West Virginia, US


US 33 Bridge to Cheat, Dry Fork (Jenningston)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 13 Miles

laurel fork falls

laurel fork falls
Photo by mike beswick taken 07/03/11

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-03065000 1600 - 10000 cfs III-IV 00h29m 383 cfs (too low)

River Description

Lat/longitude coordinates determined by Bill Waickman using Garman GPS System.
This is a largely isolated run with several riverwide ledges that harbor keepers at higher levels. In addition, there is a multiple channelized section downstream of the 12 ft falls that stays chock full of wood. Many of the rapids lean towards mean at higher flows (2 ft + on Rt 33 bridge gauge). All in all, the Dry Fork nearby is a much safer run for those lacking advanced skills, though this is certainly a reasonable intermediate run at moderate flows.

There are 2 ways to reach the takeout from the Rt 33 bridge over the Laurel Fork.
1-Drive west on Rt 33 to the Alpena Inn and turn across from the inn on Alpena Road. Take this road till it intersects with the Glady Fork wilderness road and bear right, then up over the mountain and down to Jenningston. Takeout is approx 200 yards downstream of the Jenningston bridge over the Dry Fork on river left.
2-Drive east on Rt 33 to Harman, bear left onto Rt 32 and drive 6 miles to a left on Rt 72, then left on the Jenningston road, cross the Dry Fork and turn downstream to the takeout. Option 1 is the nice scenic route while option 2 is better in wintertime snow conditions.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-04-30 15:14:44

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.
May 12 2016 (942 days ago)
Curtis37 (156912)
May 9 2016 (945 days ago)
Curtis37 (156912)
Rowed this in my cataraft with 9 kayaks from the Chicago Whitewater Association. Gauge at Hendricks
was 3400 cfs. One river wide tree with a narrow passage on left below falls. It was an awesome run.
Ran the falls in the middle because there was a tree on the right side.
May 9 2016 (945 days ago)
Curtis37 (156912)
I rowed this on Friday 6 May 2016. Myself in a cataraft and 9 Kayakers from the Chicago Whitewater
Association put in at 3400 cfs on Hendricks gauge. The falls had a tree on the right and the left
also had logs. I ran the falls in the middle. 2 miles below the falls was also a large poplar with
leaves stretching from river right almost to the left bank. This was an epic run. If you ever get a
chance to run it go for it.
April 22 2013 (2058 days ago)
Frederic DalauroDetails
We did this at 5 inches at the bridge. The stream is full of downed trees . Getting around them
required constant maneuvering. We had a very difficult portage around a strainer in a rapid about
one mile below the falls. There is also a log in the river just under water at the level we paddled
about one mile before the intersection with the dry fork. The portage around the falls is washed
out and took a very long time. This stream is runnable but much more difficult and dangerous since
hurricane sandy filled laurel fork with multiple strainers.
March 27 2007 (4276 days ago)
Kirk EddlemonDetails
Whats up with all the portraits of people that have nothing to do with the run? AW river pages
aren't personal blogs, they are for river information. At least put up a picture of one of these
people actually running a drop on Laurel Fork of the Cheat. This is the AW Laurel Fork of the Cheat
page. Open a picasa account for your personals please.
June 4 2006 (4571 days ago)
Robert FarmerDetails
I ran this way back in '96, at 0.0, and we enjoyed it, but things change. I ran the falls in the
middle, after scouting from both sides very carefully. The left side is certain death (huge crack
above a boulder); the right side is a certain beating. Just FYI.
July 3 2005 (4908 days ago)
Hey Paul, you should probably either update this page or resign it.
April 1 2005 (5001 days ago)
Mark AndersonDetails
The Evenwood gauge may not be coming back (it was taken offline when bridgework began where the
gauge is located).

An alternative is the Gladwin gauge on the Dryfork. Though inexact, I've found the Laurel Fork with
water when this gauge was over 8.5 ft.
March 25 2005 (5008 days ago)
Robert M. DollisonDetails
Almost all of the pictures on this site have nothing to do with the Laurel Fork. It would be nice
to remove them.

June 22 2004 (5284 days ago)
Chris BrockDetails
My friend and I ran this at a less-than ideal level of 2", give or take. The first 3 miles or
so are gravel bar riffles that really make you wonder if this is the correct river. Very tedious.
Then a 4' semi-ledge sneaks up on you, waking up your skills. After that things get fun with
numerous slide-holes and shallow ledges to boogie through, similar to Seneca Creek. Be careful
though as 5 major ledges exist on the run, some requiring a scout. The last large (7') ledge has 4
slots, and portaging is definitely not easy as the right bank is a vertical rock wall with a tree

One word of caution, the last 4 miles or so become really shallow and a few trees block off the
river. We counted 5 strainers, one requiring a portage.

The river has a wide variety of rapids, moreso than most I've run in WV. Gravel bars, shallow rock
gardens, slide-holes, vertical 4' ledges/holes and the mentioned 'waterfall' halfway down which is
actually more of an oversized ledge with 3 channels. It's just for looking at though. Hats off to
anyone able to run that thing and still live. I also do NOT recommend the river be run anything
less than around 4" on the 33 bridge gauge. We got stuck too many times to count on the lower
1/4 of the run.
March 17 2004 (5380 days ago)
keith merkelDetails
Please note that this run changes drastically with very little change in the putin gauge. I feel
the ideal level is between 9 and 15 inches for a fun class 3-4 run. Between the minimum level of
about 3 inches and 9 inches, the run, except for the falls, is an easy class 3. Around 18 inches,
the max I've run it, all of those pleasant, little ledges you enjoyed at lower levels create keeper
holes and you will be spending most of the day dodging one hole after the other with little time in
between. It is definitely class 4 at that level.
May 9 2002 (6058 days ago)
Joseph GreinerDetails
Ran this on 5/3/2002. Putin gauge was 2 inches when we put on and 1 inch when we took off. 3 inches
is probably fun minm. 2 inches was passable but really low in places. At 0800 Evenwood=4.20 Parsons
6.31 and Hendrix 4.14. While we ran it at a low level, I find it hard to imagine this as a class
III-IV run except at way higher water. Except for the 12' falls the gradient is very evenly spread
out over the river, there are few if any boulders to obstruct the view, the ledges are all 2-4' and
easily approached to scout a spot to run them. And the rapids that are not ledge rapids are mostly
wide open and visible. My best rating would be class III to III- (using Nantahala Falls as a
reference rapid rated at III-)with maybe a low class IV (the 12' falls). The run does have VERY
VERY high scenic values at any level. The length is a little misleading. It is long but the
gradient is constant after about the first couple of miles and because the rapids (exc the 12') are
so comfortable to approach and run, it is easy to keep moving. The stream bed at the put in is very
indicative of what you will find downstream. In general the width and depth are about the same as
at the put in bridge. Ocasionally it will narrow but in general it is the same or wider all the way
down. Would like to see this at 12 inches and falling to 4 inches and falling.

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